Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Harper (1966) - An enjoyable homage to Marlowe

William Goldman's first screenplay is an adaptation of Ross McDonald's novel 'The Moving Target' called Harper. Released in 1966 and stars Paul Newman as private investigator Lew Harper (Lew Archer in the novel) who has problems with his marriage to Susan (Janet Leigh) but one of his few friends is attorney Albert Graves (Arthur Hill) who brings him a case. The wealthy husband of Elaine Sampson (Lauren Bacall) is missing and she thinks that he is with another woman. She just wants to know where he is. It is Harper's job to investigate and report back but the case is on as straight forward as it seems.

Harper is an enjoyable homage to Marlowe (Lauren Bacall starred with Humphrey Bogart as Marlowe in the 1946 film The Big Sleep) with great performances all around especially from Newman. The dialogue is great as you would expect from Goldman, the direction (Jack Smight) and photography (Conrad L. Hall) are top notch too. Recommended.