Directed by: Guy Hamilton
Screenplay by: Anthony Shaffer
based on the novel by Agatha Christie.
Tagline: “Holidays Can Be Murder!”
Famous Detective Hercule Poirot is back again in this Agatha Christie Murder Mystery classic. This time around, Poirot is investigating an insurance company which is recently involved with the death of a woman, and an important diamond which, upon being insured, proves to be a fake. The journey takes Poirot to a tropical island where he meets up with one Sir Horace Platt and and Arlena Marshall. Along the way, Poirot discovers that Arlena is not well-liked, for many a reason: affairs, pretentiousness, ad nauseam; so no one is really surprised when she turns up dead. The question at hand, however, is just how and why is she dead, and, of course, who is behind the murder cover-up? Leave it to infamous Poirot to find out in this classic Christie murder-mystery.
See the Evil Under
the Sun trailer
Director Guy Hamilton is primary known for directing several classic James Bond films (DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER, GOLDFINGER). Guy Hamilton also directed the Agatha Christie novel turned movie, THE MIRROR CRACK'D.
Famous Detective Hercule Poirot is back again. This time with what starts out into an investigation as to how a millionaire came to posses a phony diamond ends up being an investigation into murder. The London Trojan Insurance Company is in a predicament. They have discovered that Sir Horace Blatt has tried to insure a fake diamond. The question is why would a millionaire try to do such a foolish thing? Poirot is hired to solve this mystery. He finds Sir Horace Blatt in the South of France on his Yacht. Sir Blatt is furious when he is informed that the diamond is a fake. He tells Poirot his story. A few months back he had given an actress this diamond as a wedding gift, only to have the lady run out on him three nights later with the jewel. When Sir Horace finally recovered the jewel, he concludes that she must have switched it with the fake. Now he wants to get the real jewel back and hires Poirot to help him accomplish this feat. The lady in question is famous state actress Arlena Stuart Marshall, who has recently married a Captain Marshall and is going to be vacationing in a place called Daphne's Island. While Sir Horace sails there to meet her, Poirot travels by train.
When Poirot arrives on the island, he soon finds out that everyone there seems to want something or have a score to settle with the beastly and selfish actress. There is Daphne Castle, who runs the resort. She and Arlena are old rival actresses and Daphne doesn't like the way that Arlena treats Captain Marshall, for Daphne has a special regard for the Captain. There are the Gardner's, producers of the show that Arlena walked out on and they desperately need her to star in a new show. Arlena is currently having an affair with the young Mr. Redfern, while his dowdy wife suffers. Rex Brewster, a writer who needs Arlena to sign a release so he can publish his biography of her. Things just get worst as Arlena effectively turns the whole island against her and then is discovered strangled on the beach. Daphne convinces Poirot to solve the case before the press finds out and it turns out to be a difficult one, since everyone has a motive and a rock solid alibi.
Evil Under the Sun set against the backdrop of beautiful scenery and horrendous fashions along with "classic" songs by Cole Porter. It is a witty ensemble crime/ mystery movie in which Maggie Smith and Diana Rigg steal the show with their biting dialog. Maggie Smith is also rather cute as she keeps in trying to suggest suspect and methods of killing Arlena to Poirot. Peter Ustinov is back as the famous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. Roddy McDonald is fun to watch as the very flamboyant Rex Harrison, and James Madison is as good and entertaining as always as a weary producer with his poisonous wife. Diana Rig plays the over the top stage actress diva Arlena that manages to inspire hate in loathing in everyone she meets and Maggie Smith is charming as former mistress to a king turned inn keeper.
Great Scenes -
* When Poirot questions Mr. Gardner's whereabouts during the time of the murder and Gardner is very proud of the fact that he has no alibi. For as he says "however I belong to that great world, millions of innocent men and women, who curiously enough do not have the foresight to provide themselves with an alibi when a murder is taking place for which they no nothing about."
* Rex Brewster describing his meeting with Linda Marshall in the bay and in general the interactions between the too. It is comical how patronizing he is to the child a dhow much she despises him. For example after seeing Linda "splashing about like a deaf seal" he asks her to peddle back to the island, she tells him to peddle it back her self and kicks water at him. " After I had been left by that nasty little cow Linda to rupture myself."
* When the Great Hercule Poirot goes "swimming". Walking around in the water, miming the actions of swimming is more like it. What makes the scene so amusing is the grandiose music and Poirot nervousness that some one may catch him in this silly display.
* Cocktails and Cattiness - is a wonderful scene in which all of the quests gather together for the first time. Arlena's sparking personality is high lighted here starting with her entrance. " Oh my! I see that I'm the last to arrive!"
"And frankly $100,000 is a bit much to pay for three days of fondling on the high seas!" - Dir Horace Blatt
"More like a sudden attack of gold digging!" - Mrs. Gardner
"Even in those days she could throw her legs up in the air higher than any of us and wider." - Daphne Castle
"I don't have the ghost of a alibi, Of course I could have scampered over the top of that peak like a mountain goat and a, swarmed down the famous steps that we've all heard about and then crept up on Arlena and strangled her with these powerful hands of mine." - Mr. Gardner
Cast: Peter Ustinov - Hercule Poirot. Peter Ustinov has played Poirot before in "Death on the Nile" and later in several Agatha Christie television movies.
James Mason- Odell Gardener (the Boys from Brazil, Lolita)
Roddy McDowall - Rex Brewster (Planet of the Apes, The Legend of Hell House)
Maggie Smith - Daphne Castle (Harry Potter movies, Gosford Park)
Diana Rigg - Arlena Stuart Marshall (The Avengers)
Jane Birkin-Christine Redfern Colin Blakely - Sir Horace Blatt
Sylvia Miles - Myra Gardener.