Classic Film Guide

Drowning Pool, The (1975)

The title actually describes a rather inventive action sequence late in this mystery thriller which provides Paul Newman an opportunity to reprise his slick sardonic (Harper (1968)) private detective persona. This one was directed by Stuart Rosenberg; Tracy Keenan Wynn, Lorenzo Semple Jr., and Walter Hill wrote their screenplay using Ross MacDonald's Lew Archer protagonist. Harper travels to New Orleans to assist an ex-lover oil heiress (played by his wife Joanne Woodward) who's being blackmailed for infidelity. Shortly after he arrives, the bodies start to pile up and the plot is intricate enough, perhaps too much so, to keep one guessing until the end. Tony Franciosa plays the Beau Rivage police chief, Richard Jaeckel an overly enthusiastic lieutenant. Murray Hamilton plays a wealthy oilman who wants the valuable drilling land on which Woodward's (mother-in-law's) estate is built. The sex angle is provided by: Melanie Griffith (in one of her first roles), who plays Woodward's prying & promiscuous daughter, and Andy Robinson, who plays her stud - the recently fired family chauffeur; Linda Haynes, who plays the chauffeur's slow-witted girlfriend; and Gail Strickland, who plays Hamilton's wife. Paul Koslo plays one of Hamilton's Cajun thugs, the one that wears florid polyester shirts!

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