Re: RARA-AVIS: Harper, The Drowning Pool and Twilight

Date: 01 Apr 2009

  • Next message: JIM DOHERTY: "RARA-AVIS: Re: Rogue Cop"

    Hey Kevin:

    Thanks for the tip on Twilight. Haven't seen it and now I must.

    A question. I've always sensed something Archeresque in China Town, specifically the scenes set in the retirement home where deceased members held title to properties associated with a villinous sponsor, but I've not been able to think of the direct link. Am I way off base, or is my sixth sense toeing a rock worth turning?

    I do think Macdonald's environmental concerns prescient and think it a credit to the genre that they were raised here so early. I like to associate that with Macdonald's Canadian heritage, but I may be stumbling over that rock too.

    Best, Kerry

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Kevin Burton Smith
      Sent: Wednesday, April 01, 2009 12:42 AM
      Subject: RARA-AVIS: Harper, The Drowning Pool and Twilight

      As Jim was quick to point out, HARPER was followed by THE DROWNING
      POOL (1975) which, for my money, was the more enjoyable film.

      It may have diverged even further from Macdonald than HARPER did, and
      it may not have been quite as "literary," but it has two of my all-
      time favourite scenes from P.I. movies in it.

      The first is where Harper refuses, despite numerous prompts from the
      boasting, evil oil baron, to turn his head and gaze upon said fat's
      cat's oil rigs. Harper's reply (more or less): "I saw them already."

      Thereby putting the fat cat in his place, and asserting that this is
      one private eye who sees and can't be swayed by wealth and power.

      The other favourite? The scene in the gigantic shower room of the
      abandoned asylum, of course, where they try to drown Harper and the
      fat cat's wife. That scene grabbed me when I first saw this probably
      thirty years ago-- and still does.

      It's like a scene from the old Batman show (which I loved), except
      Harper escapes without resorting to a utility belt.

      And you could argue (I have) that TWILIGHT (not the current vampire/
      eunuch teen fantasy but the 1988 P.I. flick with Newman, Gene Hackman,
      James Garner and Susan Sarandon) is almost the long-lost last Lew
      Archer film, the conclusion to the trilogy Newman began with HARPER

      Once again, Ol' Blue Eyes is essentially Archer travelling under an
      assumed name (could it be that the hero's surname in this one -- Ross
      -- is a tip of the fedora to Archer's creator, Ross Macdonald?), and
      once again he's digging up long-buried family dirt, but this time,
      it's hitting a lot closer to home. Recommended.

      As for the books themselves, they're all pretty solid, but my
      favourite has to be THE BLUE HAMMER, possibly the most bittersweet
      book in the whole series, with Archer appearing old, tired and, for
      the first time in a long, long time, involved with someone.

      Kevin Burton Smith
      Thrilling Detective Web Site
      Any Day Now, Any Day Now Issue Coming Soon

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 01 Apr 2009 EDT