7.0/10
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53 user 22 critic

They Might Be Giants (1971)

In a Manhattan psychiatric hospital a man, convinced he is Sherlock Holmes, is treated by a female doctor who happens to be named Watson.

Director:

Anthony Harvey

Writers:

James Goldman (screenplay), James Goldman (play)
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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
George C. Scott ... Justin
Joanne Woodward ... Watson
Jack Gilford ... Peabody
Lester Rawlins Lester Rawlins ... Blevins
Al Lewis ... Messenger
Rue McClanahan ... Daisy
Ron Weyand Ron Weyand ... Dr. Strauss
Oliver Clark ... Mr. Small
Theresa Merritt ... Peggy
Jenny Egan Jenny Egan ... Miss Finch
Jane Hoffman Jane Hoffman ... 2nd Telephone Operator
Michael McGuire ... Telephone Guard
Eugene Roche ... Policeman
James Tolkan ... Mr. Brown
Kitty Winn ... Grace
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Storyline

They Might be Giants chronicles the adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson in modern-day New York City. The fact that Sherlock Holmes is a psychotic paranoid and Dr. Watson is a female psychiatrist fascinated by his case is almost beside the point. Dr. Watson follows Holmes across Manhattan and is, against her better judgment, drawn into the master detective's world of intrigue and danger. This is a sweet, goofy and fairly romantic film that asks the questions "Whose reality is right...and does it really matter?" Written by John Gerrath <jagerrat@uoguelph.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

When they reach out for each other... they touch every heart... with warmth, charm and laughter!


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 June 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A detektív és a doktor See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In later years, Joanne Woodward claimed that she had had such an unhappy time making this film that she had actually contemplated giving up her acting career. She would not be drawn further on the topic, beyond saying that her unhappiness had nothing to do with her co-star George C. Scott, whom she described as "a gentleman". See more »

Goofs

When Scott and Woodward are riding in a taxi, from his angle the cab is stopped; from her angle the cab is moving. See more »

Quotes

Justin Playfair: There are no masses in Dodge City, only individuals taking responsibility for their own actions.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: "Jehovah has the Devil, Achilles has his Heel, Mohammed has his Mountain, Don Quixote has his Windmills; and SHERLOCK HOLMES, God bless him, has his MORIARTY"
  • from Watson's Journal
See more »

Alternate Versions

The original theatrical release length of the film was 98 minutes. None of the streaming or DVD versions (save for the US Anchor Bay release) currently available include the full film; the Netflix version runs 91:15 and the Universal DVD on demand runs only 84 minutes. The penultimate scene in the grocery store is missing in these versions. See more »

Connections

References The Return of the Scarlet Pimpernel (1937) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Forgotten Favorite
12 October 2005 | by dawuud2See all my reviews

Being American and inadvertently an avid viewer (consumer) of cinema of all genres and qualities, I have to say that this is one of my all-time, forgotten favorites.

Not being a film student or critic, I fall into that overlooked and easily dismissed category called "the audience" which is humorously described as having no knowledge of art, but knowing with certainty what one likes. As such, I can say, unequivocally, that I like this film.

Most important to me as a viewer, above all other aspects of a film, is the story that is being told. If the story is winning, endearing and meaningful, then all else can be forgiven, production quality, even poor acting. Sans the poor acting, "They Might Be Giants" is just such a film.

I won't bore you with the wealth of meaning and depth of insight that I have gleaned from this wonderful story. Suffice it to say that despite what some have chosen to call its' "saccharine" quality (and what I call its' endearing quality), this story has the metaphysical import that elevates it to the level of a modern-day fable for the Western World.

Because I am unstudied and basically an "illiterate" in terms of Western Literature, the references to Don Quiote were completely invisible to me until now. For this enlightenment, I give thanks to the other reviewers. This comparison rings true throughout the story, and has enriched its' overall meaning for me. However, because I was initially unaware of this now obvious reference, for me the "They" in the title of "They Might Be Giants" referred to the very characters, themselves, all of whom are socially flawed, socially marginalized individuals, all of whom are void of "desirability".

As such, these characters, very aptly portrayed by the cast, although quirky, stand-alone individuals respectively, collectively come to represent the "everyman". The impersonal facelessness and the spirit-killing angst of personal worthlessness in midst of the post-industrial age of "modernity" are the windmills at which our Don Quiote, Justin Playfair, tilts. More importantly, we come to understand that this mask of facelessness may well be hiding individuals of truly gigantic spiritual dimensions and human worth. Our fellow human beings, who we pass, nameless, in the streets, "They Might Be Giants"!


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