With the car washing scene in Cool Hand Luke, director Stuart Rosenberg was a bit of a sexist, but not in The Drowning Pool (1975), which hardly means it is a good film. The fault is not Rosenberg’s, though, but that of the writers, including, I assume, Ross MacDonald, whose novel is the source for this.
A detective movie starring Paul Newman as Lew Harper, The Drowning Pool serves up two villains, one of whom is an inadequate actress and hard to swallow as a villain, the other of whom is an appalling oil man. (Ho hum.) The oil man is so stupid he makes it possible for someone to rip off an incriminating account book of his (he’ll kill to get it back). It’s pretty underwhelming material, made in such a way as to make it seem more than that. But underwhelming is all it is. From car wash to drowning pool—not a step up.