In what appears to be a period of 24 hours, a pied piper of great character creates a march down Broadway, through Lincoln Center, calling people without using his voice to march with him, to where they do not know. They include his ditsy sister-in-law, a paranoid young man who has escaped from an asylum, a cynical phone company operator, a lovelorn young lady and the boyfriend she's been desperately searching for, a movie theater usher, two recluses who have created a work of botanic art in their hideaway, two off duty cops and a psychiatrist named Dr. Watson (Joanne Woodward). Dr. Watson's patient (George C. Scott) is a recent widower who has been living his life as Sherlock Holmes ever since his wife died, and it is merely a coincidence that Scott and Woodward find each other. Now Scott is on the hunt for Moriarty, and as the narrator explains during the opening credits, we all have our form of Moriarty, whether it be the devil or windmills. Whether or not the presence of Moriarty here is intended to be a metaphor is up to the viewer to decide, but for 90 minutes, the dark and depressing world of Manhattan becomes a magical place thanks to Scott's presence in it. It is a reunion of "The Lion in Winter" playwright James Goldman and its director, Anthony Harvey, although the atmosphere is far from the cynical middle ages world of Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry II.
A beautiful score by John Barry will give you the idea of the blissful flow of this sweet, nearly forgotten movie that stands the test of time and deserves to be a classic. Having seen this as a child, I was magically transported into Scott's world of fantasy. It is obvious that he really isn't Sherlock Holmes; His brother (Lester Rawlins) is being blackmailed and needs to have Scott committed so he can get his hands on his brother's estate. The blackmailers give Rawlins a choice; Get Scott into a sanitarium, or they will take care of Scott on their own so Rawlins can get his hands on his brother's money quicker. Somehow, Scott manages to charm the lonely spinster Woodward into joining him on his quest, and they wander all over Manhattan in search of clues. During that time, you will get glimpses of some of the most popular character actors of the future, including one future Academy Award winner and one major sitcom star.
The opening scene features Al Lewis ("Grandpa Munster") as the delivery man for the blackmailers whom Scott analyzes down to his medical condition. It becomes obvious that sister-in-law Rue McLanahan would rather be married to Scott than Rawlins, engrossed by his view of life, but it ends up being Woodward who ends up his unlikely companion. Scott and Woodward's journeys take them to some instantly recognizable Manhattan sites, including one Christopher Street building which is utilized as the phone company here. It is hysterical to watch Theresa Merritt ("Best Little Whorehouse in Texas". "The Wiz") explain to a young lady standing over her that she can't give her information in person, only over the phone, then directs her to the phone and tells her that the kind of information she requires can't be given over the phone. When Scott looks at her deeply in her typically cynical New York eyes, you see her melt under his kindness, and that affect he has on people is only the beginning.
Their journeys continue, taking her to a retrospective of westerns (where a typical aging New Yorker screams at Woodward for talking, then proclaims her love for Barbara Stanwyck), an encounter with usher F. Murray Abraham (more than a decade before his rise to stardom with "Amadeus"), then hiding down on the West Side Highway, and finally, their entrance into a school where they encounter the two recluses. A scene in the West Village Library (6th Avenue & 10th Street) joins them up with researcher Jack Gilford who confesses his yearning to be "The Scarlet Pimpernel") and as you circle down those staircases with them, you realize that you are in that actual old firehouse which still is open as a library. The performances are all perfect, with Scott and Woodward a delightfully romantic couple who only found each other by default. Woodward is perfectly awkward, giving every little nuance of a lost lady who has really never had the opportunity to be a woman, just a figure of science.
The march of all these characters is a joyful segment where I wanted to pop into the screen myself and join them. I'd love to know where that entrance to the underground they come across is, not that I'd go inside to try to pop up outside the Garden Grocery Store where the empty store is overcome by the melodic description of groceries on sale by the delightfully overly dramatic Ralph Clanton, spoken with such ecstasy as if he could taste all these morsels as he was mentioning each one. For those expecting some sort of real conclusion, look elsewhere. As I said, this is a film of metaphors, not meant to represent a real world outside the cynical characters who are either out to commit Scott, kill him or stand in his way for his fight for justice. All I can say is for me as a viewer, and having not seen this film in over 20 years, is that I felt a lot better about my world after re-visiting this one. This film is filled with giants, including all those minor characters whom together create one of the best ensembles ever on film.
They Might Be Giants
Action / Comedy / Mystery / Romance
They Might Be Giants
Action / Comedy / Mystery / Romance
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Uploaded By: FREEMAN
June 25, 2019 at 11:17 AM