EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|SEVEN-PER-CENT SOLUTION, THE (director: Herbert Ross; screenwriter: Nicholas Meyer/based on the novel by Nicholas Meyer/based on the characters created by Arthur Conan Doyle; cinematographer: Oswald Morris; editor: Chris Barnes; music: John Addison; cast: Alan Arkin (Sigmund Freud), Vanessa Redgrave (Lola Deveraux), Robert Duvall (Dr. Watson), Nicol Williamson (Sherlock Holmes), Laurence Olivier (Prof. Moriarty), Joel Grey (Lowenstein), Samantha Eggar (Mary Watson), Jeremy Kemp (Baron von Leinsdorf), Charles Gray (Mycroft Holmes), Georgia Brown (Mrs. Freud), Alisson Leggatt (Mrs. Hudson, Landlady); Runtime: 113; MPAA Rating: PG; producer: Herbert Ross; Image Entertainment; 1976)|
best seen as a colorful period costume drama that is over 90 % flawed."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
What a mess! It besmirches the Sherlock Holmes name with
such a pitiful story (playing fast and loose with the legendary Holmes
persona) that tries to lampoon its hero with such a weak satire and the
hammy acting by a star-studded cast leaves one more bored in a bemused
way than pissed at such crude antics. The title refers
to the dosage of cocaine taken by the addicted sleuth--7 % cocaine and
9 % water. It's based on the bestselling novel by Nicholas Meyer, who
turned in the far-fetched screenplay. Herbert Ross
("California Suite"/"The Owl and The
Pussycat"/"Steel Magnolias") directs
as a dreamy spoof, which has more misses than hit moments. It's best
seen as a colorful period costume drama that is over 90 % flawed.
The film dulls out, never
finding its footing, after Dr.
Watson (Robert Duvall), in 1891, lures Holmes to Vienna to be treated
for his cocaine
addiction by Sigmund Freud (Alan Arkin). Holmes also ends up being
treated to get over that the meek Professor Moriarity (Laurence Olivier), his childhood tutor and
current math professor at a leading London college, is his evil genius
nemesis. Holmes has not been seen in public for the last three years,
hunkered down in his Baker Street place--the public believes him dead.
On his first meeting with the
famous Vienna-based shrink, Holmes impresses Freud with his brilliant
power of deduction as he claims to know Freud is Jewish by the menorah
on his desk. The good doctor puts his
patient under hypnosis to cure his habit, has him go cold turkey and
uncovers a childhood trauma that led to his addiction and false beliefs
about Moriarity. The sleuth then teams up with Freud to save his
patient, the famous actress Lola Deveraux (Vanessa
Redgrave), who has been kidnapped, drugged against her will and turns
up in a hospital. This results in a silly chase through Europe for the
culprits (Joel Grey & Jeremy Kemp), that's awkwardly orchestrated by Ross.
The film found favor with the
public and critics, and opened the door for more spoofs and wild
take-offs on the traditional Holmes stories--something I never cared
for, though I wouldn't say I'm a purist. This film was never funny as a
spoof and its intentions as a serious tribute never seemed genuine
because it was too silly to take anything in this pic seriously. It
also never did much for the reps of Holmes or Freud, except reduce them
to cartoon characters.
REVIEWED ON 3/8/2011 GRADE: C-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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