When 5 allied generals are captured in Italy in WW II, it is a propaganda nightmare for the Allies. The generals are all 1 star and refuse to take orders from each other in order to plan an... See full summary »
Honest and hard-working Texas rancher Homer Bannon has a conflict with his unscrupulous, selfish, arrogant and egotistical son Hud, who sank into alcoholism after accidentally killing his brother in a car crash.
Frank Capua is a rising star on the race circuit who dreams of winning the big one--the Indianapolis 500. But to get there he runs the risk of losing his wife Elora to his rival, Luther ... See full summary »
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
According to Dennis Brown in Shoptalk (1992), writer William Goldman later adapted for film another Ross Macdonald novel called "The Chill" but the screenplay has never been filmed and remains unproduced. See more »
When Harper is first talking to Mrs. Sampson, a paralytic, she obviously moves her legs under the towel that is over her. See more »
Sexy, schmaltzy & slick; all good words to describe this 1966 Paul Newman vehicle. Newman cast in the title role of HARPER is a 40ish 'Private Eye' living out of his small agency office pending divorce from his 'had it up to here' wife Susan played by Janet Leigh.
The movie starts out on an early California morning with LEW HARPER going to visit the extremely wealthy convalescent Elaine Sampson (Lauren Bacall) at her palatial mansion. Mrs. Sampson's husband has been missing for a day and one her husband's attorneys Albert Graves (Arthur Hill) has suggested that she hire his longtime friend HARPER to find the missing millionaire.
"Drink, Mr. Harper ?", offers Mrs.Sampson. "Not before lunch," the declining HARPER says as he spits out his gum. "(But) I thought you were a detective," inquires Mrs. Sampson. "New type," counters HARPER.
Mrs. Sampson's concern about her husband's alleged disappearance has little to do with his well being and more to do with his affability while drunk. Apparently Mr. Sampson has a history of going on drunken binges with "happy starlets" and giving away things. Also present at the house are Mrs. Sampson's ever snooping manservant Felix (Eugene Iglesias), step daughter Miranda (Pamela Tiffin), and Mr. Sampson's private pilot Alan Taggert (Robert Wagner) who was the last person to see Mr. Sampson.
HARPER goes on a whirlwind through southern California running into a variety of interesting supporting characters from fat boozy former starlet Faye Estabrook (Shelly Winters) who had been doing Mr. Sampson's astrology charts for the past several years, Faye's sadistic criminal husband Dwight Troy (Robert Webber), cabaret singer Betty Fraley (Julie Harris), and Claude (Strother Martin), a man to whom Mr. Sampson gave away a whole mountain that he has turned into a 'religious sanctuary'.
Throughout, HARPER is a 'smart Aleck', who runs circles around the inept police personnel, and is one step ahead of the rest of us.
Bright crisp colorful photography, to the point action as directed by Jack Smight, a terrific supporting cast (particularly Winters who didn't mind going out on a limb), & an easy background score. This film is fast paced, and thoroughly enjoyable. HARPER is Paul Newman's baby all the way.
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