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 another woman. 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, whom Harper later states throws herself at anything "pretty in pants", also has a decidedly cold relationship with her stepmother, Elaine. As Harper begins his investigation, he is ...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 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 »
[Having made Fay think he's jealous, he starts pumping the visibly drunk woman for information]
This Ralph, he here now?
Oh, no. Ralph's my oldest friend, but now I only do his astrological charts and a little interior decorating. I did his room here in the hotel, I wish I could show it to you. I have this fabulous taste!
[Looking his plump companion up and down]
Babe, you got everything!
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When originally released theatrically in the UK, the BBFC made cuts to secure a 'A' rating. All cuts were waived in 1995 when the film was granted a '12' certificate for home video. See more »
I just read "The Moving Target" by Ross Macdonald, the book upon which "Harper" is based. Given that the book was written in 1949 and "Harper" was contemporary (1966) when made, the movie follows the novel pretty darn close. Many of the scenes are done almost verbatim from the book. Harper is more acerbic than Macdonald's Lew Archer, and the novel, of course, fleshes out the characters and their motives a little better. But I think the movie stands up pretty well by itself. It has an outstanding supporting cast and, except for Pamela Tiffin, the acting is good, with high marks especially for Paul Newman and, in my opinion, Arthur Hill. The photography is gorgeous, and I can listen all night to any music by Johnny Mandel. All that and those great one-liners by Newman! I'd give it a 7 or 8 out of ten.
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