They Might Be Giants is a 1971 American comedy mystery film based on the play of the same name (both written by James Goldman) starring George C. Scott and Joanne Woodward. Sometimes mistakenly described as a Broadway play, it never in fact opened in the United States. It was directed in London by Joan Littlewood in 1961, but Goldman believed he “never got the play right” and forbade further productions or publication of the script. To coincide with the film’s release, however, he did authorize an illustrated paperback tie-in edition of the screenplay, published by Lancer Books.
Justin Playfair (Scott) is a millionaire who retreats into fantasy after his wife’s death, imagining himself to be Sherlock Holmes, the legendary fictional detective. Complete with deerstalker hat, pipe and violin, he spends his days in a homemade criminal laboratory, constantly paranoid about plots hatched by his (Holmes’s) archenemy, Professor Moriarty.
When his brother (Lester Rawlins) tries to place Justin under observation in a mental institution so he can get power of attorney, Justin attracts the attention of Dr. Mildred Watson (Woodward), a psychiatrist who becomes fascinated by his case. Justin demonstrates a knack for what Holmes describes as “deduction” (technically better categorized as abductive reasoning) and walks out of the institution during the ensuing confusion. Watson comes to his home to attempt treatment. Playfair is initially dismissive of Watson’s attempts to psychoanalyze him, but when he hears her name, he enthusiastically incorporates her into his life as Doctor Watson to his Holmes.
The duo then begin an enigmatic quest for Moriarty, with Playfair/Holmes following all manner of bizarre and (to Watson) unintelligible clues, and the two growing closer to each other in the process.
|Directed by||Anthony Harvey|
|Produced by||John Foreman|
|Written by||James Goldman|
|Starring||George C. Scott
|Music by||John Barry|
|Cinematography||Victor J. Kemper|
|Edited by||Gerald B. Greenberg|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|