Review: They Might Be Giants
Blu-ray: They Might Be Giants (1971)
Wealthy and widowed former respected Judge Justin Playfair (George C. Scott) is convinced that he is in fact Sherlock Holmes, dressing like him and convinced that he has to find his arch-enemy Professor Moriarty.
Justins brother Blevins (Lester Rawlins), more out of concern for inheriting the family fortune rather than the mental health of his brother, takes Justin to a psychiatrist in the hope of getting him committed, where upon “Sherlock” meets his real life Dr. Watson (Joanne Woodward).
What ensues is a crazy romp through the streets of New York as Dr. Watson slowly comes around to Justin’s way of thinking…but can they solve the mystery?
They Might Be Giants is both quirky and intriguing, though ultimately disappointing in not being able to follow through with a narrative that at first had me hooked.
George C. Scott is wonderful as Holmes, hamming it up as though playing the part to a packed theatre, he steals every scene that he is in. Whereas Joanne Woodward is shortchanged with the character of Dr. Watson, a co-lead who would have been better written as a strong female character without all the dithering and indecisiveness she all too often displays.
Early 1970’s Times Square is a treat to behold, and I lament the fact that a different story doesn’t exist with Scott as Holmes stalking the streets of New York after Moriarty with a more focused Watson by his side with Woodward being given a better part.
Not just for Shelock Holmes completists, They Might Be Giants has enough going for it to entice most cinephiles, though it does suffer from a mid-point slump where everything seems to fall apart and not deliver on the promise of those early scenes.
Two interesting commentary tracks accompanied by other informative special features give more of an insight into this unconventional entry into the Sherlock Holmes oeuvre.
- High Definition remaster
- Two presentations of the film: the original US theatrical cut (92 mins); and the UK theatrical cut (87 mins)
- Original mono audio
- Audio commentary with director Anthony Harvey and film preservationist Robert A Harris (2000)
- Audio commentary with writers and film experts Barry Forshaw and Kim Newman (2023)
- Madness… It’s Beautiful (1971, 8 mins): archival promotional documentary
- A Study in Sherlock (2023, 27 mins): Kim Newman, critic and author of Moriarty: The Hound of the D’Urbervilles, discusses the many screen adaptations and interpretations of the famous fictional detective
- Original theatrical trailer
- Image gallery: promotional and publicity material
- New and improved English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
- Limited edition exclusive 36-page booklet featuring a new essay by Chloe Walker, an account of Anthony Harvey’s career as actor, editor, and director, an overview of contemporary critical responses, and full film credits
- UK premiere on Blu-ray
- Limited edition of 3,000 copies for the UK
Release date: 27th February 2023.
Review by Dave from a disc kindly supplied by Powerhouse Films.