With Peter Ustinov reprising his role as Hercule Poirot, the early ’80s welcomed another adaptation of Agatha Christie with Evil Under the Sun.
Based on the Christie’s 1941 novel, the film was directed by Guy Hamilton and starred Ustinov, Maggie Smith, Diana Rigg, Jane Birkin, James Mason and Roddy McDowall.
Adapted by Anthony Shaffer, Evil Under the Sun followed the same plot as the book: Poirot is asked by Sir Horace Blatt, a millionaire industrialist, to confirm whether his diamond are real or fake.
When shown they are fake, and that is his mistress must have taken the real ones, Poirot agrees to accompany Shaffer to an island resort to confront the thief.
Arriving at the resort, Poirot meets mistress Arlena Marshall (Rigg), a former actress, on holiday with her husband Kenneth and his daughter Linda, who is happily flirting with Patrick and his meek wife Christine (Birkin).
There is also Odell and Myra, theatre producers who have been scorned by Arlena over a play, and writer Rex (McDowall) who is writing a tell-all book on Arlena’s sordid life. Soon Poirot is called to figure out the latest mystery when Arlena is found dead on the beach by Patrick and Myra.
But who killed Arlena – her scorned lover? Former business partners? Or a writer trying to get the big finish for his book?
Filmed in England and Spain, the movie was released in March 1982 by EMI Films. Making just over $6 million at the box office, the film was a modest hit, seen only by those devoted Christie devoted fans who need a dose of the Belgian detective.