When Harper Did It Better
Paul Newman Is 1966 King Of Cool
Harper was Bullitt's slightly older cousin that foresaw a next couple years of movie cool's progress, while Bullitt exerted influence to last decades. Harper was also among last of recognizably Warner Bros. pictures. Jack L. in fact visited the set to wish cast/crew luck. WB ad/pub team lit fuse here on latter-half 60's where they'd not put a merchandising foot wrong. Harper was a private eye story, and those generally date least. If anything creaks, it might be Paul Newman's performance, one of times (few) where he gave in to fan desire and played Newman the star rather than character actor mired in settings/situations no fun to watch (The Outrage and Lady L then-recent instances of damage to his momentum). Comedy seemed allergic to Newman, though even Cary Grant would have been undone by A New Kind Of Love or What A Way To Go. Harper actually rescued Newman from decline that was well in progress. He'd not had a recognizable hit since Hud, and in fact, five during 1963-65 interim were for most part stink-ups a lesser career could not have sustained.
|Let's Go Back and Pin a Medal On Whoever Devised This|
Brilliant "Dick and Jane" Selling Angle
Stars rather than studios in steering seat made for mixed bag through the 60's, hope and expectations seldom met from point when you'd pick a favorite. I'd see Hombre after Harper, then Cool Hand Luke (twice) and think, wow, bring on more of Newman ... but then would come The Secret War Of Harry Frigg ... and Winning. Did Lou Wasserman exert unholy influence on Newman (or his agent) to drive the at-peak star into poisonous embrace of Universal? Similar things would happen with Lee Marvin and Steve McQueen. You'd sit with a Bullitt or The Dirty Dozen and imagine vistas of pleasure ahead, but vehicles behind these came on flat tires, thus retreat to freevee and backlog of icons like Bogart or Gable more consistent in their day at pleasing followers.
|"Kicky"? Did They Say Kicky? I Need To Look That One Up|
|So We See How a Campaign This Good|
Just Had To Draw Crowds