Nicholas Meyer based his screenplay for the "retro" Sherlock Holmes adventure The Seven Percent Solution on his own best-selling novel. As any Baker Street Irregular will tell you, the title refers to the dosage of cocaine taken by Sherlock Holmes (Nicol Williamson). The Great Detective's friend and chronicler Doctor Watson (Robert Duvall), concerned that Holmes' drug dependency is getting out of hand, suggests a cure under the auspices of Viennese psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud (top-billed Alan Arkin). While undergoing treatment, Holmes comes to the realization that his archival Professor Moriarty (Laurence Olivier) is not the Napoleon of Crime, but instead a somewhat pathetic philanderer. Not yet completely cured, Holmes recharges his deductive batteries by undertaking a tricky conspiracy case involving another ex-addict, beautiful actress Lola Devereaux (Vanessa Redgrave). The traditional Holmesian sleuthing and split-second rescues of the film's second half are not as innovative as the Holmes-Freud scenes at the beginning of The Seven Percent Solution, but they provide this largely cerebral effort with a rousing climax. A success with both critics and filmgoers, The Seven Percent Solution opened the floodgates for subsequent TV and movie "reprises" of Conan Doyle's immortal literary figure.
by Hal Erickson synopsis