Blast from the Past: The Seven Percent Solution (1976)



Okay first of all is Sherlock Holmes geek? Well not withstanding the amount of unliscensed cross overs with aliens, Cuthuhlu, vampires and Superheroes there does from the love of ‘Sherlock’ and Downey film before that seem to be a awful lot of overlap between lovers of Holmes and the land of Geek. So on those two points I feel entitled to let you know about this confused little gem of a film.

Right the short version – ‘Celebrity sleuth cokehead in Austrian Cure Mystery’  is how the yellow press would probably cover the plot of this film.

Watson worried about Holmes drgas him to Austria to have the benefit of the ‘talking cure’ by famous Austrian Sigmund Freud. Sigmund being a former fan of the ‘Columbian Marching powder’ himself is well placed to help Holmes in battling the ‘stand up comedian’s friend.’  However with Holmes there is also mystery afoot featuring damsels in distress,  Eastern Princlings, Dastardly anti-Semitic Cavalry Officers and Holmes arch-Nemesis. On route we also see a few high points of Holmes cast namely professor Moriarty and Charles Grey in his first outing as Mycroft Holmes ( a role he came to define in the Jeremy Brett 1980s series.)

As well as Williamson and Grey this is a stellar cast – Vanessa Redgrave, Sir Lawerance Olivier, Alan Arkin (last seen in Sons of Anarchy) as Freud and Robert Duvall as Watson. The film is well shot and while it doesn’t have the execution of say the Downey movie you feel it has soem of the same ambition with a train chase and carriage top fencing scene to round off the movie.

It’s not one for a purest. Holmes is fair haired and even shows an interest in a ladee. Robert Duvall’s accent is…challanging,  his Watson can veer towards the dumbling but that’s compensated by his ruthlesses is getting his friend to the help he needs. Perhaps the best section of the film is the Holmes-Freud first meeting with a classic deduction exposition scene and some nice banter between the two clever clogs For reasons of a twist of significant twistyness it is probably best viewed as an alterative universe Holmes – but a good one at that. Best enjoyed with a malt Whiskey to hand and a few fellow Sherlock afficanicos in the room.

The sound score also features a Brothel Madams song called ‘I never do anything twice’ by Sondhiem which is a nice bit of fin de seicle smut.

Apparantly it’s based on a book which has 2 sequals – which I have yet to enjoy but really, really must get round too. 

One Spod’s time travels to let the current generation know of the classics of yesteryear continues…power up the copyright infringing time machine uncannily attractive assistant.

This is also the second of three films featuring Nicol Williamson – last seen here as ‘a dream to some, A NIGHTMARE TO OTHERS’ in my ‘Blast from the Past’ Excalibur review. We’ll also look at his star turn as Little John in the superb ‘Robin & Marion’ later. So a bit of a mid section in a trilogy.

Ta Ta For Now

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