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  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer (RSDL 69:13)
  • English: Dolby Digital Stereo
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  • Cast/crew biographies
  • Photo gallery - Colour and Black and White stills
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Evil Under the Sun
Universal/Universal . R4 . COLOR . 117 mins . M . PAL


Based upon Agatha Christie’s mystery novel by the same name, this film runs like a How To Host A Murder party. Christie regular Hercule Poirot (Peter Ustinov) is brought to a small island to try to find out why a famous millionaire is left with a fake diamond. However while on the island, murder strikes. Ex-actor Arlena Marshall (a simply delightful Diana Rigg) is murdered while on a beach, and every single person on the island appears to have a watertight alibi. But one of them is not telling the truth, and it is up to Poirot to find out who the villainous murderer is.


The picture of the feature is simply superb for a transfer from a 1982 film. From the opening scene on the English Moors it looks like a modern film transfer! There appear to be very little film artefacts, and the few that are there are not distracting from the feature. More surprisingly though is the lack of film grain – again superb for a film of its time.

The general colours are a bit dull, with the reds being heavily over saturated, but after a while you get used to it and the reds die down in the second half of the feature. There is a small amount of aliasing that occurs but only in one scene for a brief moment on one of the actor’s stripy costumes.

There seemed to be two points where large numbers of frames were skipped, notably at 37:08 and 53:07 but this is probably more of a fault with the actual film print, rather than hardware or software troubles.

The layer change occurred very briefly at 69:13, and was flawless. With several people watching this disc, only one picked it up. There is no background music and the layer change occurs smack-bang in the middle of the scene change. Simply superb!

There is one soundtrack on this disc, and that is Dolby Digital 2.0. The sound is very clear, with dialogue coming across always cleanly and is always audible. However, as with most old movies, the sound occasionally peaks and distorts, but only in the more intense scenes with people yelling. There are one or two lip sync issues where the dialogue has been re-recorded in a studio. And boy does it sound like it! The studio recordings stand out prominently against the softer dialogue as they are much louder and have a much harder sound.

This disc just keeps dealing out surprises, with the special features no different. Directly from the main menu you are able to view the trailer which is fairly long for a trailer and does a very good job at telling the story of the film.

The biggest surprise is the Featurette about the making of the film which is a real shock, again for a 1982 film. This is in mono, and a very poor mono track with the audio often distorting. The picture of this featurette is fairly poor with loads of grain but bright bold colours. The quality of the featurette is what this reviewer expected for the main feature. This 15-minute featurette is very interesting as it has interviews with the fantastic all-star cast, but be warned that watching the featurette before the film may ruin the ending for you.

Also featured are 7 Black and White photos and 10 Colour photos taken on set. The usual biographies are on this disc too, except they feature a detailed biography of the actors, and also up-to-date filmographies which even include this year’s film Harry Potter. The most interesting of these biographies would be Agatha Christie’s. This features a great deal of information about the famous mystery author and her popular whodunit novels.

The menus are very nicely made – they are static – but some of the best static screens around. There is a nice piece of the orchestral score accompanying the main menu.

This disc features no subtitles for the feature.

Overall the video, audio and extras combine to make a very nice disc, with a superb film running behind it all.

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  •   And I quote...
    "this film runs like a How To Host A Murder party"
    - Martin Friedel
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Nowa DS-8318
    • TV:
          TEAC 68cm CTV
    • Speakers:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Centre Speaker:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Surrounds:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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