Original Soundtrack, 1966
A collection of pictures about Comics, Books, Paperbacks, Pulp, Private Eyes, Writers, Bookshelves, Film Noir, Beautiful Ladies, Vintage things, Nautical Silliness & Music. Most commonly used tags :
Paul Newman packs a punch in in Harper (1966)
Paul Newman as private eye Lew Harper, film adaptation of Ross Macdonald’s The Moving Target (1949), his first Lew Archer novel. Supposedly, Newman was superstitious after the success of Hud and Hombre and insisted his character’s name be changed so that it started with an H: Archer became Harper.
First of two movies Newman starred in as Lew Harper, the second being The Drowning Pool, which was also the second of the books.
“I’m a supporter of gay rights. And not a closet supporter either. From the time I was a kid, I have never been able to understand attacks upon the gay community. There are so many qualities that make up a human being… by the time I get through with all the things that I really admire about people, what they do with their private parts is probably so low on the list that it is irrelevant.”
oh, paul… practically perfect in every way.
“I used to think the world was divided into good people and bad people, that you could pin responsibility for evil on certain definite people and punish the guilty. I’m still going through the motions.”
— Ross Macdonald, The Moving Target
Ok, time to confess. I’m a really huge fan of private eye fiction (and no, that’s not the big confession : my followers will have noticed my abundant use of the private eye tag).
To me, Hammett is still the undisputed master of the genre. His writing was spare, bare to the bone. He was the real deal.
Chandler ? Not really a fan. Oh, I love Marlowe, and recognize his everlasting contribution to the figure of the fictional P.I., the mythical white knight in a slightly tarnished armor (to quote the title of a great Chris Mills short story), but I find his writing overwrought, an Englishman slumming it in the back alleys of the West Coast and trying too hard to be gritty and cynical.
When I was a teen, in the early ’80s, fans and critics were still discussing whether Ross MacDonald was as important to the genre as Hammett and Chandler (he was still alive, which probably didn’t help - same with Spillane). But to me, it’s always been very clear : MacDonald was second only to Hammett. His books changed my life, made me discover the complexity of life and the human soul. Definitely not reading for the Ayn Rand/Steve Ditko moral absolutist.
Paul Newman - Harper. Never imagined Ross MacDonald’s Lew Archer looking as cool as Newman, but it totally works.