HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
American Fiction
Poor Things
Thunderclap
Zeiram
Legend of the Bat
Party Line
Night Fright
Pacha, Le
Kimi
Assemble Insert
Venus Tear Diamond, The
Promare
Beauty's Evil Roses, The
Free Guy
Huck and Tom's Mississippi Adventure
Rejuvenator, The
Who Fears the Devil?
Guignolo, Le
Batman, The
Land of Many Perfumes
Cat vs. Rat
Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Naked Violence
Joyeuses Pacques
Strangeness, The
How I Became a Superhero
Golden Nun
Incident at Phantom Hill
Winterhawk
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Maigret Sets a Trap
B.N.A.
Hell's Wind Staff, The
Topo Gigio and the Missile War
Battant, Le
Penguin Highway
Cazadore de Demonios
Snatchers
Imperial Swordsman
Foxtrap
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  Seven-Per-Cent Solution, The Elementary Errors, My Dear Watson
Year: 1976
Director: Herbert Ross
Stars: Alan Arkin, Vanessa Redgrave, Robert Duvall, Nicol Williamson, Laurence Olivier, Joel Grey, Samantha Eggar, Jeremy Kemp, Régine, Charles Gray, Georgia Brown, Anna Quayle, Jill Townsend, John Bird, Alison Leggatt, Frederick Jaeger, Erik Chitty, Jack May
Genre: Historical, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: The year is 1891 and the famed detective Sherlock Holmes (Nicol Williamson) is believed dead by the public, but in fact he has suffered a complete breakdown. His concerned and loyal friend Doctor John Watson (Robert Duvall) calls at Holmes' place in Baker Street to be greeted by a worried Mrs Hudson (Alison Leggatt) who tells him that the sleuth is in the grip of a cocaine induced mania, and is even refusing to eat the meals she prepares for him. Watson ventures upstairs and manages to persuade Holmes to let him in whereupon he is subjected to paranoid ravings about his supposed nemesis Professor Moriarty (Laurence Olivier) who Holmes believes is out to get him and has been spying on to work out his next move. But all is not what it seems, and Watson draws the conclusion that his old friend needs help, and badly.

It's a very "Hollywood in the seventies" conceit that what Sherlock Holmes really needed in his life was therapy, but that's what The Seven-Per-Cent Solution proposed, the title referring to the solution of cocaine the detective took rather than an answer to any mystery he might have been investigating. A mystery does arrive, rest assured, but you have to sit through almost an hour of buildup to reach it and even then you may think it wasn't worth the bother. The film was based on a bestselling novel by Nicholas Meyer, who adapted his own work here, and if it was intended as a spoof, it's not a particularly funny one, whereas if it was intended as a serious tribute, it's simply silly.

The inclusion of cocaine in Arthur Conan Doyle's stories has latterly been a cause for a reaction approximating tittering stricture, or an example of a more daring aspect to the fiction than such family friendly fare would be expected to include. Here it's emphasised fully, but only as a symptom of a more deeply rooted psychological issue for Sherlock to grapple with, although by the end he has still not fully come to terms with it. Watson decides, when he finds out that Moriarty is not a criminal mastermind but a meek former tutor of the young Holmes who is baffled at the attention he is receiving, that Holmes must be tricked into visiting Vienna.

And why Vienna? Because that's where famed shrink Sigmund Freud lives, here played by Alan Arkin under a large beard. Moriarty is sent there so the obsessed Holmes will surely follow, and so he does, with the trail ending in Freud's house. Holmes soon realises he has been tricked and is reluctant to stay, but Freud offers him the chance to show off his mental abilities when, in the film's best scene, he shows how he has understood and deduced the nature of Freud's profession, background and character. This part seems more faithful to the character than the giddy runaround that the narrative develops into.

As with all drugs-based films, there has to be a cold turkey sequence, and The Seven-Per-Cent Solution is no exception with Sherlock writhing around in bed hallucinating snakes and Williamson going even further over the top, if that's possible. Once all that's disposed of, the mystery commences as Holmes and Watson accompany Freud to visit a patient with similar addiction, but Holmes realises that the woman, Lola Devereaux (Vanessa Redgrave), has been drugged against her will. What it all ends up with is something sadly inauthentic, with Arkin frustratingly muted and struggling with a thick accent, something which also afflicts Duvall - his version of English tones is kind of strange. The whole affair diminishes the world of Holmes, with recognisable characters wheeled on like guest stars and the great detective's intellect reduced to a selection of quirks and insecurities. It doesn't do much for Freud, either. Music by John Addison.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 6513 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 probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Louise Hackett
Mark Le Surf-hall
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: