Tony Mastroianni Review Collection
"When Eight Bells Toll" -- It will ring your chimes
Cleveland Press May 29, 1971
As adventure yarns go this one goes very well. Alistair MacLean is a novelist with pretty much his own corner on this sort of thing. In adapting his novel he has simplified some of the plot complications without throwing away any of the adventure.
The picture moves along at a nice steady clip, now and then breaking into a gallop. It is an adventure movie geared for entertainment, polished off in a nice professional way. And though it may bring the James Bond stuff to mind it is never so self-conscious and gimmicky as the Bond yarns have become.
ITS HERO Anthony Hopkins is a better actor than most, agile enough for the action stuff yet able to handle a quip or an ordinary bit of dialog as though it were really coming out of his mouth.
The yarn has Hopkins as a naval secret service agent assigned to find out how ships loaded with tons of gold bullion have been disappearing.
The action takes place off the rugged coast of Scotland.Maybe it's because Scotland hasn't been overused as a movie locale or maybe because it compliments the tale so well but the area is a definite asset to the movie.
There is mayhem right from the start and a lot more as the story goes along, with the hero nearly done in more than once.
ROBERT MORLEY, who has turned pompousness into the stuff of high comedy, is along as his superior (in more ways than one) officer.
It offers rather good comedy relief to have Morely ascribing Hopkins' trouble prone ways to the fact that the lad didn't go to the proper school, or dismissing any note of suspicion attached to a titled man because not only is he a member of his club, he is on the wine committee as well.
Most of what happens and what is said wouldn't sound like much on paper, but on film it works. The entire British company is up to whatever is needed to make such a movie.