Harper (1966)

Not Rated  |   |  Action, Crime, Drama  |  23 February 1966 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 5,633 users  
Reviews: 73 user | 20 critic

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



(screenplay), (novel)
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1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »



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


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


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


Not Rated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

23 February 1966 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El blanco móvil  »

Box Office


$3,500,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


According to Wikipedia, "The film pays homage to the Humphrey Bogart private-eye films by bringing Bogart's [former] wife Lauren Bacall into the story. She plays a wounded and woeful wife, the person most concerned with a missing husband, a role similar to the character of General Sternwood in the Bogart-and-Bacall 1946 movie The Big Sleep (1946)". Moreover, the TCMDb states "the producers cast Lauren Bacall, who had starred in one of the classics of the genre, The Big Sleep (1946). In fact, the man who had hired detective Phillip Marlowe in that film, General Sternwood, was confined to a wheelchair, just like Bacall's character in Harper (1966)". See more »


When Newman and Hill are in the black 1965 Lincoln, the interior shots are of a 1963 Lincoln. This is evident by the different contour of the rear seat roof area, and the 1963 Lincoln dashboard (which is 2 pods), a 1965 Lincoln dashboard is one continuous panel. See more »


Miranda Sampson: My stepmother, Lady Macbeth, is always going to extremes.
Lew Harper: Meaning me, Miss Sampson? I'm a very moderate-type fellow.
Miranda Sampson: Not you, especially. *Everything* she does is extreme. Other women fall off horses without getting paralyzed. Not Elaine. I think it's psychological, don't you
Allan Taggert, Sampson's Pilot: You've been reading too many books.
Miranda Sampson: That's something they'll never accuse *you* of. She's not a raving beauty anymore.
Lew Harper: [disinterested] Can I have a sandwich?
Miranda Sampson: Yes. So she retired from competition. Falling off the horse gave ...
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Referenced in ER: Welcome Back Carter! (1995) See more »


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

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User Reviews

Top-notch detective yarn
7 July 2001 | by (Staten Island, NY) – See all my reviews

Paul Newman makes an ideal Lew Harper (Lew Archer in Mcdonald's novels). And, he is in top form. The supporting cast is amazing. This includes Julie Harris, Lauren Bacall, Pamela Tiffin, Strother Martin, Arthur Hill, Robert Webber, Janet Leigh, and Shelley Winters. Leigh , in particular, makes a bit role one of the film's most memorable moments. The mystery has plenty of good plot twists and Smight direction is tight. All in all, a terrific picture.

55 of 86 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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