Clever but slow out of the gate, 1976's THE SEVEN PERCENT SOLUTION has a hell of a premise that it finally delivers on in its final act.
We meet Sherlock Holmes (an over the top Nicol Williamson), addicted to Cocaine and barricaded in his bedroom. Dr Watson (Robert Duvall) barely recognizes his long time friend and becomes convinced that the only way to save the great sleuth is to trick him into seeing the great Sigmund Freud.
Freud is played in the film's best performance by Alan Arkin (Argo, The In-Laws).
Laurence Olivier is Professor Moriarty, who appears to be an innocent victim of Holmes drugged ramblings.
The film's pace for its first hour is leisurely, with Director Herbert Ross (The Goodbye Girl, The Turning Point) savoring the settings and the set up of his terrific cast.
Nicholas Meyer (Star Trek: Wrath of Khan, Time After Time) adapts his own hit novel for the screen and gives every actor plenty of great dialogue, but he'd REALLY click into gear with his next film, "Time After Time", throwing together HG Welles and Jack the Ripper.
But he honed his craft on this fictional meeting of real and literary characters.
Everything really starts to sing once Holmes is through his rehab and we meet Vanessa Redgrave (Camelot, Julia) as a famous singer who is kidnapped, giving the newly rehabilitated Holmes his first sober case.
Her trail takes us on a great adventure including a high speed locomotive pursuit and plenty of hand to hand combat that feels more like a Victorian OO7 than England's greatest detective of the late 1800's.
Williamson settles into his role as Sherlock once he becomes sober, Duvall is just okay as Watson, struggling with his accent, while Arkin hits every note perfectly as the groundbreaking analyst with a talent for mysteries.
Production Designer Ken Adam (The Spy Who Loved Me, Goldfinger, Dr. Strangelove) provides the perfect sets to capture another time.
It's beautiful to look at, a ton of fun once it finally gets rolling and provides scene after scene of near perfect dialogue for its first rate cast.
Between detection, addiction & deduction, it's quite a ride. As the poster declares, "the story is true, only the facts have been made up".
THE SEVEN PERCENT SOLUTION uncovers a nostalgic B.