Saturday, February 27, 2010
Harper looks for trouble. See Harper look. See Harper. This is a gun. It shoots straight. See Harper shoot straight. These are people. These are tricky people. See Harper and the tricky people. This is a girl. Girls go for Harper. See girls go. See Harper go. These words are found on the cover of 'Harper's' DVD case. They sound very sixties, don't they? Well, that's probably because the movie came out in '66. And the movie as a whole is very, very sixties. Now there are a lot of movies from the sixties that I enjoy. But most of them are classics. This one's not and it is terribly outdated. Throughout his career, Paul Newman played essentially the same character over and over again. Always a rebel, always someone with a weary moral compass. Here he goes in a different direction and plays a PI trying to solve a supposed kidnapping case. The woman is Mrs. Sampson, played by Lauren Bacall. She hires Harper to find her missing husband. There are an assortment of other characters who pop up and we know that not everybody is clean. This movie felt like half a lousy James Bond picture and half a pilot detective television episode that never became a hit. 'Harper' isn't terrible. But it's incredibly underwhelming. The movie felt obvious, like it was trying to set up this story that would thrill the audience. Then throw in some action and shady characters and you got yourself an awesome old fashioned detective thriller. But all of this felt too pretentious. Also, the film failed to establish characters that we really liked (the one sidekick (sort of) of Harper's ends up not being so nice) and Paul Newman just wasn't convincing enough as a private investigator. I guess that's why he stayed away from detective stories most of his otherwise outstanding career.