Monday, 3 June 2013

When Eight Bells Toll (3½ Stars)

Amazing! I never knew Anthony Hopkins had ever been young! And he even had hair!

Seriously though, this is the first film I've seen from the beginning of his career. It was filmed in 1971, 20 years before "Silence of the Lambs". It's based on the novel with the same name by Alistair Maclean. A series of ships carrying gold bullion have disappeared off the coast of Scotland. Special agent Phillip Calvert (Anthony Hopkins) is sent to investigate.

It's difficult to describe why I don't like the film very much. Maybe it's because it's dated. It might have been made in 1971, but the musical background sounds like the score from a 1960's television series. It sounds so much like "The Avengers" that I kept expecting Patrick Macnee and Diana Rigg to jump out from behind a rock. What I enjoyed about it most was the beautiful Scottish scenery.

Incidentally, after watching the film I was confused about its title, since there had been no mention of bells throughout the film, not even bells chiming in the background. I googled to see if something had been left out that had been referred to in the book, and found an answer. "Eight bells" is a reference to nautical time and signifies midnight, which is the time when the final showdown took place.

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