They Might Be Giants (1971)

They Might Be Giants (1971), directed by Anthony Harvey.

George C. Scott is a looney who thinks he is Sherlock Holmes. As such he actually functions better than anyone else around him. He has doubts: he can't play the violin, has no memory of his earlier life, and is told that he is actually a judge deranged by the death of his wife. I think he understands that Holmes and Prof Moriarity aren't real; the question is how much does that bother him?

But when he meets a new shrink, Dr Mildred Watson (Joanne Woodward), he knows his companion and chronicler has arrived and we're off on a zany search for Moriarity. Coincidentally, a menacing gangster really is after Holmes...

Low budget and haphazard, with on location sound and filmed in the streets of New York City, it has goofy charm and a few laughs and tears. The last 10 minutes have a painfully absurd comic climax in a supermarket, but then a strangely ominous closing.

Many familiar faces: M. Emmet Walsh and F. Murray Abraham (his first screen credit) have small roles.

In a small way it's a message film: a revolt of the loonies and disaffected against the boredom and indifference of mundane life. And an acceptable way of arranging romance between Holmes and Watson.

John Barry score, alternately romantic and daffy.

"Why, because they might be giants" -- Don Quixote.

The DVD is long out of print and Netflix doesn't have it.


Man: I thought you were dead.

Holmes: The Falls at Reichenbach. I came back in the sequel.


Holmes: Listen to the misery. It means we're getting close.