Evil Under The Sun


1h 42m 1982
Evil Under The Sun

Brief Synopsis

A detective trying to solve a case finds himself on an exclusive island frequented by the rich and famous.

Film Details

Genre
Mystery
Adaptation
Release Date
1982
Production Company
Panavision, Ltd.; Technicolor Laboratories
Distribution Company
Columbia-Emi-Warner; Universal Pictures; Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 42m

Synopsis

Hercule Poirot is called upon to discover who murdered stage star Arlena Marshall. But given Marshall's shrewish personality and propensity for making enemies, the question isn't "Who wanted to see her dead?" but "Who didn't?"

Film Details

Genre
Mystery
Adaptation
Release Date
1982
Production Company
Panavision, Ltd.; Technicolor Laboratories
Distribution Company
Columbia-Emi-Warner; Universal Pictures; Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 42m

Articles

Evil Under the Sun


Evil Under the Sun (1982), based on Agatha Christie's 1941 novel of the same name, with a screenplay by Anthony Shaffer and Barry Sandler, marked the second time that Peter Ustinov played the role of Christie's Belgian sleuth, Hercule Poirot. Co-starring with Ustinov were Diana Rigg, Jane Birkin, who was also in another Christie adaptation, Death on the Nile (1978), Nicholas Clay, Maggie Smith, Roddy McDowall, Sylvia Miles, James Mason and Colin Blakely, who had appeared in Murder on the Orient Express (1974).

This was the fourth Agatha Christie film adaptation by EMI, who had also produced The Mirror Crack'd (1980). The three previous films had been more-or-less faithful adaptations, but the setting for Evil Under the Sun was moved from the Devon coast of England (reportedly because the hotel that inspired the film was being renovated) to the Mediterranean. The movie was actually shot in various locations in Majorca, Spain, with interior shooting done at the Lee International Studios in Wembley, London.

When asked how he felt about portraying Hercule Poirot, Ustinov said, "I find Poirot a very engaging character, although he's quite awful, really. I should hate to know him. He's very vain, self-contained and finicky. People have asked me why he never married - because he couldn't solve it, of course. An ancillary reason is that he's very much in love with himself. He has probably been quite true to himself. I don't think he's ever cheated on himself."

Composer John Lanchbery, normally a ballet conductor, was hired to arrange the music. To recreate the mood of the 1930s, he chose Cole Porter tunes for the entire soundtrack and assigned a song to each situation and each character. "I felt that the island was a terribly important character in the picture and needed a theme. There was something about the way they photographed Majorca that give it a certain rolling dignity." He created a seven-minute medley called "Porter meet Poirot" which was later performed with the Boston Pops. To stay historically accurate, Lanchbery went to the Cole Porter estate and looked at all of Porter's compositions up until 1938, when the film is set. He copied 100 songs and used 24.

Director Guy Hamilton, who also directed The Mirror Crack'd, is said to have admitted to having told the producers John Brabourne and Richard Goodwin that he didn't like Agatha Christie's "stuffy" writing style. The producers replied, "That's why we think you would be ideal for this picture." This lack of love for the author might have affected his work. While Agatha Christie films were normally popular, the critics were less than kind to Evil Under the Sun. Critic David Denby criticized director Guy Hamilton in particular in his New York Magazine review, writing that Hamilton didn't get much glamour out of the cast, who he called "hideously dressed," and that "the movie reeks of fussiness." Denby suggested that the film was so slow that the audience would be compiling their laundry list in their heads before the mystery thriller was over. Jack Matthews, writing for the Knight News Service, called it "a cross between a smirking parody and a random rerun from Gilligan's Island. Vincent Canby in The New York Times, on the other hand, enjoyed the film, writing that it had "a cast of marvelous actors who communicate mostly through rude remarks [...] In adapting Dame Agatha's not exactly flamboyant novel, Mr. Shaffer seems to have put a paperback edition of it under his pillow for one night and then allowed his imagination to take over. That's all to the good, though, because this is - after all - a conventional whodunit; both he and Guy Hamilton, the director, faithfully observe all of those genteel, drawing room conceits that so charm Christie fans and stupefy the rest of us."

Producers: John Brabourne, Richard Goodwin
Director: Guy Hamilton
Screenplay: Anthony Shaffer (screenplay); Agatha Christie (novel, uncredited); Barry Sandler (uncredited)
Cinematography: Christopher Challis
Art Direction: Alan Cassie
Film Editing: Richard Marden
Cast: Peter Ustinov (Hercule Poirot), Colin Blakely (Sir Horace Blatt), Jane Birkin (Christine Redfern), Nicholas Clay (Patrick Redfern), Maggie Smith (Daphne Castle), Roddy McDowall (Rex Brewster), Sylvia Miles (Myra Gardener), James Mason (Odell Gardener), Denis Quilley (Kenneth Marshall), Diana Rigg (Arlena Marshall).
C-117m.

by Lorraine LoBianco

SOURCES:
Bennetts, Leslie. "Ustinov: One-Man Creative Industry." Lakeland Ledger 15 Mar 82
Bunson, Matthew. The Complete Christie: An Agatha Christie Encyclopedia
Canby, Vincent. "Evil Under the Sun: New Christie." New York Times 5 Mar 82
Challis, Christopher. Are They Really So Awful?: A Cameraman's Chronicles
Denby, David. New York Magazine 29 Mar 82
Hurdle, Judith. The Getaway Guide to Agatha Christie's England
Mathews, Jack. "Cuteness Kills 'Evil Under the Sun.'" Lakeland Ledger 15 Mar 82
Sarasota Herald-Tribune "Cole Porter Songs 'Star' in 'Evil Under the Sun'" 3 May 82
Evil Under The Sun

Evil Under the Sun

Evil Under the Sun (1982), based on Agatha Christie's 1941 novel of the same name, with a screenplay by Anthony Shaffer and Barry Sandler, marked the second time that Peter Ustinov played the role of Christie's Belgian sleuth, Hercule Poirot. Co-starring with Ustinov were Diana Rigg, Jane Birkin, who was also in another Christie adaptation, Death on the Nile (1978), Nicholas Clay, Maggie Smith, Roddy McDowall, Sylvia Miles, James Mason and Colin Blakely, who had appeared in Murder on the Orient Express (1974). This was the fourth Agatha Christie film adaptation by EMI, who had also produced The Mirror Crack'd (1980). The three previous films had been more-or-less faithful adaptations, but the setting for Evil Under the Sun was moved from the Devon coast of England (reportedly because the hotel that inspired the film was being renovated) to the Mediterranean. The movie was actually shot in various locations in Majorca, Spain, with interior shooting done at the Lee International Studios in Wembley, London. When asked how he felt about portraying Hercule Poirot, Ustinov said, "I find Poirot a very engaging character, although he's quite awful, really. I should hate to know him. He's very vain, self-contained and finicky. People have asked me why he never married - because he couldn't solve it, of course. An ancillary reason is that he's very much in love with himself. He has probably been quite true to himself. I don't think he's ever cheated on himself." Composer John Lanchbery, normally a ballet conductor, was hired to arrange the music. To recreate the mood of the 1930s, he chose Cole Porter tunes for the entire soundtrack and assigned a song to each situation and each character. "I felt that the island was a terribly important character in the picture and needed a theme. There was something about the way they photographed Majorca that give it a certain rolling dignity." He created a seven-minute medley called "Porter meet Poirot" which was later performed with the Boston Pops. To stay historically accurate, Lanchbery went to the Cole Porter estate and looked at all of Porter's compositions up until 1938, when the film is set. He copied 100 songs and used 24. Director Guy Hamilton, who also directed The Mirror Crack'd, is said to have admitted to having told the producers John Brabourne and Richard Goodwin that he didn't like Agatha Christie's "stuffy" writing style. The producers replied, "That's why we think you would be ideal for this picture." This lack of love for the author might have affected his work. While Agatha Christie films were normally popular, the critics were less than kind to Evil Under the Sun. Critic David Denby criticized director Guy Hamilton in particular in his New York Magazine review, writing that Hamilton didn't get much glamour out of the cast, who he called "hideously dressed," and that "the movie reeks of fussiness." Denby suggested that the film was so slow that the audience would be compiling their laundry list in their heads before the mystery thriller was over. Jack Matthews, writing for the Knight News Service, called it "a cross between a smirking parody and a random rerun from Gilligan's Island. Vincent Canby in The New York Times, on the other hand, enjoyed the film, writing that it had "a cast of marvelous actors who communicate mostly through rude remarks [...] In adapting Dame Agatha's not exactly flamboyant novel, Mr. Shaffer seems to have put a paperback edition of it under his pillow for one night and then allowed his imagination to take over. That's all to the good, though, because this is - after all - a conventional whodunit; both he and Guy Hamilton, the director, faithfully observe all of those genteel, drawing room conceits that so charm Christie fans and stupefy the rest of us." Producers: John Brabourne, Richard Goodwin Director: Guy Hamilton Screenplay: Anthony Shaffer (screenplay); Agatha Christie (novel, uncredited); Barry Sandler (uncredited) Cinematography: Christopher Challis Art Direction: Alan Cassie Film Editing: Richard Marden Cast: Peter Ustinov (Hercule Poirot), Colin Blakely (Sir Horace Blatt), Jane Birkin (Christine Redfern), Nicholas Clay (Patrick Redfern), Maggie Smith (Daphne Castle), Roddy McDowall (Rex Brewster), Sylvia Miles (Myra Gardener), James Mason (Odell Gardener), Denis Quilley (Kenneth Marshall), Diana Rigg (Arlena Marshall). C-117m. by Lorraine LoBianco SOURCES: Bennetts, Leslie. "Ustinov: One-Man Creative Industry." Lakeland Ledger 15 Mar 82 Bunson, Matthew. The Complete Christie: An Agatha Christie Encyclopedia Canby, Vincent. "Evil Under the Sun: New Christie." New York Times 5 Mar 82 Challis, Christopher. Are They Really So Awful?: A Cameraman's Chronicles Denby, David. New York Magazine 29 Mar 82 Hurdle, Judith. The Getaway Guide to Agatha Christie's England Mathews, Jack. "Cuteness Kills 'Evil Under the Sun.'" Lakeland Ledger 15 Mar 82 Sarasota Herald-Tribune "Cole Porter Songs 'Star' in 'Evil Under the Sun'" 3 May 82

Sir Peter Ustinov (1921-2004)


Sir Peter Ustinov, the witty, multi-talented actor, director and writer whose 60-year career in entertainment included two Best Supporting Actor Oscars® for his memorable character turns in the films Spartacus and Topkapi, died of heart failure on March 28 at a clinic in Genolier, Switzerland. He was 82.

He was born Peter Alexander Ustinov on April 16, 1921 in London, England. His father was a press attache at the German embassy until 1935 - when disgusted by the Nazi regime - he took out British nationality. He attended Westminster School, an exclusive private school in central London until he was 16. He then enrolled for acting classes at the London Theater Studio, and by 1939, he made his London stage debut.

His jovial nature and strong gift for dialects made him a natural player for films, and it wasn't long after finding theatre work that Ustinov moved into motion pictures: a Dutch priest in Michael Powell's One of Our Aircraft is Missing (1941); an elderly Czech professor in Let the People Sing (1942); and a star pupil of a Nazi spy school in The Goose Steps Out (1942).

He served in the British Army for four years (1942-46), where he found his talents well utilized by the military, allowing him to join the director Sir Carol Reed on some propaganda films. He eventually earned his first screenwriting credit for The Way Ahead (1944). One of Sir Carol Reed's best films, The Way Ahead was a thrilling drama which starred David Niven as a civilian heading up a group of locals to resist an oncoming Nazi unit. It was enough of a hit to earn Ustinov his first film directorial assignment, School for Secrets (1946), a well paced drama about the discovery of radar starring Sir Ralph Richardson and Sir Richard Attenborough.

After the war, Ustinov took on another writer-director project Vice Versa (1948), a whimsical fantasy-comedy starring Roger Livesey and Anthony Newley as a father and son who magically switch personalities. Although not a huge hit of its day, the sheer buoyancy of the surreal premise has earned the film a large cult following.

Ustinov made his Hollywood debut, and garnered his first Oscar® nomination for Best Supporting Actor, as an indolent Nero in the Roman epic, Quo Vadis? (1951). After achieving some international popularity with that role, Ustinov gave some top-notch performances in quality films: the snappish Prinny in the Stewart Granger vehicle Beau Brummel (1954); holding his own against Humphrey Bogart as an escaped convict in We're No Angels (1954); the ring master who presides over the life of the lead character in Max Ophuls's resplendent Lola Montez (1955); and a garrulous settler coping with the Australian outback in The Sundowners (1960).

The '60s would be Ustinov's most fruitful decade. He started off gabbing his first Oscar® as the cunning slave dealer in Spartacus (1960); made a smooth screen adaptation by directing his smash play, Romanoff and Juliet (1961), earned critical acclaim for his co-adaptation, direction, production and performance in Herman Melville's nautical classic Billy Budd (1962); and earned a second Oscar® as the fumbling jewel thief in the crime comedy Topkapi (1964).

He scored another Oscar® nomination in the Best Original Screenplay category for his airy, clever crime romp Hot Millions (1968), in which he played a con artist who uses a computer to bilk a company out of millions of dollars; but after that, Ustinov began taking a string of offbeat character parts: the lead in one of Disney's better kiddie flicks Blackbeard's Ghost (1968); a Mexican General who wants to reclaim Texas for Mexico in Viva Max! (1969); an old man who survives the ravaged planet of the future in Logan's Run (1976); and an unfortunate turn as a Chinese stereotype in Charlie Chan and the Curse of the Dragon Queen (1981). Still, he did achieve renewed popularity when he took on the role of Hercule Poirot in the star laced, Agatha Christie extravaganza Death on the Nile (1978). He was such a hit, that he would adroitly play the Belgian detective in two more theatrical movies: Evil Under the Sun (1982) and Appointment With Death (1988); as well as three television movies: Thirteen at Dinner (1985), Murder in Three Acts, Dead Man's Folly (both 1986).

Beyond his work in films, Ustinov was justifiably praised for his humanitarian work - most notably as the unpaid, goodwill ambassador for United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). Since 1968, he had traveled to all corners of the globe: China, Russia, Myanmar, Cambodia, Kenya, Egypt, Thailand and numerous other countries to promote and host many benefit concerts for the agency.

Ustinov, who in 1990 earned a knighthood for his artistic and humanitarian contributions, is survived by his wife of 32 years, Hélène du Lau d'Allemans; three daughters, Tamara, Pavla, Andrea; and a son, Igor.

by Michael T. Toole

Sir Peter Ustinov (1921-2004)

Sir Peter Ustinov, the witty, multi-talented actor, director and writer whose 60-year career in entertainment included two Best Supporting Actor Oscars® for his memorable character turns in the films Spartacus and Topkapi, died of heart failure on March 28 at a clinic in Genolier, Switzerland. He was 82. He was born Peter Alexander Ustinov on April 16, 1921 in London, England. His father was a press attache at the German embassy until 1935 - when disgusted by the Nazi regime - he took out British nationality. He attended Westminster School, an exclusive private school in central London until he was 16. He then enrolled for acting classes at the London Theater Studio, and by 1939, he made his London stage debut. His jovial nature and strong gift for dialects made him a natural player for films, and it wasn't long after finding theatre work that Ustinov moved into motion pictures: a Dutch priest in Michael Powell's One of Our Aircraft is Missing (1941); an elderly Czech professor in Let the People Sing (1942); and a star pupil of a Nazi spy school in The Goose Steps Out (1942). He served in the British Army for four years (1942-46), where he found his talents well utilized by the military, allowing him to join the director Sir Carol Reed on some propaganda films. He eventually earned his first screenwriting credit for The Way Ahead (1944). One of Sir Carol Reed's best films, The Way Ahead was a thrilling drama which starred David Niven as a civilian heading up a group of locals to resist an oncoming Nazi unit. It was enough of a hit to earn Ustinov his first film directorial assignment, School for Secrets (1946), a well paced drama about the discovery of radar starring Sir Ralph Richardson and Sir Richard Attenborough. After the war, Ustinov took on another writer-director project Vice Versa (1948), a whimsical fantasy-comedy starring Roger Livesey and Anthony Newley as a father and son who magically switch personalities. Although not a huge hit of its day, the sheer buoyancy of the surreal premise has earned the film a large cult following. Ustinov made his Hollywood debut, and garnered his first Oscar® nomination for Best Supporting Actor, as an indolent Nero in the Roman epic, Quo Vadis? (1951). After achieving some international popularity with that role, Ustinov gave some top-notch performances in quality films: the snappish Prinny in the Stewart Granger vehicle Beau Brummel (1954); holding his own against Humphrey Bogart as an escaped convict in We're No Angels (1954); the ring master who presides over the life of the lead character in Max Ophuls's resplendent Lola Montez (1955); and a garrulous settler coping with the Australian outback in The Sundowners (1960). The '60s would be Ustinov's most fruitful decade. He started off gabbing his first Oscar® as the cunning slave dealer in Spartacus (1960); made a smooth screen adaptation by directing his smash play, Romanoff and Juliet (1961), earned critical acclaim for his co-adaptation, direction, production and performance in Herman Melville's nautical classic Billy Budd (1962); and earned a second Oscar® as the fumbling jewel thief in the crime comedy Topkapi (1964). He scored another Oscar® nomination in the Best Original Screenplay category for his airy, clever crime romp Hot Millions (1968), in which he played a con artist who uses a computer to bilk a company out of millions of dollars; but after that, Ustinov began taking a string of offbeat character parts: the lead in one of Disney's better kiddie flicks Blackbeard's Ghost (1968); a Mexican General who wants to reclaim Texas for Mexico in Viva Max! (1969); an old man who survives the ravaged planet of the future in Logan's Run (1976); and an unfortunate turn as a Chinese stereotype in Charlie Chan and the Curse of the Dragon Queen (1981). Still, he did achieve renewed popularity when he took on the role of Hercule Poirot in the star laced, Agatha Christie extravaganza Death on the Nile (1978). He was such a hit, that he would adroitly play the Belgian detective in two more theatrical movies: Evil Under the Sun (1982) and Appointment With Death (1988); as well as three television movies: Thirteen at Dinner (1985), Murder in Three Acts, Dead Man's Folly (both 1986). Beyond his work in films, Ustinov was justifiably praised for his humanitarian work - most notably as the unpaid, goodwill ambassador for United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). Since 1968, he had traveled to all corners of the globe: China, Russia, Myanmar, Cambodia, Kenya, Egypt, Thailand and numerous other countries to promote and host many benefit concerts for the agency. Ustinov, who in 1990 earned a knighthood for his artistic and humanitarian contributions, is survived by his wife of 32 years, Hélène du Lau d'Allemans; three daughters, Tamara, Pavla, Andrea; and a son, Igor. by Michael T. Toole

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1982

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1982