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A Movie A Day: Quint watches HARPER sequel THE DROWNING POOL (1975)
Harper Days Are Here Again

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. Yesterday we talked about HARPER (1966) and today we have the sequel THE DROWNING POOL starring 1970s Paul Newman. I love 1970s Paul Newman, specifically for his work in THE STING. He’s a little more beat up, a little more rough around the edges in this era and it shows through in THE DROWNING POOL. I was a little disappointed in the movie, to be honest. It’s not a bad movie, that’s for sure, but missing is the fire that Newman’s first run at the character had. It also felt a lot more muddled and confused than its predecessor. However, I did feel the movie was worth the watch. One, it was great seeing Murray Hamilton, Mayor Vaughn himself, playing the main baddie the same year as his iconic sleazeball turn in JAWS. It was also good being reminded that Melanie Griffith was gorgeous in her youth. In this flick, Griffith plays a Lolita-esque seducer and daughter of Joanne Woodward, Newman’s real life wife. Woodward ain’t bad, either, but everything that felt alive in the first movie felt flat to me in this one. The cinematography, the script, the acting, the mystery… they all felt flat. I missed having a femme fatale like Bacall, I missed the heart that Janet Leigh brought to the first flick. I missed the spark Newman had in the first film. That said, the centerpiece of the film, Harper trapped in a flooding room, is very effective and the whole thing was worth the time if only to bask in Murray Hamilton chew the scenery. Here are the titles for the coming week: Wednesday, June 4th: PAPILLON (1973) Thursday, June 5th: GUN CRAZY (aka DEADLY IS THE FEMALE) (1950) Friday, June 6th: NEVER SO FEW (1959) Saturday, June 7th: A HOLE IN THE HEAD (1959) Sunday, June 8th: SOME CAME RUNNING (1958) Monday, June 9th: RIO BRAVO (1959) Tuesday, June 10th: POINT BLANK (1967) What was your take on DROWNING POOL? What did you think? Let’s keep up the discussion in the talkbacks below.

Tomorrow we jump from THE DROWNING POOL to PAPILLON via writer Lorenzo Semple Jr. (who co-wrote DP with Walter Hill and Tracy Keenan Wynn) and trade in Paul Newman for Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman. See you folks then. -Quint

Previous Movies: June 2nd: Harper

Readers Talkback
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  • June 4, 2008, 12:51 a.m. CST


    by listo65

    wow... my first first!!!! Quint rocks!!! Damn you Micheal Bay

  • June 4, 2008, 12:52 a.m. CST

    I mean...

    by listo65

    Damn you Michael Bay and Indy 4 sucked balls

  • June 4, 2008, 12:54 a.m. CST

    Done For Cash, I Would Bet

    by georges garvaren

    and nowhere near as lovely as Harper. Everyone makes mistakes, even Newman.

  • June 4, 2008, 1 a.m. CST

    His real life wife at the time?

    by Phloton

    Get your facts straight chief. They've been married since 1958 and still going strong.

  • June 4, 2008, 1:09 a.m. CST


    by Quint

    Technically, that sentence is correct... she was his real life wife at the time. She still is his real life wife, right? Right? ... Okay, I fixed it. You got me.

  • June 4, 2008, 1:55 a.m. CST

    Don't change it because of Phloton, Quint.

    by Talkbacker with no name

    Next you will be agreeing with the insane babble of that prick Dannygloversdickblood :) <p> Spot on about the Drowning Pool though. Looking forward to the rest in your series. good stuff!

  • June 4, 2008, 1:59 a.m. CST

    Let the bodies hit the floo...

    by SlickyVonBoner

    There, someone had to say it.

  • June 4, 2008, 2:40 a.m. CST

    Nobody's Fool

    by But anyway

    Quote: "It was also good being reminded that Melanie Griffith was gorgeous in her youth" Melanie G. made also rather sympathetic role with Newman in Nobody's Fool(1994). Newman played aproximately fiftyish character while almost seventy! What a guy!

  • June 4, 2008, 3:54 a.m. CST

    Pretty average

    by scruffytbk

    Compared to Harper I this film is pretty average. It just seems to be missing the sense of fun that the other film had.

  • June 4, 2008, 4:44 a.m. CST


    by Kevin Bosch

    (Well, a little damaged.) It's the only thing left standing of the entire Courthouse Square set. And everything else that burned down wasn't even original, since it also burned down either in the 1990 fire or the 1997 fire. The Clock Tower survived all three fires, and is the only remaining piece of that set that appeared in the BTTF movies.

  • June 4, 2008, 4:53 a.m. CST


    by drew mcweeny

    ... are you serious? Agonize no more, my friend. Buy POINT BLANK. Don't think about it. Don't consider it. Buy it. It's a huge overstuffed bag full of awesome, and Lee Marvin is maybe the greatest badass icon ever in that role. Seriously.

  • June 4, 2008, 5:18 a.m. CST

    I enjoyed this movie

    by The Great One

    Though more for nostalgia sake than anything. Seen it a few times on HBO ocassionally, but I still haven't seen Harper yet. Will have to track that one down. I'm enjoying this series of articles BTW, like a min-film class. Keep it up. :)

  • June 4, 2008, 5:34 a.m. CST

    Boorman's abrupt endings always catch me off-guard.

    by Knuckleduster

    Sorry. Guess I should be discussing The Drowning Pool, but there isn't much to say, really.<p> What is it with Boorman and those short endings? Point Blank. Hell in the Pacific. I mean, I get it. But it just feels so hurried and graceless. Hitchcock would end a movie in 30 seconds and you wouldn't even notice how quick it was (North by Northwest), but Boorman always gets me. That said, Deliverance and Excalibur kick ass.

  • June 4, 2008, 7:36 a.m. CST

    Fuck you again Lovefilm.

    by jpdisco

    I'm seriously falling behind. At least I've seen Point Blank. Well, I've seen Payback which is technically the same thing....

  • June 4, 2008, 8:39 a.m. CST

    Lee Marvin squats on the world and releases

    by Stuntcock Mike

    a runny burrito supreme shart in Point Blank. Making it one of the great tough guy movies ever.

  • June 4, 2008, 8:51 a.m. CST

    Here's the thing...

    by loogenhausen

    Harper and Drowning Pool felt completely disconnected from each other apart from Paul Newman's presence. Harper featured a pseudo-swinging 60's Newman with the hilarious body language and facial expressions. Drowning Pool featured a more taciturn but still wily Harper. I kind of enjoyed it that way since Newman wasn't trying to mug for the camera for Drowning Pool in an attempt to ape his performance from Harper, which was smart on his part. I have to admit I was on the fence about popping in Drowning Pool right after Harper until I saw Murray Hamilton was in it; that sealed the deal for me. If I absolutely had to rate them, I'd give Drowning Pool 3 stars and Harper 3 1/2 out of 5. It's always nice to discover older films out there just waiting to be seen. It gets me all hot and bothered just thinking of the sheer number of films available. Quint, you should delve into the annals of Sean Connery and Michael Caine some day if you manage to keep this column going. Just a friendly suggestion. Caine alone has a rap sheet of films that are fun to stumble upon.

  • June 4, 2008, 9:58 a.m. CST

    Murray Hamilton.

    by BrandonGK

    Murray Hamilton was born and raised in my hometown, Washington, North Carolina.

  • June 4, 2008, 10:10 a.m. CST

    Not Surprised, SHOCKED!!!

    by Rustle

    I am to understand these are all movies you've never seen before, right? Point Blank! First Pappillon, and now Point Blank.. Well I guess the wonderful thing about being late to the party,is you get to discover them for the first time. You're in for some grade A+++ cinema..

  • June 4, 2008, 10:18 a.m. CST

    Okay, I'll confess

    by Rustle

    While getting all snotty with you about not having seen Point Blank, or Papillion, I haven't seen Rio Bravo yet.. I just put it high up on my Netflix Que..

  • June 4, 2008, 10:23 a.m. CST

    Point Blank will KICK YOUR ASS!

    by LaneMyersClassic

    Amazing film! Just mesmerizing!

  • June 4, 2008, 10:54 a.m. CST


    by Knuckleduster

    No. Not really.

  • June 4, 2008, 11:32 a.m. CST


    by jpdisco

    I was just kidding. I love Marvin. Heard It Through The Grapevine was ace...

  • June 4, 2008, 12:07 p.m. CST

    Harper's on HDnet Movies Friday the 6th

    by Frightreviews

    Good timing Quint.

  • June 4, 2008, 12:14 p.m. CST

    Papillon is going to rock your #$%* off!

    by Snotfarmer

    Quint, you are in for a treat. Papillon is one of my favorite films, and I hope you walk away from the final scene as I did - with a smile a mile wide.

  • June 4, 2008, 1:13 p.m. CST

    Didn't their lead singer die?

    by Alkeoholic77

    I heard he drowned in a pool and his body hit the floor. Thanks folks I'm here all week!

  • June 4, 2008, 2:51 p.m. CST

    I agree "Drowning Pool" not on the same level as "Harper"

    by dannyocean

    and I wish they hadn't switched the setting from north of LA oilfields (which is in the book) to Louisiana. But it still has great moments and a rabid Tony Franciosa (and his bizarre Southern accent) is never a bad idea. Plus a great use of Roberta F;ack's "Killing Me Softly".

  • June 4, 2008, 3:05 p.m. CST


    by Quint

    I agree completely. Aside from Newman, there's no connective tissues from Harper to Drowning Pool and Drowning Pool is indeed a much less fun movie, even if it's not a technically lesser movie. Both Harper and Drowning Pool represent their eras, though, and I have respect for that.<BR><BR>As for Caine and Connery, I have probably a dozen movies on the list from them combined... Can't wait to get to 'em!

  • June 4, 2008, 8 p.m. CST

    Melanie Griffith is one of the sexiest actresses ever

    by BigTuna

    Oh my god. And she got naked so much at a young age. She was amazing in her prime. Sexy as hell in this movie.

  • June 4, 2008, 8:39 p.m. CST

    Pic: "Ha ha haaa -- I live in a trailer park!"

    by MrMysteryGuest

  • June 6, 2008, 2:37 a.m. CST

    Melanie Griffith Really Worked The Lolita Act In Her Early Films

    by Red Dawn Don

    I remember Melanie playing it to the hilt in NIGHT MOVES (1975) with Gene Hackman. Later she did the similar act in THE DROWNING POOL (1975) with Paul Newman. When she turned up as the hitchiker conning Robbie Benson by threatening to yell RAPE in the basketball film ONE ON ONE (1977) I wanted to choke her pretty little neck. I wonder how much of what she was doing was acting?

  • June 17, 2008, 1:01 a.m. CST

    reminded me of Fletch

    by WernerBrandes

    Both Fletch and Harper took place in the L.A. area, and both sequels (Fletch Lives and Drowning Pool) introduce the 'fish out of water' element and send the characters to Louisiana. Remind anyone else of Fletch, or am I alone on this one? I agree Harper was better. I was bored during the first hour and I almost stopped watching. But the 2nd half was great. Loved Murray Hamilton, loved the flooding room sequence. Papillon should be here tomorrow. At this rate, it'll be Christmas before I see Point Blank.

  • July 5, 2008, 10:52 p.m. CST