Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Seven Percent Solution- a 1970's Sherlock Holmes

Last week I saw once again one of the most interesting Sherlock Holmes movies ever. It's "The Seven Percent Solution" from 1976, written by Nicholas Meyer (based on his best-selling novel) and directed by Herbert Ross. It's an incredibly fun movie about Watson (Robert Duvall) devising a plan to have Holmes (Nicol Williamson) kick his cocaine habit by receiving treatment from Freud (Alan Arkin). Throw in Prof. Moriarty (played by Sir Lawrence Olivier!) and Vanessa Redgrave and you have a terrifically acted gem.

The movie has all the traditional touches of classic Holmes movies, but it adds the interesting element of Holmes addiction to cocaine (93% water, 7% cocaine, hence the title of the movie). In this movie Holmes is brilliant, but flawed and Watson is not the bumbling sidekick of previous movies. It all adds up to a truly original movie that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would have probably loved.

The movie adds the element of action towards the end of the film. But it does so in a charming way, without turning Holmes into an full action figure like the recent movie did. This movie realizes we are not in Victorian England and that modern audiences demand thrills, but it does so in an adult, thoughtful way.

This is a movie really worth seeing. A forgotten gem. See it if you get the chance.

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