52 Years Ago Today…

Harper opened. This hard-boiled detective yarn starred Paul Newman as a gumshoe hired by the icy paralyzed Lauren Bacall to investigate the disappearance of her hated wealthy husband and the father of her stepdaughter Pamela Tiffin. There are a lot of red herrings in this mystery played by the likes of Arthur Hill, Robert Webber, Julie Harris, Robert Wagner, Strother Martin, and Shelley Winters. As the sex-starved heiress Miranda, Tiffin almost steals the film with her seductive dance in a bikini atop a diving board. As the hated daughter and stepmother Elaine, Tiffin and Bacall have a number of great catty moments, which were superbly acted. After hearing that Miranda has been rejected by private pilot(Wagner), Elaine maliciously quips to Miranda, “I should think you’d be accustomed to not being loved by now.”  Miranda responds, “I love your wrinkles.  I revel in them.” When an unmoved Elaine learns that her husband has been murdered, she calls out to Miranda in a singsong voice, “Miranda!  Mommy has something to tell you!”

Pamela described Paul Newman as being “attractive, professional, and a car lover.” She added, “I was veryimpressed with Lauren Bacall but she was very tense and stand-offish. Since Paul Newman likes to rehearse, we gathered around a long table and ran lines for a week, if not more. Everyone was there except Lauren Bacall because she wanted to be the big movie star. I couldn’t be angry at her or feel slighted because I thought she was fascinating!”

Read more in my McFarland and Co. book Pamela Tiffin: Hollywood to Rome, 1961 – 1974.

 

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