When Eight Bells Toll (1971) Wondered If Anthony Hopkins Could Play James Bond?

When Eight Bells Toll (1971) - movie poster one sheet action packed bond style

Randomly watched another Alistair Maclean novel getting the movie business after watching The Satan Bug the day before. Not realising until doing this post they were penned by the same author. When Eight Bells Toll had high hopes, with the studio and producers excitedly thinking they had a new secret agent franchises on their hands. The chance of a new James Bond style character to entertain those hungry for more stories of espionage and British secret agents taking on the megalomaniacs. Unfortunately it didn’t go to plan, though we do get one very well written , exciting thriller to watch and I have to say it’s most excellent fun.

When Eight Bells Toll (1971) - Philip Calvert Anthony Hopkins deep seas diving underwater scubaWhen Eight Bells Toll (1971) - Sir Arthur Artford Jones  (Robert Morley) uncle

Anthony Hopkins steps up to play British secret agent, Philip Calvert, a tough, gritty man who doesn’t do orders at all well. That aside, Calvert being from the Royal Navy is a skilled underwater specialist and with that temperament of his, he’s perfect for the job. For Calvert is tasked with a mission from his pompous superior, Sir Arthur Artford Jones  (Robert Morley), to drop in undercover at a sleepy Scottish bay. To investigate the disappearing ships in the quay, now with it’s 5th loss and crucially, this time the cargo had 8 million in gold bullion onboard.  And it so happens to have completely disappeared into depths of the ocean with it’s treasure lost at sea.

Sir Arthur Artford Jones – “I see here that like all men employed in highly specialised branches you have a rather questionable attitude to authority! It says here, unsuitable for routine investigation, operates best under conditions of extreme pressure, in this level he’s unique….. Do you suppose that true?”

When Eight Bells Toll (1971) - Philip Calvert Anthony Hopkins partners agents Roy Hunslett Corin RedgraveWhen Eight Bells Toll (1971) - Philip Calvert Anthony Hopkins Corin Redgrave Anthony Skouras Jack HawkinsWhen Eight Bells Toll (1971) - Anthony Skouras Jack Hawkins wife Charlotte (Nathalie Delon)

Partnered up with Roy Hunslett (Corin Redgrave) the two undercover field agents pose as marine biologists giving Calvert the opportunity to search the area for clues and check out the number one suspect, the flamboyant shipping tycoon Sir Anthony Skouras (Jack Hawkins). He so happens to be hanging around anchored just off the coast in his luxury yacht. With his newly married, beautiful wife Charlotte (Nathalie Delon) on his arm and a few dodgy looking men hanging around, the suspicious Skouras needs to be investigated.

Roy Hunslett – “I have to stay in thinking of broad-concepts while you go out and implement as it were”
Philip Calvert – “You mean I get half strangled and kicked to death as you sit here making bloody… cocoa”
Roy Hunslett – “It’s what I do well”
Philip Calvert “Lets have some whiskey”

When Eight Bells Toll (1971) - sexy Charlotte (Nathalie Delon) Philip Calvert Anthony HopkinsWhen Eight Bells Toll (1971) - Philip Calvert Anthony Hopkins deep seas diving underwater scuba 2

It’s not all out at sea as they find out when welcomed to a frosty reception from the local villagers. Something just doesn’t right. So hopefully Calvert can solve this mystery and bring to justice the people responsible for the ships being sunk?

A very observations.

  • A new edition to the team brings with it a delightful series of great scenes filled with plenty of humour.
  • It’s a nice novelty to see how Anthony Hopkins might of fared as 007, I reckon he would of fitted in well.
  • I believe Calvert is meant to be from the North of England though that strong and unique Welsh accent can’t help but burst out.

When Eight Bells Toll (1971) - sexy Charlotte (Nathalie Delon) legs

When Eight Bells Toll (1971) - james bond style secret agent action movie

Of course this isn’t up there with the Bond movies but it’s cracking little movie and if it pops up on your travels, maybe give it a wee go. If you do see it or have seen it and you fancy letting me know what you thought of it, them please by all means say hello in the comments.

Thanks for popping by the wolf lair for a another slice of movie food. Mikey The Wolf.

When Eight Bells Toll (1971) - movie poster one sheet action packed james bond 007 style

11 thoughts on “When Eight Bells Toll (1971) Wondered If Anthony Hopkins Could Play James Bond?

  1. I liked this one. Fun adventure and a Bond like ending at a time when spies were the rage. Sadly Jack Hawkins was no longer using his own voice by this time. Usually dubbed by Charles Gray I believe. Morley a delight as usual. Nice pick. Maclean had plenty of movies adapted from his books.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My first thought when I started reading this was, this kinda sounds like ‘ffolkes’! And of course, the Bond films, with a little Dirty Harry thrown in. Too bad it didn’t take off…and I just love the poster artwork of so many of these MacLean-based movies. If my library has it, I’ll give it a look!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It certainly fits in well for a good bit of double billed Scottish themed underwater espionage. The poster is ace isn’t it 🙂 Would of been great to see another adventure with Calvert or ffolkes but sadly no. It’s a well worth a gander if it does cross your path some day. Nathalie Delon is worth the admission alone 🙂


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