Weakest of Newman's "H" Films
I've always admired Newman both as an actor and a humanitarian. He's one of the all-time greats. However, I'd been reluctant about Harper because the bits I'd seen seemed hokey. Finally sat down to watch it and unfortunately, for me at least, it was a slog. William Goldman's script is overstuffed and overly-talky. It's the kind of screenplay that some writers make the mistake of falling in love with. Performance-wise, everyone seems to be mugging for the camera every chance they get.
Compared to "The Hustler" ('61) and "Hud" ('63), Harper ('66) is forgettable while the other two are genuine classics. Newman made one other "H" film in the 1960s. "Hombre" ('67) is an exciting and thought-provoking Western up there with his best work.
Food in Films: The opening scene where Harper reuses the day-old coffee filter was a great way to introduce the character. Fittingly, it's one of the few times that Goldman doesn't include any dialogue instead choosing to follow the classic "show, don't tell" rule of good script writing.