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The Seven-Per-Cent Solution(1976)
To treat his friend's cocaine induced delusions, Watson lures Sherlock Holmes to Sigmund Freud.
For more about The Seven-Per-Cent Solution and the The Seven-Per-Cent Solution Blu-ray release, see the The Seven-Per-Cent Solution Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on January 19, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Alan Arkin, Vanessa Redgrave, Robert Duvall, Nicol Williamson, Laurence Olivier, Joel Grey
Director: Herbert Ross
» See full cast & crew
The Seven-Per-Cent Solution Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, January 19, 2013
Nominated for Oscar Awards for Best Costume Design and Best Screenplay, Herbert Ross' "The Seven-Per-Cent Solution" (1976) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Shout Factory. The only supplemental feature on the disc is a video interview with writer Nicholas Meyer. In English, with optional English subtitles for the main feature. Region-Free.
Sherlock Holmes' (Nicol Williamson, Excalibur, Black Widow) cocaine addiction has seriously damaged his body. Concerned about his physical and mental health, his best friend, Dr. Watson (Robert Duvall, Apocalypse Now), and brother, Mycroft Holmes (Charles Grey, Diamonds Are Forever), lure him to Vienna, where he meets Dr. Sigmund Freud (Alan Arkin, Glengarry Glen Ross). After some therapy involving hypnotization, Holmes slowly begins to recover.
Impressed with his deductive skills, Freud asks Holmes to help him solve a mystery involving one of his patients, the beautiful actress Lola Deveraux (Vanessa Redgrave, Blow-Up), who was kidnapped, drugged up and released. Holmes immediately accepts the challenge and tracks down a strange man who leads him to the wealthy Baron Karl von Leinsdorf (Jeremy Kemp, East of Elephant Rock), who once had an affair with the actress. But before Holmes can put together all of the missing pieces in the puzzle, the actress is kidnapped for a second time. Convinced that the Baron has something to do with her disappearance, Holmes, assisted by Watson and Freud, follows him and ends up on a train bound for Istanbul.
The idea behind Herbert Ross' The Seven-Per-Cent Solution is fascinating, but the final result does not impress. It appears that the film was meant to be a giant spoof with enough humor to appeal to the not so serious fans of Arthur Conan Doyle's famous characters, but the strange script, which earned an Oscar nomination in 1977, makes it look remarkably uneven.
The Seven-Per-Cent Solution is divided into two large sections. The first focuses on Holmes' serious addiction problem and a supposedly strange dream that is tormenting him. Here Holmes looks like a maniac capable of killing someone, possibly even someone dear. He keeps mentioning the name of Professor James Moriarty (Laurence Olivier), who may or may not have something to do with his nightmares. The film becomes quite dark - and then suddenly the action moves to Vienna.
The second section focuses on the interactions between Holmes and Freud, both brilliant thinkers who come to admire each other, and later on the disappearance of the beautiful singer. There is a notable shift in the film's atmosphere that makes the first section look quite bizarre and the finale disappointingly simple. Holmes also undergoes a very serious character transformation that brings him closer to the classic Holmes one would have expected to see right from the get-go.
Something else that also has a negative impact on the film's pacing is the Victorian lingo. None of the important characters seem comfortable with it. The accents (especially Freud's) are also utterly unbelievable, though one could possibly argue that they provide the film with an exotic flavor.
Ultimately, The Seven-Per-Cent Solution is indeed a film that has the potential to polarize a lot of people. It has its moments, but more often than not it feels like it misfires in all sorts of different directions. It is not a bad film, just a very, very strange one.
The Seven-Per-Cent Solution was lensed by cinematographer Oswald Morris, who won an Oscar Award for his contribution to Norman Jewison's Fiddler on the Roof). Morris also lensed J. Lee Thompson's The Guns of Navarone and Stanley Kubrick's Lolita.
The Seven-Per-Cent Solution Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Herbert Ross' The Seven-Per-Cent Solution arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Shout Factory.
The high-definition transfer has been struck from an older master. Unsurprisingly, there are some limitations with the presentation. Generally speaking, however, the film has a relatively stable organic look that should satisfy most of its fans. During close-ups detail and clarity are rather good. There are exceptions where light noise and even extremely mild color fluttering occasionally sneak in, but image depth is not seriously compromised. There are no traces of excessive degraning. However, grain isn't always properly resolved and evenly distributed. Some extremely light edge halos is also visible during select scenes. Color reproduction is mostly satisfying, but it is quite clear that there is plenty of room for important improvements, especially as far as color saturation and stability are concerned. Finally, occasionally there are minor flecks and tiny scratches that pop up here and there. All in all, this is a decent presentation of The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, but it is obvious that the film could look substantially better on Blu-ray. (Note: This is a Region-Free Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you will be able to play it on your PS3 or SA regardless of your geographical location).
The Seven-Per-Cent Solution Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There is only one standard audio track on this Blu-ray disc: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0. For the record, Shout Factory have provided optional English subtitles for the main feature.
The lossless track opens up the film quite well in certain areas, such as the chase at the end, where Holmes, Watson, and Freud clash with Baron Karl von Leinsdorf and his men. Elsewhere the gunshots sound very good. Overall, however, dynamic activity is quite modest. The dialog is crisp, stable, and easy to follow. There is no excessive background hiss, audio dropouts, or distortions.
The Seven-Per-Cent Solution Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Seven-Per-Cent Solution Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
I could not like this film. I thought that the idea behind it is fascinating, to say the least, but the final result quite disappointing. I believe that the biggest issue with it is the weak script, but years ago the script was apparently liked by a lot of different people and even recognized with an Oscar nomination. Very strange. If you have already seen The Seven-Per-Cent Solution and like it, you should consider ordering Shout Factory's Blu-ray release. The technical presentation is good.
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