They Might Be Giants (1971) starring George C. Scott, Joanne Woodward, Jack Gilford, Lester Rawlins, Al Lewis, Rue McClanahan directed by Anthony Harvey Movie Review

They Might Be Giants (1971)   4/54/54/54/54/5

George C. Scott in They Might Be Giants (1971)

Elementary Entertainment

Ever since his wife died Judge Justin Playfair (George C. Scott - The Hustler) has withdrawn into another world where he is convinced he is Sherlock Holmes and his nemesis Moriarty is after him. Playfair's brother who is in need of money as he is being blackmailed decides to have his brother committed so that he can get his hands on his brother's money. Doctor Mildred Watson (Joanne Woodward - Philadelphia) who is called upon to assess Playfair becomes fascinated by this classic delusional who exhibits amazing skills of deduction and finds herself drawn into what Playfair thinks is a case and becomes to question whether he is as delusional as he seems.

There are many sorts of movie reviewers, some are trained and have studied the subject whilst there are others who review as movie fans who are looking for entertainment. I put myself in the second category as whilst I have learnt plenty about cinema from watching and reviewing thousands of movies my main concern when I watch a movie is how much it entertains or interests me. As such whilst some reviewers have watched "They Might Be Giants" and picked up on things from its similarity to Don Quixote to its flaws the thing I picked up on was that it is simply a lot of fun.

Joanne Woodward in They Might Be Giants (1971)

That fun starts with some simply brilliant performances beginning with George C. Scott who makes for a wonderful Sherlock Holmes. The matter of fact, curmudgeonly and direct manner he embues his character with delivers one laugh after another. From the way he berates those he sees as foolish to the eccentric ways he deduces things it is simply wonderful. But George C. Scott is matched by Joanne Woodward who brings her own touch of eccentricity to the role of Mildred Watson, quirky and walking that fine line herself of being a little crazy herself. Scott and Woodward work so brilliantly together in this hilarious odd couple set up which from the minute they end up together just charms us.

But there is also the storyline although in truth I should say the series of hilarious scenes which build up the story. The initial meeting between Holmes and Watson when Holmes diagnosis why one of her patients is silent is pure gold. But then so is one shortly after when Holmes deduces that Moriarty has left him a message at the telephone company which leads to one of many wicked asides when a policeman calls Holmes Mr. Rathbone. I could go on because "They Might Be Giants" is jam packed of quirky scenes which continuously make you smile even when you watch it for the second, third or no matter how many times.

In truth the storyline itself ends up becoming less and less important as we are treated to all these funny scenes and the wonderful acting of Scott and Woodward. But Scott and Woodward are not the only entertaining performance and there are a lot of amusing supporting performances be it Jack Gilford as Holmes' friend or Rue McClanahan as Holmes' sister-in-law who loves his new eccentric alter ego.

What this all boils down to is that "They Might Be Giants" may not be the most technically brilliant movie and might have some flaws but it is simply entertaining from start to finish.