Evil Under the Sun (1982): Hamilton’s Version of Agatha Christie, Starring Peter Ustinov as Detective Poirot

Guy Hamilton. directed Evil Under the Sun, a British mystery film based on the 1941 novel of the same name by Agatha Christie.

Peter Ustinov stars as Hercule Poirot, the Belgian detective whom he had previously played in Death on the Nile (1978), a better and more successful picture.


A hiker finds on the North York Moors a dead woman, who’s had been strangled and is identified as Alice Ruber. Belgian detective Hercule Poirot (Peter Ustinov) is asked to examine a diamond ring belonging to millionaire industrialist Sir Horace Blatt (Colin Blakely). Poirot declares it fake and holding that Sir Horace would have given a real diamond to his mistress and that Arlena Stuart Marshall (Diana Rigg) had returned the fake, Poirot agrees to meet Horace at an exclusive Adriatic Sea island. The hotel is the former summer palace of the reigning King of Tyrania, now owned by Daphne Castle (Maggie Smith), who had received it “for services rendered.”

Despite its commercial failure, Ustinov appeared as Poirot in several TV movies (Thirteen At Dinner, Murder In Three Acts, Dead Man’s Folly), as well as the feature Appointment With Death in 1988, which marked his final portrayal of the noted detective.

Wardrobe was designed by Anthony Powell, who had won the 1979 Best Costume Design Oscar for Death on the Nile.


Evil Under the Sun

Theatrical release poster


Peter Ustinov as Hercule Poirot
Colin Blakely as Sir Horace Blatt
Jane Birkin as Christine Redfern
Nicholas Clay as Patrick Redfern
Maggie Smith as Daphne Castle
Roddy McDowall as Rex Brewster
Sylvia Miles as Myra Gardener
James Mason as Odell Gardener
Denis Quilley as Kenneth Marshall
Diana Rigg as Arlena Stuart Marshall
Emily Hone as Linda Marshall 

Directed by Guy Hamilton
Produced by John Brabourne, Richard Goodwin
Screenplay by Anthony Shaffer, based on Evil Under the Sun, 1941 novel by Agatha Christie
Music by Cole Porter
Cinematography Christopher Challis
Edited by Richard Marden
Production company
EMI Films
Titan Productions
Mersham Productions Ltd.
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Associated Film Distribution (United States)
Release date: March 5, 1982
Running time 117 minutes
Budget $10 million
Box office $6.1 million