Harper is brought to Louisiana bayou country to help out an old girlfriend who is worried that her husband will find out that she is cheating on him. What is more, he finds himself caught in a power struggle between the matriarch of the family and a greedy oil baron, who wants her property. Poor Harper! Things are not as straight-forward as they initially appeared.
User Reviews: In 1966 Ross MacDonald’s private investigator Lew Harper (Paul Newman) was hired by a wealthy matron to find a missing husband. It is nearly ten years later and we find the Los Angelas detective traveling to Cajun country in the deep south. Upon arriving he is immediately welcomed by Lt. Franks of the local police (Richard Jaeckel, superb performance) by arresting him for child molestation, lewd exposure, sex with Schuyler Devereaux, (Melanie Griffith) an underage girl, carrying a concealed weapon and resisting arrest. His influential employer, Iris Devereaux (Joanne Woodward) is an old flame from California, whom he had a love interest with six years ago. Now she wants him to discover who sent her a threatening Blackmailing letter. Her protector is the Chief of Police (Anthony Franciosa) who reminds Harper that he will be watching him for the slightest provocation against the family. There is no shortage of villains in this mystery story. Among them is Mr. Kilbourne (Murray Hamilton) a powerful millionaire intent on acquiring the oil rich land the Devereaux’s own but won’t sell. Pat Reavis (Andrew Robinson) the deject employee who seeks revenge for his dismissal and ‘Candy’ (Paul Koslo) who’s as vicious as the dogs he trains for the arena. Harper plays it close to the vest as he quickly discovers his investigation begins to uncover more family secrets than a closet can hold. All of his efforts produce dead bodies, murder, mayhem, a lost account book and finally a drowning pool which threatens his very life. All in all, a superb movie for cast and characters and one which easily marks this film as a Classic. ****