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Play Misty for Me (1971)

A brief fling between a male disc jockey and an obsessed female fan takes a frightening, and perhaps even deadly turn when another woman enters the picture.

Director:

Clint Eastwood

Writers:

Jo Heims (screenplay), Dean Riesner (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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3,319 ( 1,280)

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Clint Eastwood ... Dave
Jessica Walter ... Evelyn
Donna Mills ... Tobie
John Larch ... Sgt. McCallum
Jack Ging ... Frank
Irene Hervey ... Madge
James McEachin ... Al Monte
Clarice Taylor ... Birdie
Don Siegel ... Murphy (as Donald Siegel)
Duke Everts Duke Everts ... Jay Jay
George Fargo George Fargo ... Man
Mervin W. Frates Mervin W. Frates ... Locksmith
Tim Frawley Tim Frawley ... Deputy Sheriff
Otis Kadani Otis Kadani ... Policeman
Britt Lind ... Anjelica (as Brit Lind)
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Storyline

Disc jockey Dave Garver attracts the amorous attentions of a demented fan named Evelyn Draper. Evelyn lets Dave pick her up at a bar; later at her apartment Evelyn admits that she is the cooing caller who repeatedly asks Dave to play the Erroll Garner classic "Misty." From then on, the film is a lesson in how one casual date can turn your whole life around. Evelyn stalks Dave everywhere, ruins his business lunch, assaults his maid, mutilates his house and all of his belongings, and finally threatens to butcher his girlfriend Tobie Williams. You'll never be able to hear that song again without looking over your shoulder. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

...an invitation to terror... See more »

Genres:

Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 November 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Play Misty for Me See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$725,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$10,600,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

The Malpaso Company See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TV)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Both Fatal Attraction and Misery drew heavily on Misty in developing their plotlines: Fatal Attraction with its story of an affair that goes terribly wrong; Misery with its story of a deranged fan terrorizing her idol. See more »

Goofs

The music heard during the "Jazz Fest" sequence rarely matches the video. See more »

Quotes

Al Monte: Girl thinks you've been working too hard, man. She says we should get together and go out tonight, blast the town open a little taste.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The version shown on American commercial network TV had the entire "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" sequence re-shot to remove the sex scene. Instead, what was shown as the song played was simply scenes of Eastwood and Donna Mills walking in the forest. The very brief sex scene between Eastwood and Jessica Walter was also eliminated. See more »

Connections

Featured in Eastwood Directs: The Untold Story (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Country Preacher
(uncredited)
Composed by Joseph Zawinul
Performed by Cannonball Adderley
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Edge-Of-Your-Seat Thriller
23 April 2001 | by jhcluesSee all my reviews

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 `fanatic.'

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.


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