This incredibly convoluted thriller has Hopkins on an underwater search to stop a mysterious gang of gold bullion pirates. Ordered to investigate the situation by his superior Morley, Hopkins and his assistant Redgrave pose as marine biologists in a Scottish coastal town. The area has been
shaken by a number of unexplained murders believed to have been engineered by the wealthy Hawkins, who lives on a luxurious yacht with "wife" Delon (real-life ex-wife of Alain Delon) and advisor Mayne. Hopkins spends a great deal of his time investigating the ocean floor until he finds a cave
hidden away under a cliffside castle. In the meantime, Redgrave is mysteriously drowned, and his bloated corpse is found tied to an anchor. Delon informs on her "husband" and relays details about the pirating scheme to Hopkins. Further investigation turns up proof that the pirates are transferring
the bullion from a sunken ship to Hawkins' nearby castle. It turns out that Delon is really married to Mayne and that the pair has blackmailed Hawkins into warehousing the bullion. The investigators and the villains battle it out at the cave, and by the finale all the pirates are dead except for
Delon. Hopkins, who has found a soft spot for Delon, lets her escape and even provides her with a gold ingot.
WHEN EIGHT BELLS TOLL (the title refers to midnight, which is when the climax takes place), with all of its mysterious murders and helicopter explosions, has a certain visceral appeal, but on the level of logic it falls apart at the seams. The outcome is cliche-ridden and has all the depth of an
adolescent mystery novel. Hopkins does an admirable job of creating a James Bond-type hero, but the script is too concerned with plot mechanisms to pump much life into his character. An exquisitely photographed piece of escapism and nothing more.
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- Released: 1971
- Rating: GP
- Review: This incredibly convoluted thriller has Hopkins on an underwater search to stop a mysterious gang of gold bullion pirates. Ordered to investigate the situation by his superior Morley, Hopkins and his assistant Redgrave pose as marine biologists in a Scotti… (more)