Category Archives: joanne woodward

They Might Be Giants

They Might Be Giants ~ In the wake of other recent successful updates of Sherlock Holmes; “Sherlock” and “Elementary” (don’t forget to check out my review of “Elementary” at Biff Bam Pop! this week) placing him in present day and the cinematic version with Robert Downey Jr. Giving him a steampunk makeover, I thought it might be time to give They Might Be Giants from 1971 a second look.

The film, based on the play of the same name, is set in present day United States. George C. Scott plays Justin Playfair, a judge deluded into believing he’s Sherlock Holmes after the loss of his wife. While Playfair demonstrates an unbelievable mastery and skill set as the Holmes identity, and remaining relatively harmless despite some paranoid delusions about his mythical enemy Moriarty, his brother tries to have him committed to gain his fortune.

Enter Doctor Mildred Watson, played by Joanne Woodward, originally signed on to commit Playfair, but is quickly drawn into his world by virtue of her name and an interest in the case. The two proceed on adventure after adventure as Playfair attempts to piece together ridiculous clues sent by his enemy Moriarty.

While an enjoyable farce with these two Oscar winning masters of the screen having good chemistry, this is so not their best work. I would single them both out for calling this one in. Still better than most performances of most actors, They Might Be Giants is only adequate for Scott and Woodward in my opinion. Not helping this is the fact they’re surrounded by a who’s who of 1970s and 60s sitcom actors who are nowhere in their league. Worth a watch, but don’t hunt it down, you’ve seen this before.

Sybil Redux

Sybil ~ I had trepidations about this 2007 remake of the award-winning 1975 mini-series starring Sally Field and Joanne Woodward. This version, however shorter and leaving bits of the original out, also adds in new information either from the original book or things learned since the mini-series.

Jessica Lange is as always wonderful, again proving why she’s one of our greatest actresses. Tammy Blanchard however, in the role of Sybil Dorsett, is just hideous. She just passes through the film like a parody of the original version. At times she is a bad imitation of Sally Field at her most surreal, and at worst, she is the Gilda Radner version from the old “Saturday Night Live.”

I also have to wonder why CBS chose to air this now. It was finished in 2007, broadcast in Europe last year, but not here until this evening. What gives? One would think this would be a high profile telemovie. I guess not.

The best reason to watch this, and this can be found on Google much easier, are the footnotes at the end regarding what happened to the characters later in life. Watchable, but not recommended.