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Harper (1966)

 -  Action | Crime | Drama  -  23 February 1966 (USA)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 4,718 users  
Reviews: 69 user | 18 critic

Lew Harper, a cool private investigator, is hired by a wealthy California matron to locate her kidnapped husband.

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(screenplay), (novel)
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Title: Harper (1966)

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2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Mrs. Sampson
...
Betty Fraley
Arthur Hill ...
...
Pamela Tiffin ...
...
...
Dwight Troy
...
Fay Estabrook
...
Sheriff
...
...
Claude
Martin West ...
Deputy
Jacqueline deWit ...
Mrs. Kronberg (as Jacqueline de Wit)
Eugene Iglesias ...
Felix
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Storyline

Lew Harper is a Los Angeles based private investigator whose marriage to Susan Harper, who he still loves, is ending in imminent divorce since she can't stand being second fiddle to his work, which is always taking him away at the most inopportune of times. His latest client is tough talking and physically disabled Elaine Sampson, who wants him to find her wealthy husband, Ralph Sampson, missing now for twenty-four hours, ever since he disappeared at Van Nuys Airport after having just arrived from Vegas. No one seems to like Ralph, Elaine included. She believes he is cavorting with some woman, which to her would be more a fact than a problem. Harper got the case on the recommendation of the Sampsons' lawyer and Harper's personal friend, milquetoast Albert Graves, who is unrequitedly in love with Sampson's seductive daughter, Miranda Sampson. Miranda, who Harper later states throws herself at anything "pretty in pants", also has a decidedly cold relationship with her stepmother, Elaine... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

This is a different kind of cat named Harper... and excitement clings to him like a dame! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

23 February 1966 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Caçador de Aventuras  »

Box Office

Budget:

$3,500,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Paul Newman:  [H]  The character Lew Harper is based on novelist Ross Macdonald's character Lew Archer. The name was changed for the film supposedly because Paul Newman had recently enjoyed success with Hud (1963) and The Hustler (1961) (two of his successful films beginning with the letter "H", a later one after Harper (1966) was 1967's Hombre (1967)) and the producers wanted the movie's title to begin with "H". Also, the Macdonald estate did not want the name "Archer" used in the movie. There may have been fear of legal complications because Macdonald got the name "Archer" in the first place from Miles Archer, Sam Spade's partner who is killed early on in Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon (1941). See more »

Goofs

Poorly meshed backgrounds whenever we see a front view of the characters driving their cars. See more »

Quotes

Allan Taggert, Sampson's Pilot: Hey, this detective work is really fun!
See more »

Connections

Followed by The Drowning Pool (1975) See more »

Soundtracks

Livin' Alone
Words by Dory Previn
Music by André Previn (as Andre Previn)
Sung by Julie Harris (uncredited)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
cool once and for all
2 June 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I first saw this film when it came out, at age 12, and chewed my gum like Paul Newman for the next 20 years.

What's remarkable about that is, I "got" the film at that time, recognized its depth (as well as its superficialities), loved it; and having seen the film several times over many years, the basic experience hasn't changed.

This is probably the most accessible "hardboiled" detective film ever made, yet it never panders - it depicts a rough world straight on, and doesn't particularly like - or condemn - any of its characters. Is it the classic that "The Big Sleep" is? No, because its world is smaller than that of Chandler/Faulkner/Hawks, even though it glitters more; and Smight is a solidly competent director but not an 'auteur' - which works in the film's favor: Smight just gets on with the job and tells his story, he doesn't stop for extra flourishes.

But, although all the acting in the film is top-quality, it is Newman's performance that carries the film over the top: witty, cynical, detached, yet with glimpses of passion and commitment, Newman uses Harper to define pre-hippie cool once and for all.

Historical note: although this is not "The-Maltese-Falcon" classic noir film, the detective film was believed to be a genre of the past (at best fodder for bad TV) when this came out. "Harper" kept alive what many thought a dead tradition. The reviewer who wrote that this film made the Elliot Gould "Long Goodbye" possible is right on the money; and when nine years later Jack Nicholson starred in Polanski's tribute to the genre - "Chinatown" - it was Newman's performance here that he is referencing, not Bogart. That makes this an important film, and one should give a second look to a film that influenced so many others.


12 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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