Wednesday, April 29, 2015

THE SEVEN-PER-CENT SOLUTION (1976) - Herbert Ross

"I can reduce this compulsion for a while.
Do you know anything about the practice of hypnosis?"

Alan Arkin as Dr. Sigmund Freud treating his newest patient, Inspector Sherlock Holmes, for acute cocaine addiction. I'd seen this one many years ago and forgotten how delightful it was. It all came back to me in re-viewing the other night...as if by hypnosis! Of all the Sherlock Holmes iterations, I think this may be my favorite (definitely better than any of those Guy Ritchie flicks). No better way to put the cool, deductive reasoning of this classic detective to test than with a bad case of the withdrawal sweats. Nicol Williamson (Merlin from Excalibur!) is a great big perspiring prig of a Sherlock, a wonderfully WASPy foil/frenemy for the father of psychoanalysis. And it's a joy to see Duvall as Dr. Watson play wildly against type (i.e., subservient, subdued).

As for Arkin, could there be a more more perfectly cast 1970's Freud? Montgomery Clift was fine in the '60s. Viggo Mortensen was a pretty great Sigmund a few years back (A Dangerous Method). I haven't seen the Bud Cort '80s version, but Arkin seems a lock for the Golden Cigar. 

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