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Harper (1966)

Not Rated | | Action, Crime, Drama | 9 April 1966 (Italy)
Lew Harper, a cool private investigator, is hired by a wealthy California matron to locate her kidnapped husband.

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Writers:

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

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Mrs. Sampson
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Betty Fraley
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Dwight Troy
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Fay Estabrook
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Sheriff
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Claude
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Deputy
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Mrs. Kronberg (as Jacqueline de Wit)
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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:

Paul Newman is 'Harper' and Harper does it better. See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

9 April 1966 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Ein Fall für Harper  »

Box Office

Budget:

$3,500,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

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

In the final scene, when Albert Graves (Arthur Hill) prepares to aim his revolver, there is an unmistakable sound of the revolver being cocked. Then, in a close-up of Graves aiming the revolver, the hammer is in an uncocked position. See more »

Quotes

Lew Harper: [placing a crank call to his wife, imitating English accent into phone] Mrs. Harper? Mrs. Lewis Harper?
Susan Harper: [puzzled and sleepy] Yes...
Lew Harper: Oh thank heavens! You see, we've just picked your name from this enormous drum full of names... Only you had to be there to win... and you are, so you have!
Susan Harper: Win?
Lew Harper: [flustered, thinking] ... Six... one-hour frug lessons, absolutely free. Yes. I'm Austin Schwartz-Marmaduke, of the Schwartz-Marmaduke Institue for Ballroom Education. You must've heard of us, we're just off ...
[...]
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Connections

References Felix the Cat (1958) See more »

Soundtracks

Livin' Alone
Words by Dory Previn
Music by André Previn
Sung by Julie Harris (uncredited)
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User Reviews

 
Paul Newman's Turn As Private Eye Delivers
4 October 2006 | by (Baltimore, MD) – See all my reviews

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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