The Drowning Pool (1975)

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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. Matters become more complicated when Iris' mother-in-law Olivia (Coral Browne) is found murdered. Eventually, Harper traces the blackmail letter to Kilborne (Murray Hamilton), another bayou oil baron, and along the way encounters Schuyler (Melanie Griffith), Iris' young but ripe daughter; Pat Reavis (Andy Robinson), Olivia's former chauffeur and a key suspect in her murder; and Detective Broussard (Tony Franciosa), a police investigator who, like Harper, was once involved with Iris. This was Coral Browne's first film after her marriage to actor Vincent Price in 1974.
Rating:
PG
Genre:
Classics , Drama , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
WARNER BROTHERS PICTURES

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Cast

Paul Newman
as Harper
Murray Hamilton
as Kilbourne
Melanie Griffith
as Schuyler Devereaux
Andrew Robinson
as Pat Reaves
Gail Strickland
as Mavis Kilbourne
Coral Browne
as Olivia Devereaux
Anthony Franciosa
as Broussard
Richard Jaeckel
as Detective Franks
Paul Koslo
as Candy
Linda Haynes
as Gretchen
Leigh French
as Redhead
Helena Kallianiotes
as Elaine Reaves
Cecil Elliott
as Motel Switchboard Operator
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Critic Reviews for The Drowning Pool

All Critics (14) | Top Critics (5)

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

Full Review… | June 4, 2008
Variety
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | January 25, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | May 8, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

A confusing and not very exciting private eye caper.

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

An interminable drag.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

It has a field day recycling private eye cliches while down in the bayou.

Full Review… | June 6, 2015
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for The Drowning Pool

½

An unremarkable private eye film, but it has a few top rate scenes and it does not stumble too badly.

Sean Chick
Sean Chick

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.

Conner Rainwater
Conner Rainwater

Super Reviewer

½

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.

xGary Xx
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

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