Stars: George C. Scott, Joanne Woodward, Jack Gilford, Lester Rawlins, Al Lewis (III)
Genre: Mystery, Comedy, Romance
Rating: G (General Audience)
Runtime: 98 minutes
Former judge Justin Playfair (George C. Scott) lost his wife a few years back, and ever since he's thought he's Sherlock Holmes, determined to find his archnemesis Professor Moriarty, in this thoroughly charming tale of madness and romanticism. Playfair (er, Sherlock) is about to be committed by his brother, who wants his money, when by serendipity he's teamed up with psychiatrist Dr. Mildred Watson, no less (Joanne Woodward). She finds him fascinating, being a bit daffy herself, and together they get involved in various intrigues, mostly aimed at evading the medical authorities, but which allow the two to fall in love. Though the farcical tone of the film keeps it a lighthearted comedy, the heavy-handed slaps at authority, who are set up for such abuse, seem programmed to succeed. To what degree is lunacy, charming though it may be at times, an appropriate reaction to complex times? "To the utmost degree!" says this film, though the viewer may enjoy it and still disagree. During a comic battle in a supermarket (reminiscent of a silent comedy pie fight), one patient chases her keeper with an oversized hypodermic to the rallying cry of "I hope the loonies win!" That expresses the sympathies of the film nicely. --Jim Gay
Dear friends, would those of you who know what this is all about please raise your hands? I think if God is dead he laughed himself to death. Because, you see, we live in Eden. Genesis has got it all wrong. We never left the Garden. Look about you. This is paradise. It's hard to find, I, I'll grant you, but it is here. Under our feet, beneath the surface, all around us is everything we want. The earth is shining under the soot. We are all fools. Ha ha. Moriarty has made fools of all of us. But together, you and I, tonight... we'll bring him down.
Dr. Mildred Watson:
You're just like Don Quixote. You think that everything is always something else.
Well, he had a point. 'Course he carried it a bit too far. He thought that every windmill was a giant. That's insane. But, thinking that they might be, well... All the best minds used to think the world was flat. But what if it isn't? It might be round. And bread mold might be medicine. If we never looked at things and thought of what might be, why we'd all still be out there in the tall grass with the apes.