Paul Newman again assumes the Lew Harper private eye role he first essayed in Harper (1966). The Drowning Pool [from Ross MacDonald's novel] is stylish, improbable, entertaining, superficial, well cast, and totally synthetic. Stuart Rosenberg's direction is functional and unexciting.

Paul Newman again assumes the Lew Harper private eye role he first essayed in Harper (1966). The Drowning Pool [from Ross MacDonald’s novel] is stylish, improbable, entertaining, superficial, well cast, and totally synthetic. Stuart Rosenberg’s direction is functional and unexciting.

Newman is summoned by Joanne Woodward to her bayou home because of a blackmail letter to her husband Richard Derr alleging infidelity on her part; she’s been unfaithful but the current rap is a bummer.

Lots of interesting characters begin appearing. Melanie Griffith, Woodward’s sexpot jailbait daughter; Murray Hamilton, very good as an unscrupulous oil baron and Tony Franciosa, an old Woodward flame, now a police chief.

Title derives from an offbeat and exciting climactic sequence in an abandoned mental asylum hydro-therapy room where Hamilton has imprisoned his wife Gail Strickland and Newman to force disclosure of a black book which will explode lots of swampy intrigue.

The Drowning Pool

Production

Coleytown/Warner. Director Stuart Rosenberg; Producer Lawrence Torman, David Foster; Screenplay Tracey Keenan Wynn, Lorenzo Semple Jr, Walter Hill; Camera Gordon Willis; Editor John C. Howard; Music Michael Small; Art Director Paul Sylbert

Crew

(Color) Widescreen. Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1975. Running time: 108 MIN.

With

Paul Newman Joanne Woodward Anthony Franciosa Murray Hamilton Gail Strickland Melanie Griffith
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