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Clint Eastwood made his directorial debut with this 1971 suspense/thriller,
`Play Misty for Me,' in which he also stars as Dave Garver, a late night
radio disc jockey for a small station in Carmel, California. During his
show, he opens the phones to take requests, at which times a frequent
caller-- a woman named Evelyn (Jessica Walter)-- always asks for the same
tune, `Misty.' Her obsession, it turns out, is not with that particular
record, but with Garver, who is currently sorting out a relationship gone
bad with a young artist, Tobie (Donna Mills), but which may be on the mend
in light of the fact that Tobie has just returned to town after a lengthy
absence in the wake of their breakup. In the interim, Garver has become
entangled with Evelyn, a fan he soon discovers gives new meaning to the term
Eastwood invades Hitchcock territory with this film, which it turns out was indeed a harbinger of the course his career would take from this point on, that of directing and starring in his own movies. With this one, it's apparent that he had that special touch from the beginning; he knows unequivocally what he likes, what works and how to deliver it. The only weakness in the film (if you can even call it a weakness), would be the use of longshots during a couple of scenes between Garver and Tobie that take place on the coast. It adds a scenic vista for a backdrop, but listening to the dialogue with the actors in the distance gives it a dialogue-added-later feeling. It's a minor flaw, however, that takes nothing away from the overall impact of the film, especially as Eastwood establishes a deliberate pace that allows the tension to mount throughout.
It would seem that for an actor to direct himself would be a monumental undertaking, especially the first time, but Eastwood proves here what has been corroborated over the years and with his films since, that he is his own best director. And it's a club to which few actor/directors belong, which puts him in the elite company of Welles, Branagh and most recently, Ed Harris (with `Pollock'), just to name a few of the select. As Garver, a minor celebrity whose biggest fan turns out to be his worst nightmare, Eastwood is thoroughly convincing, and though this may not be one of his most memorable roles, it is certainly well acted, and delivered with that subtle Eastwood charm.
Jessica Walter combines just the right amount of beauty, charm and menace for her role of Evelyn, which just may be her most memorable performance ever. She creates a character who is smoothly confident, if slightly vulnerable, and prone to instantaneous bursts of psychotic anger. It's an honest portrait of an extremely disturbed individual with the ability to conceal the true nature-- and danger-- of her mental state. Exceptionally well realized by Walter, Evelyn could be the older sister of Stephen King's Annie in `Misery,' a role for which Kathy Bates received an Oscar for Best Actress some twenty years after Walter inhabited the body of Evelyn.
The supporting cast includes John Larch (Sergeant McCallum), Jack Ging (Frank), Irene Hervey (Madge), James McEachin (Al Monte), Clarice Taylor (Birdie) and Don Siegel (Murphy). A film that will have you on the edge of your seat by the end, `Play Misty for Me' withstands the test of time and works every bit as well today as when it was originally released. A tale from the dark side, it's engrossing entertainment that may give you second thoughts about that casual acquaintance you've just invited to your house for dinner. Eastwood chose a perfect setting for his film, using one of the most beautiful spots along the California coast as a background against which to contrast the grisly events of the story. It all adds up to a wild ride for the audience, and an auspicious debut for Eastwood as the Man Behind the Camera. I rate this one 8/10.
In the early 70's Clint Eastwood was very anxious to direct a movie of his
own and the producers gave him the opportunity to do so with one simple
condition: he wouldn't be receiving a paycheck from his work. Eastwood
accepted this offer eagerly, directed "Play Misty for me" and the rest is,
as we all know, movie history. "Play Misty for me" is a modest little
thriller but it's more effective than a thousand electric shocks. Plot is
rather simple but quite spectacular and Clint had the talent to tell it in a
real exciting, stylish, strong, gripping and entertaining way. If someone's
claiming that the story could never happen in reality I can only answer that
it's impossible for me to agree. I actually used to date a girl who was
annoyingly lot like Jessica Walter's Evelyn. More realistic the movie feels
like, more powerful the experience obviously is and to me this film was
almost frightfully realistic. Acting is superb. Eastwood's delivers a
fantastic performance as Dave Garver and Jessica Walter is insanely great.
One of the most sympathetic details of "Play Misty for me" is the fact that
Clint gave a small supporting role of Murphy the bartender to his dearest
friend and mentor Don Siegel.
Siegel himself directed Clint in five movie classics: "Coogan's bluff", "Two mules for sister Sara", "The Beguiled", "Dirty Harry" and "Escape from Alcatraz". In the famous scene Dave Garver and Murphy are playing an absurd game called "Cry Bastion". Clint admitted in the DVD documentary that there's no such game at all - they were just fooling around and improvising the game while playing it and that makes the scene twice as amusing. I adore almost every moment of "Play Misty for me" but unfortunately somewhere in the middle of the film there's couple of totally unnecessary sequences. Other one is like an overromantic music video of a song "First time ever I saw your face" and afterwards there's a scene that makes the movie look more like a jazz festival documentary than a serious thriller and it needlessly breaks the excitement. Without those two scenes I would give "Play Misty for me" 10 out of 10. But now I'll have to settle with "only" 9/10. "Play Misty for me" started Eastwood's directorial career and it still remains to be one of the most powerful motion picture debuts acting director has ever made. It is such a terrific and marvelous suspense film it's almost touching to watch. This movie is an adorable classic and after 21 movies Clint has directed since, "Play Misty for me" has definitely place in the better half.
This was "Fatal Attraction" 16 years before that famous movie was made.
The problem with this tense drama was credibility. There are several instances where just about everyone with a brain would avoid trouble by doing the sensible thing....except the character in here, of course. Also, being honest is the obvious thing to do here and, of course, that's not done either.
Nevertheless, it's a taut thriller with Jessica Walter doing a great job playing a nutcase stalker "Evelyn Draper." I also enjoyed watching Donna Mills. An appealing actress, and not just because of a pretty face, I wonder she didn't do more films? After this movie, it's been almost all television roles for her.
So-so mono sound and poor picture quality helped me eventually trade my VHS copy in but, with a nice DVD transfer now available, I might check this movie out again. Clint Eastwood, the male lead here, has rarely been in a boring movie, and this is no exception.
This is quite an impressive, very 70s looking psycho-thriller that is sure
Clint Eastwood plays Dave Garver, a radio DJ in southern California. One night, a woman calls requesting that he "Play Misty for me." Later, he meets the woman at a bar he goes to often, and they go back to her house together and make love. The next morning, he leaves, figuring it was just a one-night stand, but when he gets home, the woman, Evelyn Draper (Jessica Walter) shows up with groceries and starts to make herself at home. Dave decides to go with it, and later sees that his old girlfriend, Tobie Williams (Donna Mills), is back in town, and the two become close again. But Evelyn won't go away, and continues to follow Dave everywhere, and starts to get viciously jealous of Tobie. And as Dave and Tobie's relationship forms, Evelyn becomes angry and violent, and eventually, murderous, and Dave must find some way to stop her before she ruins his life, and potentially, kills him.
A very creepy movie. Jessica Walter is beyond convincing as the jealous psycho lover, and Clint Eastwood proves that he doesn't just do Dirty Harry movies. Donna Mills is also quite good as the innocent girlfriend. The movie implies and foreshadows a lot, making everything even scarier. But the best scene in the whole movie is the knife attack on the maid, Birdie. That scene competes with the shower scene in "Psycho" as one of the most shocking in film history. The way the camera darts and swings around, and Birdie's screams as she struggles and fights to get away, all add up to one of the scariest scenes I've every seen. The climax is quite good, if not executed a little too quickly, but what led to it was shocking enough to overshadow it.
All in all, a great film that I would definitely recommend.
In the city of Carmel, the popular disc-jockey David Garver (Clint
Eastwood) has one night stand with Evelyn Draper (Jessica Walter), a
strange he met in a bar after his show. The woman, indeed a deranged
obsessed fan, stalks David and threatens his life, his girl-friend
Tobie Williams (Donna Mills), his friends and even his job.
The debut of Clint Eastwood as director could not be better. This low budget and low paced movie has a simple, but frightening story, which was ripped off at least in the famous "Fatal Attraction" and the teen version "Swimfan". The magnificent landscape and locations in the beautiful city of Carmel, where Clint Eastwood was elected Major many years later, are another attraction. The performance of Jessica Walters is awesome, changing naturally her behavior from a sweet to an aggressive person, really incorporating her character. Clint Eastwood is very cool, as usual, and Donna Mills very gorgeous. I like the unusual break of tension adopted when Evelyn is arrested and Dave and Tobie's routine returns to normal, dating, going to festival, making love, increasing the suspense after the twist point. I do not recall how many times I have seen "Play Misty for Me", a classic and one of the best thrillers of the 70's. My vote is eight.
Title (Brazil): "Perversa Paixão" ("Wicked Passion")
The directorial debut for Clint Eastwood was this classic suspense
thriller that's both intelligent and shocking.
Dashing California DJ has a one night stand with an obsessive fan, who will have his love at ANY cost!
While a bit on the dated side, Play Misty for Me still works well as a steely, nail-biter of a film. The film's premise is clever, especially for its time, and escalates into an intense suspense piece. Eastwood's direction is well-done, nicely using the coastal filming locations. Eastwood also builds some great sequences of shock and tension, especially for the films edgy climax.
Eastwood himself does a great performance as the tormented DJ. Jessica Walter however steals the show. Walter's performance is absolutely powerful and she comes off as one of the best psycho-females of cinematic history! She's simply unforgettable.
A suspense masterpiece through and through, Play Misty for Me has since gone on to be quite an influential film and one that well-stands the test of time. Thriller fans should not miss it!
**** out of ****
This movie, I suppose, was the first nice-guy-being-stalked-by-psycho-female
thriller. And it's quite damn good. Modern audiences might feel the film
was too low-key, but I found it very suspenseful. This proves you don't
need eerie music (there's very little score on the soundtrack) and
continuous gore to create suspense. Jessica Walter is terrifying--maybe not
as terrifying as Glenn Close in "Fatal Attraction," but she comes pretty
close. It's fun--and somewhat hilarious--to see Clint Eastwood as a young
man with LOTS of hair. This was his first directorial effort, and he did a
fine job. Over 30 years, the premise has become all-too-familiar, so
unfortunately the story is predictable. Maybe 1970's audiences found it
more shocking. But I was able to predict who would die and when.
Nevertheless, I still found "Play Misty For Me" very entertaining and very
well-acted. But what was with that jazz concert scene? Clint definitely
should've left that on the cutting room floor.
My score: 7 (out of 10)
Too-careful shocker directed and starring Clint Eastwood involves a radio disc-jockey who gets seductive requests by telephone for the song "Misty"--he later meets the overly-friendly female fan and they share a fling, but she 'won't be ignored'. Tense thriller may have been the starting point for Adrian Lyne's "Fatal Attraction", though this one is far less slick. Sometimes an actor is so good in a role that it's impossible to see them as anyone else later in their career; such is the case with Jessica Walter, who nails this part of the psychotic woman--and seems to embody instability itself! Several scenes go on too long, the climax is so dark visually it is nearly incoherent, and there's a jazz festival interlude (and a romantic montage with Eastwood and Donna Mills) that feels like padding, but the central situation is unsettling, well-crafted and well-played. As for Walter, she had a tough time shaking off the affects left behind with this role, which of course is both pro and con. *** from ****
This movie has got to be on the top ten list of the best movies ever made. It's perfect. You really can't say anything negative about it because there is nothing wrong with it. It is paced just right, the acting is excellent, and its story is very engrossing. Play Misty for Me begins in California at Eastwood's radio station when he gets a call, with a very sexy voice, saying the film's title. He then has a little rendezvous with this woman, but when he decides to break it up, and go back to his original girl, she just won't leave him alone (the first Fatal Attraction, and the better). By the time the end comes (which is perfectly set in a secluded cliffside home)you are guaranteed to have jumped out of your seat, or you'll find yourself grabbing onto something, or biting your nails. I did. Hang on for a wild ride. Rating: **** out of ****
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It's strange but PLAY MISTY FOR ME influence didn't seem to have an
effect on Hollywood until many years later when every studio seemed to
be making " person from Hell thrillers " every week . This is the first
movie to use the plot and dare I say it's possibly the best ?
Clint Eastwood is not a great character actor and it's difficult not to think of him as anything other than Clint Eastwood but in PMFM he plays one of his most affable roles as Dave Garver a radio DJ who has a one night stand with Evelyn a fan . Come on guys it's not like he's married and we'd all probably do the same so he's easier to empathise with unlike say Michael Douglas in FATAL ATTRACTION or Bill Clinton in The White House who probably did bring their troubles on themselves , so to all intents and purposes Dave is a relatively " innocent " victim
There is some sex and violence but since we're talking 1971 it's not as naseauting or as explicit as it would be in late 80s/early 90s with only the last ten minutes being anywhere over the top . It's a film whose dialogue keeps you entertained than than ridiculous set pieces as in : " Why don't you chase some sailors ?
" I hate sea food "
" What is this ? Be kind to seniir citizens week ? "
" Why don't you play some Al Monte "
" I never knew you liked the show "
" I don't . I just like Al Monte "
Ah the days when dialogue was well written without being post modernist
Eastwood's directing while not exactly being Oscar standard does at least show signs of great competence and manages to wring most of the potential tension from the story but there's one sequence that is every bit as influential as the premise when the story stops and we see a montage disguised as a pop song . I don't know if Eastwood should take the blame/credit for this but we'd see the same thing in APOCALYPSE NOW followed by just about every single movie of the 1980s having several musical montages
PLAY MISTY FOR ME is a very memorable thriller , though since the premise has been stolen by literally dozens of movies in the last 30 years the familiarity of the story perhaps lessens the impact it originally had
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