Ross MacDonald's private detective hero is named Lew Archer, but for the purposes of this filmization of MacDonald's The Moving Target, his name has been changed to Lew Harper. That's because star Paul Newman has a… More Ross MacDonald's private detective hero is named Lew Archer, but for the purposes of this filmization of MacDonald's The Moving Target, his name has been changed to Lew Harper. That's because star Paul Newman has a near-superstitious fixation on the letter "H", as indicated by the titles of two of his best films, Hud and Hombre. In Harper, our p.i. hero barely makes ends meet, sleeping in the rolltop desk in his office, driving a battered Porsche in dire need of a paint job, and recycling his coffee grounds day after day. Harper is hired by his attorney friend Arthur Hill to investigate the disappearance of the husband of rich-witch Lauren Bacall. The case involves Lauren's Lolita-like stepdaughter Pamela Tiffin, shifty chauffeur Robert Wagner, blowsy ex-movie star Shelley Winters, Winter's sadistic husband Robert Webber, junkie nightclub singer Julie Harris, and crooked religious cult leader Strother Martin. When not trying to piece together the clues concerning the missing man's alleged kidnapping, Harper is regularly punched out and threatened with death, whereupon he retreats to the home of his ex-wife Janet Leigh for repairs. The trail of evidence leads to someone very close to Harper, who sums up the corruption, human misery and pointless frustrations inherent in the maze-like plotline by moaning "Aw, hell!" Lew Harper's own jaundiced view of the world is neatly summed up by the film's best line: "The bottom is full of nice guys. Only cream and bastards rise to the top." Paul Newman would reprise the Lew Harper character (with a whole new slew of weary wisecracks) in 1975's The Drowning Pool.