Evil Under the Sun

glalonzo0408glalonzo0408 Pennsylvania, United States
Just watched "Evil Under the Sun" 1982.  What are you thoughts about this version?  I was not impressed...were you?  


  • Was there anything in particular you didn't like about the film? I've seen both screen versions and I think they both have their pros and cons:

    I read the book first, which I enjoyed alot. Then I watched the Suchet version. Now although I feel it's good in parts, I thought it slightly lacking in suspense. But when I watched the 1982 version I did think it was better. I'm cautious of saying too much about the plot, as the Spoilers option isn't here.

    Although I prefer Suchet as Poirot, I did think the casting was better in the film. In particular Diana Rigg made an excellent, very unpleasant Arlena. Plus Nicholas Clay was very good as Patrick, he was more like how he is in the book. 

    There were some alterations, Roddy McDowell's character replaced the embittered spinster character. Also Maggie Smith's was altered alot, she get's into a very spiteful war of words with Arlena. Oddly enough Maggie Smith appear in the Ustinov version as a different character.

    In some way's perhaps the film was too glossy. The location in the film is much more tropical than the books setting of Devon. The costumes in the film are gaudy which might not appeal to everyone. But, actually I adored them. I can imagine that Arlena would wear something over the top just to get attention!

    I have wondered whist reading the book, why Poirot chose that destination. Maybe he wanted a quiet holiday (that's never happened) . The Suchet version invented a reason why. He was sent their to lose weight.

    SPOILERS! There was a very odd scene with a dead animal (sadly it looked more like a disguarded toupee covered in red paint)  on the cliff top, which was never explained. I can only guess it was placed there by the murderer to deter people from that part of the track?

  • glalonzo0408glalonzo0408 Pennsylvania, United States
    Hello MissQuinn....after reading your comment, I must admit I do agree with you on some points.  I think my biggest problem is that I do not like anyone to play Poirot other than Suchet.  And I do agree with you about the dead animal....I have no idea what the point of showing that was...mmmmmmmm.....what is your favorite AC movie?

  • I like Death On The Nile with Ustiov. It's not perfect, but without the spoiler option I won't go into a long analysis of the story. Although I might do at a later date, on a different post.  I enjoyed seeing Bette Davis in a Christie adapt, I admire her acting. She really lived as the character rather than just playing the part. Seeing her verbally sparring with Maggie Smith's character, is really something! 

    I liked The Murder On The Orient Express film, but I detest Albert Finney as Poirot. I believe Agatha Chrisite herself disapproved of his mustache?! Most amusing. Maybe that's how we should all tell a good Poirot, by his mustache... ?  : D
    But the rest of the cast in MOTOE are  very good. It has very sumptuous costumes and surroundings. I felt the Suchet version lacking in warmth and glamour.

    I'm as mystified as you as to the  dead animal. It might be done to give the audience a little shock. But it didn't work on me, I was just wondering how they could have such a bad prop that looked like wig.

    Have you seen anymore Christie adaptions? My other favourite film adapt is Then There Were None. It was the old B&W version. Yet it was very suspenseful and has some good dark humour.

  • tudestudes Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    Evil under the Sun is one of my favorites A. C.'s books (maybe the one), but Iwasn't satisfied about the tv adaptions. I really like Suchet as Poirot, but the movie is very disappointed. I like the scenario (better than Ustinov's version), but it's quite similar to the game (PC game) and not to the book.
    On the other hand, although I think Ustinov does a caricture (Suchet seems much more similar to my idea of Poirot), I think his version is less unfaithful to the book than the Suchet's version and the others actors are much better. I really like the actress that does Arlena. She resembles my Arlena's picture (when I read the book).
    In others words, I think neither the Suchet's versions nor the Ustinov's is really good and this book deserves a better tv adaption.
  • I agree with you on some points Tudes. I think Diana Rigg was better as Arlena, but I think she was so much more nasty than the book. The way she yells "scram!" at her poor stepdaughter! it's not a bad thing though, you can see why people hated her.

    SPOILERS: But oddly enough I felt really sorry for her during the murder scene flashback. She used seemed helpless and vulnerable, the victim of a calculated murderer. The Suchet version didn't really go into this too much. 
    Forgot to add my other favourite film adaption is The Mirror Crak'd with Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson. It's simular to EUTS in the glossy style, the biting dialogue and starry cast. It was quite faithful to book as well. 

  • tudestudes Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    I agree with you, MissQuin.

    Spoilers: Diana Riggs (thank you for remember the actress name) makes you realize the character's nuance (of course, I'm talking about a movie with less than two hours, I guess). The other one (I don't know her name, sorry) you don't understand why people hate her so much.

    And I also agree with you about The Mirror Crack'd. It is a nice movie and faithful to the book as possible. I also like Angela Lansburry as Miss Marple. In my opinion, the formers adaptions were better than the news one. They didn't change the original plot so much. They do not try neither to  update her books nor to make up things that doesn't exist in her books.
    One of the reasons of reading A.C. (at least in my case) is "escape" from the modernity. I don't want read or watch about modern conflicts or actual habits. I want to read and watch about things that doesn't exist anymore (maybe), about how the things were, about the past. You come back in time, even if you ever have lived that time. In certain way, it's history or antropology. At least, in my opinion.
  • AgathasmykidAgathasmykid British Columbia, Canada
    Evil under the sun is another book that would be in my Agatha Christie top 10!  I prefer the Ustinov version, great all around cast, and the movie flows together very well.
  • tudestudes Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    I prefer the Ustinov version too, although Suchet as Poirot is better.
    As I said before, it's my favorite book. And it was the first one. I was twelve years old and until now (more than twenty years) I read this book at least once a year and still my favorite one. It was because of this book that I became a fan. I think that's why a little peevish about this book.
  • I love the episodes of Suchet Poirot that are around an hour long. The Affair At The Victory Ball with the Commedia De Arte dress is fantastic. They must have made the costumes from scratch to match the figurines. I wish there was a Poirot series clothing exhibition so I could go and visit!

    The Suchet short episodes would never have worked as films. The stories would be too padded out. 

    The most modern update has to be Sparkling Cyanide adaptation. There was lot's of techno babble and other rubbish, basically it was so bad I couldn't watch it.  

    The only episode that I concede was slightly better than  parts of the books are Halloween Party, which I loved .It's the only episode of Poirot made in the last 10 years that I'll really enthuse over. The other is Hickory Dickory Dock. I felt the simplified end was better.

  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom

    For me it is a draw between the Suchet version of Evil Under The Sun and the Ustinov one both have something the other doesn't, I like the lavishness of the Ustinov version, I always thought the Roddy McDowell Character replaced the Vicar and Maggie Smith's Character replaced was a mix between the Hotel Owner and Daphne Castle and I thought in the Suchet version the Caroline Pickles character replaced the couple who were theatre Producers in the Ustinov version but I am probably wrong,

    I didn't like Halloween Party as much as most others, the Policeman annoyed me because he was not pleased to have Poirot's help and he replaced Spence so if I was to put them in order starting with my least favourite it would be 4th.

    I know this might be sacrilege but I think ITV improved on all the short stories except The Missing Will which was good but I would have liked to have seen it as Agatha Christie wrote it, I agree to do the short stories you need to have a lot of padding which I don't object to per se but it damaged my favourite Poirot Short story just like ITV ruined my Joint favourite Novel Cards On The Table 

  • There are some things I can adjust to in an adaptation.  Then there are some things which are guaranteed to make me wince:
    1. Changing the murderer
    2. Changing the motive
    3. Adding Miss Marple to a story that she didn't appear in, it never really works for me.
    4. Changing the tone of the book. I mean Bertam's was quite a serious book, but in Marple it was rather like a pantomime.
    5. Changing the method of murder. AC was the murder method expert, let's leave it at that!
    I like the Missing Will adapation. I actually saw it before I read the story. I was surprised how different it was to the story. I even feel slightly disloyal for liking it!  But it did use elements of Christie- rather like Sad Cypress in some aspects. 

    If anyone else has lists of things that irritate them about them in adapt, I'd love to read them.

  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom

    I agree with your points and I agree in the main, but I am glad the murderer was changed with The Secret of Chimneys, and wish this had happened with all the Non-Miss Marple stories that ITV did and put Miss Marple into it would mean that people could watch them without having them ruined when reading them although I am totally against the idea of putting her in Adaptations she shouldn't be in although If ITV wants to do this they should put her into Poirot stories, I think some would fit her wuite well, I agree changing the Motives is also wrong and completely changed the Texture of Cards On The Table and the Tone, I don't mind about the method of murder being changedas long as the change doesn't look silly. 

    The Missing Will is my least favourite of the Adaptations of a Poirot Story, probably because it is my Favourite Poirot short story, I cannot say any changes in any of the other Adaptations of Poirot stories annoyed me because they didn't and I liked this one but was just saddened by the changes.

    I have never found any of the Misss Marple books serious apart from They Do It with Mirrors and The Mirror Crack'd From Side To Side

    I HATE The Change of Character name in the stories, there was no need to change Bobby Jones's name and changing Colin Lamb's name just shows the programme makers don't like us to use our imagination and be left wondering, They went the wrong way anyway, The decided Colin Lab's Father was Race when it is Battle, everyone knows that.    

  • tudestudes Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    I also hate when they create new plots to the secundary characters. This kind of thing ruin the movie, in general.
  • I love Evil Under the Sun, it's one of my top ten favourites.  The film with Peter Ustinov was great fun, although Ustinov is as far removed from Poirot as I can imagine.  Maggie Smith and Diana Rigg were hilarious playing off against each other, the Gardners were amusing too and the music of Cole Porter made the whole thing a delight to me.  There was a real holiday feeling about it, a lightness that made the evil so much more disturbing when the signs began to surface.

    Much as I adore David Suchet's Poirot, I was very disappointed with that version.  It was visually drab and unappealing and I thought it was a great mistake to substitute the boy Lionel for the girl Linda.  This did away entirely with the friction between stepmother and stepdaughter and did nothing to improve the plotline. 

  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom

    TI loved the Suchet version, I loved the fact they put Hastings, Miss Lemon and Japp in, It is one of my favourite Poirot Episodes, I bought one copy not making sure |I was buying the copy I wanted got the wrong one and bought the one I Initially wanted, so I have both and Love both, 

    I have the soundtrack to the Ustinov film and am always sad that Diana Rigg isn't singing 'Your The Tops' (I love that bit) I also love the bit where Maggoe Smith is trying to give Dennis Quilley an Alibi and by doing so gives herself one (I think) 

  • glalonzo0408glalonzo0408 Pennsylvania, United States
    My question is Why try to fix something that is not broken?  
  • I think that changing the murderer is unacceptable. Why should they? If people like Christie they should read the books first then watch the adaptations. I don't see why a story that AC wrote should be adapted with a different killer on TV, because a viewer in 2013 hasn't read the book. Adaptations need to respect the work of the author.

    I don't think that Miss Marple should be in Poirot stories. Agatha Chrisite whose word should have been law, was angry about the Rutherford film with Miss Marple in a Poirot story. 

    There isn't really much need to change much. There is only one point I will accept needed change. We all know that Poirot died 1940's and must have been ancient. But Third Girl and other later books are so clearly 60's and references things before the 40's.  So I thought it was fine to move the setting from 60's to 30's in Third Girl. But I hated the adapt simply because it was so miserable! 

    As for serious Miss Marple- Nemesis is very melancholy in tone, not a bad thing It talks about the past being happier and the violence in modern age. The McEwan adapt was serious in parts and farcical in others.

    I wonder why the Suchet adapt changed Linda? But the film with Ustinov changed the spinster to a male. Why?

  • glalonzo0408glalonzo0408 Pennsylvania, United States
    I often wander that too.
  • ZeddieZeddie Ballymoney, United Kingdom
    Evil Under The Sun is my absolute favourite AC book of all time which is why it is the book I have read the most times.It may be for this reason that I have to admit I love both adaptations! 
     I agree completely that David Suchet is THE Poirot but I actually prefer the Ustinov version as it does remain more faithful to the book in my opinion.  I also adore the glamour of the location, the stellar cast,the costumes, the rivalry between Dame Maggie Smith and Diana Rigg and the fabulous Cole Porter music! Every time I hear "Your the top", It makes me think of that brilliant scene in the film.
    Of all AC's books, I think it has the most fantastically clever plot and outcome and it is the reason why I love the character Hercule Poirot so much!
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    I don't think Miss Marple should be put in Poirot stories but I think that would be better than putting her inWhy Didn't They Ask Evans, Pale Horse etc, and not as big a Crime IMHO, I also think if Miss Marple is Catapulted into a non-Marple story changing the Identity of the Murderer people can watch the Adaptation without having it spoilt which seems a happy Compromise if certain people are insisting on using Agatha Christie as a Cash Cow which apparently it seems is the most important thing 
  • Nothing can ever convince me that changing the killer from the book is ok. I think the murderers were just altered in some adaptations to suit the actors/actresses who were in the role. Perhaps it was sometimes down to creating bigger parts for well known actors. But I suspect Body In The Library probably would have been unconvincing if the original murderer had been used due to the actor playing the part. So it was altered to someone else. I cannot give further details because of spoilers. The Marple series has been more interested in bringing in "famous" people than picking ones right for the roles. I hold up Secret Of Chimneys as an example of some bad soap opera like acting. 

    I think Evil Under The Sun film works well because the casting was so good.

  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom

    I don't understand why the Choice of person playing the part can make it unbelievable for them bto be the Murderer and think that the change was only done to appease people, I think the Marple seriese has been more interested in appearing 'relevent' to a new Generation and The American Audience who are unfairly thought to be stupid which the American Executives think they are and I agree another reason is because changing the stories also serves to please the people hired to write the Screanplays and the Actors who they want to attract, I was pleased to hear that Julia McKenzie picked the Makers up on a couple of things during the making of Carribean Mystery  I wish she had done this before and Geraldine McKewan had done this and David Suchet Did it more.


    I think Evil Under The Sun was so good because of the Cast, The Acting, The Scenery, The Music and The Book itself.

    I still say if they are going to Catupalt Miss Marple into the story they should change the Identity of Thje Murderer for the Reason I give and for no other reason.

  • It's incredibly simple. The denouncement is the climax of the whole story. If the producers of Marple they've picked a weak actor who plays the murderer, they can't pull of a really good ending. So they've switched the murder to be played by a better actor. I'm sure this is the case in Secret Of Chimneys and Body In The Library.

    Agatha Christie didn't like the changes made in the Rutherford, so would she like her murderers being altered? I very much doubt it.

  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom

    I agree they did choose a weak actor but that is a matter of opinion, I didn't think they person chosen to be a murderer in the Case of Body In The Library was that strong, but that is my opinion, I can think of a few Actors who I would call weak because they always play the same person (or so it seems to me), that wasn't a good enough reason to change the ending of Body In The Library, I can't remember who played the Character who should be in The Secret of Chimneys, You are right in saying Agatha Christie didn't like the Changes made in the Rutherford Films and would not like the changes made now but she isn't here which is why they are allowed, and I agree changing the Murderer in The Secret of Chimneys wasn't an Ideal Idea but nor is Catapulting Miss Marple into stories she shouldn't be in and if you are going to make that change why not change the Murderer so people can watch the Adaptation and read the book and think, I can watch it knowing that the ending will be a surprise, Its just a solution to a very bad Idea. 

  • I don't think they should have changed the murderers in any adaptation, for whatever reason they had. But they've used comedians, singers, TV presenters who are well known but have had little or no acting experience. The changes made are so utterly unfathomable that  we can only guess why they made them.

    I don't feel that the episodes were geared towards Christie fans.  People complained after series/season 1 of Marple. But instead of making it truer to the book, they made the plots even looser. The Sittaford Mystery (which to watch is a form of torture) for example. So that suggests that they were aiming it at people who had never read the books. They probably felt they could just make alterations and most viewers wouldn't know any different. The plots were def. sensationalized and some murderers/methods/motives were altered to suit this style.

    Bertram's Hotel- they cast Martine McCutchen, who is more well known for soap roles. I cannot think of a character in Bertram's who would  suit her. So they added a Cockney maid character to help Miss Marple!  I think that shows as an example of plots altered to suit whoever's starring in it.

    I think that alot of people stopped watching, as ratings slumped, so they have made recent episodes truer to the stories. It's all about the ratings which equals money. 
    if you look at Murder On The Orient Express with Finney, then they had an excellent cast. But then maybe they had more money to hire the actors best suited. 

  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom

    I fell asleep last time I tried to watch The Sittaford Mystery, and didn't wake up until they were all leaving, for fans of Nemesis and Sleeping Murder watching those is Torture too, It is obvious that Comedians, Singers and Television Presenters were cast to appeal to the Younger Generation and to encourage them to read Agatha Christie Books which I don't think is what will happen because people will watch the Adaptations and think the Books are as modern as the Adaptations, my sister was watching an adaptation with a friend of hers who had never read a Christie in her life and she was thrilled at all he more modern bits, (I can't remember f that one had Lesbians or suggestion of Incest anyway my sisters friend was thrilled, my sister held her head in despair, The Adaptations give the wrong Idea of Agatha Christie's work, an impression that the younger generation would love but I am sure in the long term won't help The Estate.

    There are some people who should never be considered for a role in an Agatha Christie Adaptations ad sadly those people have appeared in Adaptations of her work on Television.

    I also liked The Finney version of Murder On The Orient Express I agree there is not the money to do something like it these days but I also don't think Televison Executives have the appertite to do Agatha Christie's work properly so they do them improperly, and if they don't have the appertite to do Agatha Christie's work properly how can people who don't know her work know that they are being given a false impression of Agatha Christie's work and if they don't realise they cant ask for the Books to be done properly  

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