HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Rambo: Last Blood
Sansho the Bailiff
Iron Fury
Ride in the Whirlwind
Deathstalker II
Cloak and Dagger
Honeyland
Love Ban, The
Western Stars
League of Gentlemen, The
Higher Power
Shinsengumi
IT Chapter Two
Rich Kids
Arena
Glory Guys, The
Serial Killer's Guide to Life, A
Lovers and Other Strangers
Shiny Shrimps, The
Good Woman is Hard to Find, A
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
Doctor at Sea
Spear
Death Cheaters
Wild Rose
Streetwalkin'
Mystify: Michael Hutchence
Devil's Playground, The
Cleanin' Up the Town: Remembering Ghostbusters
Hustlers
Mega Time Squad
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Souvenir, The
Birds of Passage
Ma
Woman at War
Happy as Lazzaro
Mickey's Christmas Carol
Marriage Story
Santa Claus is a Bastard
   
 
Newest Articles
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
   
 
  They Might Be Giants Elementary, My Dear, Dear WatsonBuy this film here.
Year: 1971
Director: Anthony Harvey
Stars: George C. Scott, Joanne Woodward, Jack Gilford, Lester Rawlins, Al Lewis, Rue McClanahan, Ron Weyand, Oliver Clark, Theresa Merritt, Jenny Egan, Eugene Roche, James Tolkan, Kitty Winn, F. Murray Abraham, Paul Benedict, M. Emmet Walsh, Louis Zorich
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Thriller, Romance
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Justin Playfair (George C. Scott) used to be involved in law, but since a crisis in his life he has rejected all that to become a detective, and not any old detective as he believes in his heart that he is Sherlock Holmes. Seeing as how he lives in nineteen-seventies New York City and not Victorian London, you could see the evidence against that decision was overwhelming, but he will not be persuaded and his brother (Lester Rawlins) is determined to have him committed to a mental institution. He wants this for two reasons: to get Justin out of his way, and to take his share of the inheritance with which he will pay off a huge debt he owes, and is being threatened about. But once he persuades him to attend a session at the institution, it doesn't turn out as expected...

An almost unclassifiable film - was it a comedy? A drama? Romance? Thriller? Fantasy? What? - this was the second collaboration between playwright James Goldman and director Anthony Harvey after their worldwide hit A Lion in Winter which had won through with Oscar glory three years before. For They Might Be Giants, on the other hand (and yes, this was where the quirk-rock band got their name from), the welcome was far from warm as you might have thought with one cinematic success under their belt Harvey and Goldman would have been given carte blanche and a lot of help to both make the movie as they saw fit and reach the intended audience, yet once the studio saw it they apparently wondered what the hell they had on their hands.

With the consequence that the film was cut down rather severely and barely given the wide release which might have saved its reputation, or lent it a reputation in the first place. Scott and Joanne Woodward, no stranger to acclaim, were most disappointed that what they considered fine work on their part was effectively ruined by studio interference and the public simply not getting whatever they were aiming for, yet of such material are cult movies made, and while this was never going to be a Rocky Horror Picture Show or A Clockwork Orange, to name two major examples of this decade's cultdom, there is a small but devoted coterie of fans for whom the peculiar love story at the emotional centre of this struck a chord. It may have come across as too precious to many, but there was a definite appeal to the eccentric here.

For a start, the notion of Sherlock Holmes in the modern day as too brilliant to be accepted was oddly engaging, that he would not be embraced by the establishment and would be more of a counterculture figure very much of the immediately post-hippy times. Where the script builds on that is to have Justin much like Elwood in Harvey, only instead of a giant rabbit he has his own Doctor Watson, except in this case it's his psychiatrist Dr Mildred Watson (Woodward, encouraged in the role by her husband Paul Newman, here producing) and she is an avowed sceptic. It's purely coincidence that she should share the surname of the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle character, sidekick to Sherlock Holmes, but after a while you begin to wonder if there is not some hard to grasp method in this madness, the Cosmic Joker weaving his mischief.

Playfair is convinced he is hounded by Holmes' nemesis Professor Moriarty, and that too has truth to it in that certainly someone wishes him harm, but may well be whoever wants to get that debt away from his brother, after all, dead or locked up they will get their money either way. Initially Watson humours her new patient by accompanying him around the city streets as he searches for clues, encountering hostility from some though others are please to see Justin, recognising him as the fictional character he thinks himself to be, including elderly librarian Wilbur (Jack Gilford) who wishes he had the courage of those convictions so he could adopt the guise of The Scarlet Pimpernel. But Watson is in a privileged position, she genuinely can become the right hand man (OK, woman) of the world's greatest detective and as the story draws on she is won over into Playfair's world. The message here would be that every Holmes needs their Watson, everyone needs companionship to confirm their view of life and keep loneliness at bay; the ambiguous finale speaks to that. Music by John Barry.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1667 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: