Sunday, December 23, 2012

1976 - THE DROWNING POOL, sequel to Harper.

Paul Newman is private eye Lew Harper, in this sequel to Harper.  This time Harper is in New Orleans investigating a blackmail scheme for an old fling played by Newman's wife Joanne Woodward.

This is the usual private eye stuff.  Girls, guns and wisecracks.  The plot is one of those too complicated to understand exactly what is going on stories.  The finale involves a hydrotherapy chamber which Newman and the chief bad guy's wife flood in order to break out of.  That seems a little improbable but it is kind of a cool scene.

This film has a pretty good cast, of 1970's actors.  Murray Hamilton, Richard Jaeckel, Gail Strickland, Tony Franciosa and a very young Melanie Griffith as a piece of jailbait.  However, this is a Paul Newman film, and he is in about every scene and has to carry this lightweight film to the end.

Behind the camera is some fairly decent talent.  Gordon Willis was the director of photography.  Willis was known for filming scenes in very low light levels.  He photographed Woody Allen's best film along with The Godfather films.  But one of the problems with The Drowning Pool is that every scene is the film is mighty dark.  Its hard to see exactly what is going on.

The director was Stuart Rosenberg who had a couple of good films and was probably hired because he could handle Newman who he had worked with before.  Lorenzo Semple Jr, Walter Hill and Tracy Keenan Wynn all have screen credit as the writers.  This is never a good sign in a film.

109 minutes.

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