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The Seven-Per-Cent Solution Reviews

A hit at the box office, this revisionist Sherlock Holmes film is based on the best seller by Nicholas Meyer and places a historical figure (Sigmund Freud) and a fictitious one (Sherlock Holmes) from the late 19th century together in a hypothetical situation. The result is a fascinating film that sees the loyal Dr. Watson (Duvall) scheme to trick his friend Holmes (Williamson) into seeking a cure for his cocaine addiction from the soon-to-be-famous Freud (Arkin). The criminologist and the psychologist come to respect each other's considerable deductive talents, and they team up to rescue one of Arkin's patients (Redgrave) who has been kidnapped. Williamson is a Holmes unlike any other, a man of genius but also a man tormented by things he cannot recall. His obsession with the completely innocent Professor Moriarty (Olivier) is actually a reaction to a long-buried secret in the sleuth's subconscious. Williamson's Holmes actually cries at one point, something Basil Rathbone would never have done. Duvall is a breath of fresh air as well; far from the Nigel Bruce bumbler, he is a capable man and a devoted friend. Production design is nothing short of marvelous, conveying the gentility of the late Victorian era in splendid detail. The music was originally to be composed by Bernard Herrmann, but he died before completing it and was replaced by John Addison. Stephen Sondheim, a mystery buff, contributed a witty saloon song.