Nicholas Meyer’s The Seven-Per-Cent Solution (1976) may be the most cerebral Holmes adventure of all. Here, Williamson’s Holmes is hopelessly addicted to cocaine, so Watson (played by an unrecognizable Robert Duvall, as a brainy medic worthy of being Holmes’ partner) brings Holmes to Vienna for a psychological rehab by none other than Sigmund Freud (Alan Arkin). There’s also a conventional mystery to be solved, involving a beautiful kidnap victim (Vanessa Redgrave), and a run in with evil genius Moriarty (Laurence Olivier), but most of the picture’s appeal comes from the meeting of the minds between Holmes and Freud.
Williamson, who had a notoriously prickly personality, brings that abrasiveness to his Holmes. He makes believable the notion that being able to see connections that no one else can might appear to others as a form of insanity, and that being treated like a Cassandra might prompt one to self-medicate to excess.
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