Private eye Lew Harper shows up early at the Southern California estate of Elain Sampson. She offers a drink, he declines, "I though you were a detective," she says. "New type," Harper answers. Paul Newman memorably plays that new type in Harper, based on Ross MacDonald's The Moving Target. The first detective film in Newman's then 23-film career (he later reprised Harper in The Drowning Pool), Harper revitalized the genre. Newman's sleuth chews gum fast...and slips out of jams even faster as he unravels a twisted case of kidnapping and murder. William Goldman's (Misery, All the President's Men) clever screen-play throws quips and a parade of LA-LA-Land characters Harper's way. There's a woman of means (Lauren Bacall), a gun-toting attorney (Arthur Hill), a poolside gigolo (Robert Wagner), a boozy ex-starlet (Shelley Winters), a jazz junkie (Julie Harris), Harper's estranged wife (Janet Leigh) and the unholy order of the Temple of the Clouds (led by Strother Martin). Each may possess a clue. Or a bullet for Harper.
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