1982's EVIL UNDER THE SUN was the great Peter Ustinov's second film as famed detective Hercule Poirot after the very successful "Death on the Nile" in 1978.
Ustinov is hilarious and clever as the particular and eccentric sleuth and surrounded by an all star cast and a terrific director, Guy Hamilton (Goldfinger, Diamonds Are Forever).
Poirot stumbles into a murder scene while on vacation on an island resort that caters to the rich and famous.
Diana Rigg is a star of stage and screen that ends up dead on the beach, with every other person on the island owning a motive for killing her. James Mason and Sylvia Miles are Broadway producers she abandoned mid-production, Nicholas Clay and Jane Birkin are a playboy and his mousy wife involved in a nasty affair, Roddy McDowell is the author pushing to publish her autobiography....the suspects are all a lot of fun and well executed.
Maggie Smith steals every scene she's in as the owner of the island resort and her barbs aimed at Rigg are euro-wit at its finest, delivered by Smith with perfect timing.
The real reason the whole film works so well is an excellent screenplay by famed writer Anthony Shaffer (Sleuth, Hitchcock's "Frenzy") who keeps the dialogue smart and funny, the suspects viable and the solution clever.
Ustinov is the center of the movie and injects every line of dialogue, every physical movement with eccentricities, humor and wry observations. It's a great performance and very entertaining to watch.
Evil Under the Sun is killer fun for whodunit fans and it's no mystery we give it a solid B.