one of the best transfers of a Christie novel to the screen, this 1982 film captures the adventure, the romance, and the chic of privileged British layabouts on holiday in a picturesque locale unsullied by tourist hoardes. Mallorca stands in for Devon.
Maggie Smith is in top form as a dizzy hotel proprietess, but the really great performance is by Diana Rigg, as the universally loathed actress who gets herself killed. you too will loathe Rigg and perhaps miss the tongue-in-cheek brilliance of her portrayal. the whole film exudes the gaiety of smart, funny, talented actors having a field day with Christie's clear-eyed view of the human condition.
Ustinov as Poirot is convincing as a genius indifferent to the opinion of others, a thinking man who is also a buffoon. he inhabits perfectly Poirot's double nature: eminently sane man of the world simultaneously implacable in the presence of murder, obsessed with its solution.
the costumes exude glamourous nonchalance. the whole production has an ease, a joie de vivre, that makes it a shame someone has to die. unlike the more recent Christie botches, where everyone's miserable, tense, irritable, and better off dead.
"Evil under the sun", 1982, is pretty damn poorly acted but maybe there wasn't that much of a story to go from the beginning. There were certainly some recognizable stars here and that is all that saves the movie from being totally panned. Frankly, I don't care much for Peter Ustinov's portrayal of Hercule Poirot. He's just a fat man eating more to get fatter. In between meals he solves crimes. There definitely was a lack of support for this movie in 1982 because it only took in $6 .1 million at the theater. Tootsie, also from 1982, took in $177.2 million. What killed this movie for me was having the bad guy(s) coming across with no enthusiasm for their roles. Also, James Mason was a superstar for decades but gets very little use here.
Done here by Ustinov, Done under the same titles by Suchet, and also as "Triangle at Rhodes" by Suchet. Interesting to watch all three together and see the variations.
At the time Peter Ustinov was the definitive Poirot, now it is, hands down, David Suchet who probably owns Poirot forever. Ustinov made Poirot into Ustinov (whereas Suchet made Suchet into Poirot) and it works pretty good, it's both fun and interesting, it has an incredibly talented cast, and the locale is stunningly beautiful. It is a little bit slow, but if you are just sitting back for the ride that is fine, it is not built on suspense, but on a talented , idiosyncratic characterization of the much beloved Poirot.
Ustinov, as always, delivers a charming performance as the punctilious “Belgium” sleuth, Hercule Poirot. Other than McDowell’s effete performance, the good cast benefited from the gorgeous scenery. The film was shot in Mallorca.
Worst. Poirot. Ever.
Think of the worst episode of "Murder, She Wrote" and then make it less tight, charming, intelligent, and coherent.
OTOH, I want to live in that palace by the sea, and the dames rock (Maggie Smith, Diana Rigg, and Sylvia Miles).
Note: I've read the book too many times, I knew the ending. If you love Agatha Christie too, a better TV choice is the Miss Marple ones with Margaret Rutherford.
Fun: in the special stuff on the DVD, at the end of the "making of" part, you get to see the Queen going to see this movie, in white gloves, evening dress, and a big sparkly crown. Totally bizarre.
the best ever! Egypt, murder, a detective!
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