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Harper (1966)

Approved  |   |  Action, Crime, Drama  |  23 February 1966 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 5,561 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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2 wins & 2 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




Approved | 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
See  »

Did You Know?


The bird that the "priest" Claude (Strother Martin) holds on his arm at the mountaintop religious retreat is a Harris's Hawk. The bird is native to the southwest United States and parts of South America. The Harris Hawk is a very popular bird for use in falconry, the practice of hunting by training birds of prey. See more »


The front license plate on Harper's Porsche changes locations from above the bumper to below in the middle of the opening scene. See more »


Miranda Sampson: Don't you ever feel the need to relax? Let's relax some, Harper.
Lew Harper: For what? So the beauty in the next room is gonna get all hot and bothered? Lady, if you can't get him hot and bothered by yourself, I sure ain't gonna do it for you.
Miranda Sampson: Don't you think I'm attractive?
Lew Harper: You're young, rich, and beautiful, and my wife is divorcing me. What do you think I think?
See more »


Followed by The Drowning Pool (1975) 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

Great fun...
6 September 2005 | by (Boston, MA) – See all my reviews

Until CHINATOWN, HARPER was probably the most mature private eye movie Hollywood ever produced. Paul Newman is dynamite as the scrappy, somewhat goofy title character, hired by wealthy Lauren Bacall to find her missing husband. Newman gets more than he bargained for as he runs into one flaky character after another: Shelley Winters as a bloated former child star, Julie Harris as a junkie, Pamela Tiffen as Bacall's extremely bitchy stepdaughter, Robert Wagner as a private-eye wannabe, and, best of all, Strother Martin as nasty, new-age guru. Not much of what happens really ties together, but it's all very fun to watch. The performers are all terrific and the pseudo jazz score is another plus. Featuring Arthur Hill, Robert Webber and Janet Leigh, underutilized as Newman's frustrated ex-wife.

29 of 40 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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