They Might Be Giants [1971]

Director: Anthony Harvey (II)
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

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