The case of the preferred Poirot is an easy one to solve. I suspect that most Agatha Christie purists favor David Suchet over Peter Ustinov as the Belgian (not French!) detective. Personally, I adore them equally. Ustinov may place a little more emphasis on Hercule Poirot's humorous traits, but he can deliver an accusation just as crisp as Suchet.
Peter Ustinov first appeared as the famed detective in Death on the Nile (1978), an all-star follow-up to 1974's Murder on the Orient Express (which starred Albert Finney). Ustinov played Poirot five more times in two theatrical films and three movies made for American television. In contrast, David Suchet, who made his debut in the role in 1989, has starred in dozens of one-hour TV episodes and 90-minute movies for both the British network ITV and A&E. Interestingly, prior to playing Poirot, Suchet appeared opposite Ustinov's Poirot as the detective's Scotland Yard colleague Inspector Japp in 1985's Thirteen for Dinner.
|The hotel in the 1982 film.|
|Diana Rigg as Arlena.|
|Poirot observes the crime scene.|
|Louise Delamere as Arlena.|
|The Sandy Ridge Hotel in the 2001 film.|
As for the mystery, it's clever enough--though Christie often seems to delight in straying from detective fiction conventions (if you've never read S.S. Van Dine's short essay "Twenty Rules for Writing Detective Stories," I strongly encourage it...Agatha breaks a couple of key "rules"!).
In the end, one's preference for Suchet or Ustinov may tip the scales toward one version or the other of Evil Under the Sun. For me--assuming parity among the Poirots--I'll stick with the 1982 adaptation.