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The Drowning Pool (1975)

tomatometer

20

Average Rating: 4.3/10
Critic Reviews: 5
Fresh: 1 | Rotten: 4

No consensus yet.

audience

50

liked it
Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 636

My Rating

Movie Info

Paul Newman returns as private detective Lew Harper is this tale of blackmail and murder based on a novel by Ross MacDonald. Iris Devereaux (Joanne Woodward), the wife of a wealthy oilman from Louisiana, hires Harper after she receives a threatening letter. A blackmailer is threatening to tell Iris' husband James (Richard Derr) about a recent extramarital affair; she claims this indiscretion never happened, though she has been unfaithful in the past, and years ago had a brief fling with Harper.

Nov 14, 2006

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All Critics (12) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (7) | Rotten (5) | DVD (3)

Stylish, improbable, entertaining, superficial, well cast, and totally synthetic.

June 5, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Unfortunately, Rosenberg directs flatly, hopping from one set piece to the next, disjointedly throwing characters of varying interest across Newman's path.

January 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As a convoluted caper it generates action rather than character and surface mystery rather than meaning.

May 9, 2005 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A confusing and not very exciting private eye caper.

October 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An interminable drag.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This and a few other scenes are truly suspenseful, but for the most part the film is a synthetic, forced story peopled with some interesting characters and fine performances.

June 17, 2008 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Solid Newman-Woodward detective thriller.

February 17, 2008
Video-Reviewmaster.com

About a cool gumshoe with a one-track mind — solving the case he's on

January 18, 2004 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

Dullish detective yarn that promises a great deal more than it delivers in story, direction or atmosphere.

May 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

Audience Reviews for The Drowning Pool

An excellent sequel to Harper. It takes everything great from the first film without being repetitive. Paul Newman delivered a great performance as did a young Melanie Griffith. The story was extremely intriguing and entertaining, while also having a light hearted, comedic tone. Stuart Rosenberg made a film that isn't just fluff, it's extremely well made. If you enjoyed the first, I can't see you not liking this.
January 31, 2010
ythelastman89

Super Reviewer

Lew Harper returns to investigate a case of the blackmail of a wealthy southern woman and uncovers corruption and murder. As usual. The sequel to Harper is far less jokey in tone and is more of a straight noir style thriller. All the usual ingredients are here; smart mouthed detective, hard-nosed cops, promiscuous young girl, shadowy land baron and the inevitable mix of small time hoods and snitches. The plot is very similar to that of Chinatown (although lacking its subtlety) but it actually works rather better than its predecessor because of the lack of swinging sixties style gimmicks; it has dated rather better as a result. A decent detective story that lacks flash or even a hint of originality but is good, solid entertainment.
August 6, 2009
garyX
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

mediocre and muddled but Newman is good as always.
June 11, 2009
jjnxn
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

    1. Detective Franks: There's nothing wrong with southern California that a rise in the ocean level wouldn't cure.
    – Submitted by rick b (2 years ago)
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Latest News on The Drowning Pool

October 31, 2011:
Warner Bros. Plans More Lew Archer Movies
They'd pick up where Paul Newman left off with "Harper" and "The Drowning Pool."
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