The Seven-Per-Cent Solution on Blu-ray and DVD
“The Seven-Per-Cent Solution,” the 1976 Oscar nominated, Nicholas Meyer scripted, Sherlock Holmes tale will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on January 22. The film is not based on any of the original Sherlock Holmes stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (referred to as “the canon” by my late father, a Holmes enthusiast). Despite this, Meyer, who wrote the screenplay based on his novel of the same title, has created a ripping yarn in the best tradition of Conan Doyle, seamlessly weaving together fact and fiction (although my father would never admit that Holmes was a fictional character).
“The Seven-Per-Cent Solution” film boasts a stellar cast, including 2013 Oscar nominee Alan Arkin (for “Argo”). How amazing to see Arkin, still going strong today, 36 years ago playing a very convincing Sigmund Freud. Holmes, played with obsessive, drug addicted, maniacal zeal by Nicol Williamson, has been tricked, by his partner Watson, to travel to Vienna on the trail of Holmes’ arch enemy Moriarty. Once there Watson hopes to have none other than Freud himself help the great detective kick his cocaine addiction. Watson is played by Robert Duvall. Duvall, an actor also still working, has always been able to inhabit characters with a chameleon like finesse and does so brilliantly here. His Watson is loyal to Holmes while, at the same time, defines himself as his own man. As Holmes says to Watson during the film’s exciting climactic sequence, “Don’t ever let them say you were my second.” Williamson plays Holmes with intelligence, fire, toughness and vulnerability. It is a performance which maintains Holmes’ eccentricities while allowing Williamson to put his own stamp on the character. The film’s supporting cast members include Lawrence Olivier, Vanessa Redgrave and Joel Grey.
I remember seeing “The Seven-Per-Cent” solution, at the age of 15, about a year after its initial release, on a double bill with, of all movies, “Smokey and the Bandit” (1977), at a second run theatre, the Kent Cinema, in Yonkers. Yes, Burt Reynolds, Jackie Gleason and 2013 Oscar nominee Sally Field (for “Lincoln”) shared the screen that night with the great detective. Granted, it was an incongruous double feature to be sure, but also a lot of fun.
“The Seven-Per-Cent Solution” is a sumptuous looking period piece that has been given its due with a beautiful high definition transfer. The story is literate and exciting. Perhaps the opening credits put it best when they tell us that, “Only the facts have been made up.”
Posted on January 18, 2013, in Now on DVD and tagged Alan Arkin, Joel Grey, Lawrence Olivier, Nicholas Meyer, Nicol Williamson, Robert Duvall, Sherlock Holmes, Sigmund Freud, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, Vanessa Redgrave. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.