Thursday, November 4, 2010

1971 - WHEN EIGHT BELLS TOLL, substandard Alistair Maclean thriller

The same producers  and the writer Alistair MacLean of Where Eagles Dare,  go to the well again for this not so hot spy thriller.  MacLean doesn't seem up to it this time.  His story is pretty weak and he seems to have issues mixing the action sequences with the thriller plot.

The film just has a lot of problems.  The director is someone called Etienne Perier whoever that that is.  Perier seems to have no idea what he's doing.   The action scenes are pretty sloppy and poorly edited.  The decision to cast Anthony Hopkins as a James Bond type of secret agent probably wasn't such a hot idea.  Hopkins can do the ruthless stuff, but he's really stiff playing the love scenes and handling the dialog quips that these spy guys always had. 

Probably about the only thing they got right making this film was casting Robert Morley as Hopkin's spy chief, the "M" role.  Morley never meet a scene he couldn't ham it up and steal and he pretty much provides the entertainment value in the film, whining about the food or the weather.

The only other thing the film has going for it is the on location filming in Scotland which looks pretty cool. 

When Eight Bells Toll has a lot of action, and I guess you can watch it while doing something else, an OK
time killer.

94 time killing minutes.

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