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Edge-Of-Your-Seat Thriller
jhclues23 April 2001
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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An impressive psychological thriller
WritnGuy-222 April 2000
This is quite an impressive, very 70s looking psycho-thriller that is sure to please.

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.
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A classic thriller that was ahead of its time!
AngryChair4 December 2008
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 ****
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Ahead Of Its Day With This Theme
ccthemovieman-16 July 2006
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.
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Bold choices
Neil Welch9 March 2011
Warning: Spoilers
In his first film as director, Clint Eastwood Takes the bold decision to cast himself, as protagonist, against type. Eastwood's Dave Garner, late night DJ on local radio in Eastwood's real life home patch of Carmel, is not a particularly nice man. Given to self gratification without any consideration for the feelings of those he uses, it is poetic justice of a kind which finds him at the receiving end of unhinged retribution care of casual one-night stand Evelyn (Jessica Walter, gorgeous, sexy, and seriously scary). Factor in his attempts to rescue the relationship he damaged with The One That Got Away (Donna Mills) and that's about it for the plot.

Eastwood had, by this time, spent a long time in front of the camera with some of the best directors in the business, so it's no real surprise that the direction here is as good as it is (and it's no fluke either, as his subsequent career has proved). First act exposition is laid out clearly, second act establishment of the primary conflict is involving, and the third act is full of screamingly effective suspense. This is a film by a man who knows absolutely what he is up to.

And it's one of the best thrillers of the 70s.
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A Classic and One of the Best Thrillers of the 70's
Claudio Carvalho13 October 2005
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")
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no such thing as casual sex
buby198727 April 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Clint Eastwood made a fine debut as a director with Play Misty For Me. There is a laid-back quality to this film, which begins in a casual way, and then tightens the screws later as the stalking plot kicks in. The film beautifully captures the Edenic qualities of Carmel and Monterey, and Eastwood has a great eye for the particular scenic details of the Northern California coast. Most movies today have a "cut to the chase" mentality, in which everything has to move at warp speed, so it's refreshing to see a movie take its time to establish the setting and the characters.

This film is an interesting rebuke to the sexual revolution of the late 60's and early 70's. Jessica Walter's character may be acting in an extreme way, but there is some justification for her rage -- Eastwood's character is a ladies' man who likes to rack up as many conquests as he can, and then move on, but here's one woman who refuses to be discarded. The point is, there are repercussions to all our acts. Also, being a public figure brings its share of grief and misery (just ask John Lennon).
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Some behavior unrealistic
roborose200526 June 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I recently viewed this movie on TMC, and even allowing for its age, I found too many holes, and some of the plot unbelievable. Up to a point, it was all it was supposed to be: suspenseful, scary, edge of your seat. Then the plot broke down for me: First, she was arrested for murder. She was obviously nuts. Why on earth did they let her out??? There could or should have at least been some explanation. Second, Clint Eastwood's character was too Clint Eastwood. So laid back, even with all the danger, he was still the same, no emotion. One would think, knowing this killer is stalking him, that there would have been some caution, some guard around his house, a little anxiety perhaps???
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Before there was "Swimfan," before there was "Fatal Attraction," there was "Play Misty For Me"
mattymatt4ever11 October 2002
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)
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Eastwood's directorial debut is occasionally pedestrian, but he's helped by a solid script...
moonspinner5530 April 2006
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 ****
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DJ Terrorised By Insane Fan
seymourblack-115 February 2013
Warning: Spoilers
In his first movie as a director, Clint Eastwood shows a propensity for naturalism and a strong ability to build up tension. The use of hand-held cameras and actual locations as well as numerous shots of the California countryside around Carmel-by-the-Sea, gives the action a realistic feel and good use is made of shadows to create a rather ominous atmosphere.

"Play Misty For Me" is a gripping thriller in which a rather passive man (whose attitude to sexual relationships is consistent with the time in which he lives) suddenly finds his life thrown into chaos by an unhinged woman. Her violent and irrational behaviour threatens his life and the lives of those who are close to him and this leaves him feeling trapped and helpless because he has no idea how to deal with such insanity.

Dave Garver (Clint Eastwood) is the night-time DJ on a radio station in Carmel and his soft-spoken, intimate style of broadcasting is particularly appreciated by one of his fans who regularly phones to ask him to play Erroll Garner's "Misty" for her. One night, at his favourite bar, Dave meets an attractive woman called Evelyn Draper (Jessica Walter) and later they spend the night together and he realises that Evelyn is actually the lady who likes "Misty".

Despite the fact that it had been mutually agreed that their encounter was purely a no-strings-attached fling, Evelyn regards it as something more serious and shows up at Dave's house with groceries and starts to make a meal. Dave is alarmed by this and tells her that he doesn't want to get involved in a relationship but she reacts badly. As her anger escalates, she attempts suicide by slashing her wrists in his bathroom and later sabotages and informal interview he has for a better job. Things get even worse when she vandalises his house and attacks his cleaning lady with a butcher's knife.

Evelyn's admitted to a psychiatric hospital and this enables Dave to re-establish his relationship with Tobie Williams (Donna Mills). Tobie, who has recently returned to the Carmel area, is the woman he loves and their relationship develops well until further complications follow when Dave is told that Evelyn has been released from hospital.

Tobie is a very good natured character and her presence in the story is effective in emphasising the difference between her and Evelyn. Similarly, a sequence in which Tobie and Dave are together in the woods seems relaxed until the mood changes when it becomes apparent that Evelyn is also nearby.

The acting performances are consistently very good in this movie but Jessica Walter is outstanding in a role that requires her to be ultra scary. Her capacity to fly into a rage at the flick of a switch is startlingly good and the way in which she portrays the manipulative side of Evelyn's character also works well.

"Play Misty For Me" is full of surprises and contains a particularly horrific incident in which Evelyn attacks Dave with a knife whilst he's in bed. It's also top class entertainment and reflecting on the events that take place, leads to the inescapable conclusion that it must've been a powerful source of inspiration for the plot of Adrian Lyne's "Fatal Attraction".
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Definitely one of the best suspense movies ever.
awpangle20 December 1998
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 ****
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A Film That Launched A Sub Genre Years Later
Theo Robertson5 June 2005
Warning: 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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What a movie!!!
shafatqadri17 May 2009
Clint Eastwood never fails to amaze me. I have not seen a resume like what he has for an actor, a producer, a composer, a screenplay writer and a director, considering the fact he started off as a mere extra. Made his debut in 1955 as an actor and later turned into a producer and a director and is still going strong and looks fit for his age (Million Dollar Baby).

The beginning of the 1970s found Clint Eastwood either at or near the front ranks of actors who were considered sure box office, right up there with actors as diverse as Paul Newman and John Wayne. What caught a lot of people off guard in 1971, however, was when Eastwood, armed with the expertise he had gained working with Sergio Leone and Don Siegel, got into the business of directing. No one could have predicted that the Man With No Name would soon become the Man With A Big Name behind the camera. But that is indeed what happened; and his first effort both in front of and behind the camera was a winner: PLAY MISTY FOR ME Filmed in Carmel, California, 'Play Misty For Me' features Eastwood as a DJ at a local jazz radio station taking all-night requests.On a particular night he gets a call from a mysterious woman to "Play 'Misty' for me", referring to a classic Errol Garner song "Misty". As it turns out, that woman (Jessica Walter) has something of a fixation on Eastwood. Furthermore, when Eastwood meets back up with an old flame of his (Donna Mills), Walter's fixation takes a turn towards the psychotic.

At this time if you are thinking this sounds like Fatal Attraction starring Michael Douglas, you would be right. The plot is same somewhat but personally I like 'Play Misty For Me' more cause me being a huge fan of Clint Eastwood.

'Play Misty For Me' was not a perfect movie when it was released. There are a couple of awkward sequences that simply don't work at all in the film, but Eastwood recovers from such scenes and makes some very good and mature directorial choices as the film progresses.

Featuring of a cameo role from Eastwood's mentor Don Siegel as his local bartender, 'Play Misty For Me', despite some slightly misogynistic overtones, is an incredibly suspenseful work of film-making and shows the first glimpse of just how good Clint Eastwood would become both in front of and behind the camera.
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Play Misty For Me....
dworldeater7 July 2016
Play Misty For Me is the excellent directorial debut of Clint Eastwood and the third film in a trilogy of films in an experimental phase of Eastwood's career. I'm no fan of Paint Your Wagon, but the other two films in question (The Beguiled and this film) are very good and some of Clint's most interesting work. Play Misty For Me is a tense thriller in the same vein as Fatal Attraction, which Misty... no doubt had a big influence on. Clint Eastwood plays a laid back jazz DJ that gets a lot of action from the ladies. He tries to focus his efforts on one woman and a chance encounter with groupie Evelyn turns into a torrid affair that later turns his life upside down. Dave's (Clint) attempts to call off the relationship go awry and Evelyn starts stalking him an disrupting his life. Foxy lady Evelyn Draper(Jessica Walter) turns out to be the super fan from hell as events unfold to its violent climax. Clint gives an excellent performance and shows his more vulnerable side in this project. The direction is solid and the story flows together well. The camera-work is quite good as well. Clint does a fine job building tension and suspense in this Hitchcock like shocker. The jazzy score and wardrobes make the film dated to that specific period(late 60's/early 70's), but also gives the movie its own flavor and ambiance that separates it from similar styled films. Overall, Play Misty For Me holds up really well and was an original movie in its day, plus it shows Clint's ability to direct and range as an actor. Great film.
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Very correct presentation of a psychotic woman
m-wolkerstorfer15 December 2013
From my professional view (clinical psychologist) this film is a very well presented case study about a stalking woman, who is psychotic and psychopathic at the same time.

What Dave (C. Eastwood) does not recognize from the beginning is, that Evelyn has been loving him for a long time before they even met, through the radio (he is a DJ). And, what he should have done from the beginning is, that he should have said NO to her approaches, when he felt, he did not love her. Seduction is a strong weapon, many a man cannot resist and sometimes - or maybe even more often - is abused in one or the other way.

To make this a central issue in this film is very deserving, and, I fear, most often overseen, as this film's horror overwhelms the psychological implications for many a viewer.

Aside from that, a musical highlight is Cannonball Adderly and Joe Zawinul (who later founded Weather Report) at the Monterey Jazz Festival, but, what a pity, too short...
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A superb and oftentimes gripping thriller with fascinating character dynamics
TheUnknown837-120 February 2011
"Play Misty for Me" was the twenty-fourth movie that Clint Eastwood acted in, but the first one in which he also directed: something which, up until one of his more recent movies, "Gran Torino," become his trademark. After many years of watching closely how directors such as Sergio Leone and Don Siegel (who makes a cameo here) handled the movies in which he worked for them, he took his first shot. The result was "Play Misty for Me" a superb and oftentimes gripping thriller which inspired pictures like "Fatal Attraction" and for obvious reasons. It's an excellent, if sometimes uneven, piece of cinema. A remarkable first directing job for someone who learned by watching and observing a never attended film school.

Mr. Eastwood cast himself as a disc jockey who finds his number one fan, a silvery-voiced woman named Evelyn, frequently calling him on his show "play Misty for me." By chance, he happens to meet her and they have a brief, erotic affair. However, Evelyn (played magnificently and memorably by Jessica Walter) soon makes it apparent that she does not intend their relationship to end after one night together, even when one of Mr. Eastwood's former flames (Donna Mills) re-enters his life.

The most interesting character dynamic in "Play Misty for Me" is between, of course, Mr. Eastwood and Miss Walter. Both are very good, in control, and concentrated all throughout the running time of the film. Miss Walter is very much obsessed with staying in character, which results in one terrific performance, which won her a Golden Globe nomination. And a wise choice of Mr. Eastwood's was to not only cast himself, but in the role contrary to his usual screen personae. By this time, most people had come to associate with him as sneering Man with No Name or the cop in Don Siegel's classic "Dirty Harry." But instead of playing a tough, iron-willed man, he made the daring but exquisite choice of playing the disc jockey as a restrained, troubled, nervous man who can't find a way to explain anything properly, least of all to an obsessive one-night lover.

Like with that great 1987 thriller "Fatal Attraction," the movie takes a turn toward the thriller genre and in more ways than just psychologically. And as with the film I mentioned, it works as one of the picture's strengths. Taking an ordinary situation and escalating it into a probable, but exhilarating scenario. This is the sort of situation that would have made Alfred Hitchcock pleased and Mr. Eastwood handles it excellently. To keep it in an almost docudrama fashion, he shoots the movie without any remarkable, saturated lighting and oftentimes keeps the camera hand-held to make us feel like we are actually there.

"Play Misty for Me" was Mr. Eastwood's first time directing a motion picture, and sadly, it does show sometimes. Some of his directing is superb, showing the smooth and slick craftsmanship that would later evolve into one of the cinema's greatest, but some of it is also a little hampered, a little too experimental too soon. For example, there is a scene in which Mr. Eastwood and Miss Mills go for a semi-romantic walk through the countryside and it plays in a montage of distant shots fading into and out of each other. First of all, the looping is not particularly good, and the mishmash of scenes seems a little uneven with the dialogue. Sure, it is a first attempt, but we have to be fair here.

But as a whole, "Play Misty for Me" is a very involving, very entertaining and watchable movie and a very fine first directing job. Mr. Eastwood and Miss Walter are superb. As the ex-girlfriend, Miss Mills is sweet, charming, lovely, and convincing. Veteran John Larch (recognizable as the chief from "Dirty Harry") gives another fine performance playing yet another cop. James McEachin commands his unfortunately limited scenes with enthusiasm. Clarice Taylor is deliberately funny as the housekeeper. And in his first acting job, Don Siegel is surprisingly good.

The whole film is surprisingly good.
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Play Misty for Me: A Very Strong Debut
Baron Ronan Doyle5 February 2011
Despite Eastwood being quite certainly my favourite mainstream American director, I'd only ever seen his work from this current millennium (and '92's Unforgiven, but shh). Having seen the radical changes that can take place over a directorial career, I was a little afraid that Clint's earlier stuff might disappoint.

A late-night jazz DJ, Dave Garver is not unfamiliar with the ladies. When, one night after his show, he runs into Evelyn, the woman who regularly phones in to request he play "Misty" for her, it marks the beginning of a fanatical obsession on her part. As Dave tries to give her the cold shoulder and reunite with his former love Tobie, Evelyn becomes more and more determined to have the man she idolises.

Much as I avoided straying too far from the past decade's Clint output for fear of a lesser quality, my systematic run-through of his career both before and behind the camera demanded I eventually come to his early works. As his directorial debut, 1971's Play Misty for Me was the natural film to turn to. Having by then appeared in three films each for both Don Siegel and Sergio Leone, Eastwood learned from observation, founded his own production company, and insisted he be allowed to direct as well as star. And he fulfils both roles fantastically, showcasing himself as a consummate professional either side of the camera. In his performance as the near-womanising DJ, Eastwood is a combination of emotionally aloof in his dealings with Evelyn and sensitively sophisticated with Tobie. Though his harshness in dealing with his fanatic stalker is perhaps a little cruel, we like this character, his genuine attempts to regain the love of the woman he truly feels for endearing him to us despite the partial misogyny he exhibits. Jessica Walter, playing the role of Evelyn, is variously hilarious, terrifying, sympathetic, and indeed pathetic. The range of moods and emotions Walter manages is phenomenal, her sudden behavioral turns lending a manic freneticism to a character who is already quite well written. We cannot help but laugh as she neatly inserts herself into Garver's life, her inability to pick up his less-than-subtle hints quietly comic. She is doubtlessly the film's greatest strength, crafting a character that we fear, feel sorry for, and find annoying, often all at once. The plot requires a leap in faith at one point, rather stumbling in an upsettingly gaping hole, but this is a small worry in the grand scheme of things. As for Eastwood's direction, he does a very fine first time job, many scenes featuring the glorious darkened lighting he prefers and would later perfect with cinematographer Tom Stern. It is used well here, an interesting example in the articulation of the director's distinct style. Notable are the usages of jump cuts, twice employed here, rather surprising for Eastwood, and oddly evocative of the New Hollywood movement which was blossoming at the time. The more obvious of these two seems a reference to A Bout de Soufflé, bizarrely, not something I would have imagined among Clint's influences. Overall, the direction was controlled, confident, and far from the disappointment I feared it might maybe be.

A very strong debut for Eastwood behind the camera, Play Misty for Me is a classic thriller story which functions very well with the aid of its central performances. Walter's acting is particularly noteworthy, almost inescapably comparable to the later Oscar-winning and fantastic performance of Cathy Bates in Misery, which I just happen to consider it superior to. The first of an astounding 31 films directed in a 40 year period, the film holds up well to the director's many later masterpieces.
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play misty for me
Jeliosjelios26 December 2010
This is the first movie directed by Clint Eastwood. The first one in a long and talented series. Universal gave the agreement to Clint Eastwood to direct his first film from a story written a few years ago by a friend Jo Hiem. This film will be shot on naturals locations in under five weeks with a team of about 25 people for less than a million dollars as agreed financially. Its cost will be about $ 800 000.

The tone and rhythm specific to Clint Eastwood is quickly felt. This narration may seem somewhat soft and a bit long at first glance but it did nothing, because it still built on a strong history, strong story lines and the plot is perfectly still and reinforces characters who are the major elements of Eastwood's movies always very "human". Over here, this style of narration enhances the depth psychiatric Evelyn Draper played by Jessica Walter.

An interesting use of type of shooting is out on this first work. There are actually shots and panoramic with feet, shoulder camera, subjective views, plans and very "seventies" or originals These elements and their good use to create wealth realization.

We note from the foreground, a Hitchcock touch. A subject already explored by the master and who could be his indeed. It is true that this film is a suspense thriller background of psychiatry. But how to film some shots as coastlines, roads, action ... without forget to mention the tone and the overall pace of the plot and the action adds to achieving a certain Hitchcock key. This fact don't stop with the poster of the film in the unconscious of moviegoers back to Psycho. (A woman is brandishing a knife). This effect psychosis is immediately stopped by the photo just below of Clint Eastwood surprised and frightened on a pillow. This film has its own identity and is also a good right well "Eastwood" which is the solution.

Note the reassuring presence for Clint Eastwood and friendly to us of Don Siegel, the mentor director of Mr. Eastwood. Don Siegel made his first steps as an actor for a small role. Don Siegel parties are also photographed on the first day. That is, a reassuring for Clint Eastwood who also said "to see someone much more stressed than me on the first day of shooting". The experience gained in particular with Don Siegel and Clint Eastwood's talent enough to finish this movie with a good realization, a method acting and direction more than impressive and promising for a first film.

And note the good jazz soundtrack in the movie supported by the long sequence in the music festival, it sound very Clint Eastwood.

Although the story may lack depth and foundations, it easily gets trapped in the streets of this small California town and history experienced by these characters. A major work in the Clint Eastwood's career. A good movie, entertaining, fun and eventful.

View this movie without hesitations.

"And now we have a pretty one for lonely lovers on a cool, cool night. It's the great Erroll Garner and the classic misty and this one is especially for Evelyn."

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Great debut for Clint
michelerealini29 September 2005
"Play Misty for me" is the directorial debut of Clint Eastwood. At that time the Californian actor is becoming a big star, after smashes like the Sergio Leone westerns in Italy and a hit like "Where Eagles dare". The same year of this picture, 1971, he also makes his first "Dirty Harry" appearance directed by friend Don Siegel -who plays the role of a barman in "Play Misty for me"!

DJ David has a brief relationship with Evelyn, a woman who always listens to his radio program and always phones during the broadcasting -for asking the same piece of music, "Misty" by Erroll Garner. Evelyn is a psychopath person who develops a paranoia for David and begins following and scaring him. It's a rise of madness, until she tries to kill both him and his actual girlfriend...

The film has, in certain ways, the same plot as "Fatal Attraction" by Adryan Line, made in 1987 with Michael Douglas. But most of all it has an Hitchcock-like story. This first Eastwood self-directed feature keeps you on your seat; the drama is very well directed and well acted, not too violent as well. I mean, it's after all a believable story, where Clint is more human and more vulnerable than the characters he'll play in the following years. I also presume this is a relatively small budget movie, you can see it... but it's one of the main merits of"Play Misty for me". A genuine essential picture, where all the elements of thriller are there. Nothing more nothing less, and everything is extremely rich.
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Wow...21 days AND under budget....
MartinHafer4 June 2012
I was very impressed when I read the trivia for this film. It's Clint Eastwood's directorial debut...and he finished the film ahead of schedule and under budget--in only 21 days! I could see why he was called on many more times to direct--and it's a shame he's known more for an actor than director.

Eastwood plays a radio DJ. One night in a bar, he meets a young lady (Jessica Walter) and they end up spending the night together. She says there are no strings attached....but over time it's obvious that she is majorly obsessed with him. She pushes him VERY hard--and no matter how much he tells her to get lost, she won't take a hint. At first, it's all seemingly innocent but over time she begins to show a crazier and crazier side. As for the title, every time she calls in to his show, she says 'Play Misty for me'--as it's 'their' song. As time passes, the film begins to look more and more like "Fatal Attraction".

This is a very good film for a first effort from Eastwood. While the film has a few problems, overall, it's quite thrilling and suspenseful. Additionally, Jessica Walter did a great job playing an Erotomaniac--an individual who is convinced that a high-status person LOVES them regardless of all evidence to the contrary. There also is a strong degree of a Borderline personality--with SERIOUS anti-social aspects (heck, she's more than willing to kill--trust me on the diagnosis, it all fits). On the downside, I thought Eastwood's acting performance was a bit too subdued and cool considering what was happening to him. And I have no idea why the segment with the Roberta Flack music video and the visit to the Monterrey Jazz Festival was included except as filler--it was like an intermission and pretty weird. But overall, it's a nice little thriller.

By the way, for an even better film on the subject, try watching the French film "He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not"--a truly brilliantly written film that you just have to see.
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Despite minor flaws, a pioneer erotic thriller ... and a promising directorial debut ...
ElMaruecan8220 March 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Who would have guessed that a modest romantic thriller of the early 70's would have paved the way for a rich and admirable filmography? This is not to diminish the merit of "Play Misty For Me", Clint Eastwood's directorial debut, but to put the accomplishment into perspective, and realize how Eastwood proved he had great predispositions behind the camera. The movie doesn't have this 'masterpiece' feeling, yet it's a captivating film centered around a romantic song and a female psychopath, which has probably inspired more classic villains such as Alex Forrest and Annie Wilkes. "Play Misty For Me" is a good start for an excellent directorial work, and on its own, it's a satisfying and entertaining film.

Indeed, despite some technical flaws, I can even say I enjoyed "Misty" more than other 'superior' films. "Play Misty For Me" reminded me of movies like "Duel" or "Rosemary's Baby" which are not regarded as their directors' masterpieces, but managed to touch a particular nerve, mainly because they belong to the early work: they defined a style and didn't try to be defined … a mindset that generally provides good results, if the movie has a good story, good characters, and a little something that makes it enjoyable. And that's why it works for "Play Misty For Me": the story tells the misadventure of Dave, Clint Eastwood, harassed by Evelyn Draper, his number one fan and a woman so in love, she doesn't want to let him join his true love, Tobey, Donna Mills, whose innocence and sweetness contrasts with Evelyn's attitude, and makes Dave's preferences fairly understandable.

I mentioned Alex Forrest and Annie Wilkes, because I believe you can't watch this film without thinking of any of them. After "Misty", I wondered how and why Evelyn isn't remembered as one of the most memorable cinematic female psychopaths … the performance of Jessica Walter is so unbelievably believable- she's hot and scary, sexy and twisted- that you genuinely feel sorry for Dave, and even understand his acts … and that is due to the intelligence of the script. I insist on this because in most movies, the antagonist who seems nice, turns a 180 on his friends and then becomes evil for the rest of the film. In "Misty", Dave is worried but very patient, and when Evelyn tries to commit suicide in the bathroom, Dave handles this very calmly and it feels like a reconciliation. This proved that despite the B-movie feeling, the story is deeper than that. This depth is the strength of the film, what makes it a classic, because even as a viewer, I felt something for Evelyn before she reached her breaking point.

"Misty's" strength is also a small weakness because as a guy, I felt a strong empathy to Dave, I could understand how a man even in love with such a pretty doll like Tobey wouldn't be able to definitely break up with Evelyn … sometimes, the doll is almost dull, she's so loving and innocent she's definitely less interesting than Evelyn, but she's so naive and endearing we want to protect her … "Misty" is a man movie, where one female is the evil bitch, and the other, the baby doll we want to protect... and between them, the MAN. Seriously, I'm not afraid to admit that I had a big man-crush on Eastwood in this film, he oozed masculinity from beginning to start, and I think he's at the peak of his handsomeness and virility here … in a way, I couldn't blame Evelyn for wanting him so much. But yes, it's a guy film, not really misogynistic but a bit macho, I'm just putting myself in female audiences' shoes, while personally, it didn't bother me … Eastwood is Eastwood, and is the Man even with these ridiculous white panties … maybe the part with the gay man, was a bit cliché from today's perspective, but I guess it was an indirect way to emphasize that Tobey, whose environment is more artistic, needs a real man model.

Tobey is still an important character, she's the one who inspires Dave's desire to settle, her romance with him is so sweet, one can't be disturbed by the beautiful shots of them making love … some would complain that it's too long, I don't think so. I thought the jazz part was a bit too long, but this also didn't disturb me … in fact, it's a movie with casual flaws and a strong plot driven by great performances. This is why the enjoyment was consistent, never the erotic, nor the jazzy part felt overused. Besides, the music is a central element of the film, it's the legendary "Misty" jazz classic that started the relationship between Dave and Evelyn, and played a key role as many other thrillers songs: "Blue Velvet", "Sea of Love" etc., as to illustrate an erotic complicity between them, something that he doesn't share with Tobey. It's interesting that before the climax, it's precisely Tobey who asks Dave to play something for her, as if she was becoming her true love, a love in danger …

A danger characterized by this shrill scream that surprises us every time Evelyn appears with the knife or any cutting object. She's scary indeed, and this scream is like her villainous trademark … when I watch the film again, I can't help but think that maybe she would have been remembered like the villains she probably inspired, if these scenes have been handled more correctly. Nothing to really blame on the directing, the shock is here, and I don't think Eastwood had the pretension to make a masterpiece. It's still a great debut blessed by Don Siegel's cameo and embraced by an unforgettable villainous performance by Jessica Walter …

A thrilling romance, a romantic thriller, and a great directorial debut, "Misty" is an encouragement for Eastwood to "Make More Movies For Us" …
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Evelyn's one Scary Bird!
Warning: Spoilers
I am a fan of Clint Eastwood both as an actor and a director. Sergio Leone's 'Dollar' films range among my all-time favorites (especially "The Good, The Bad And The Ugly"), and Eastwood continued to be the epitome of coolness in "Dirty Harry" and its successors. His work as a director is impressive, "High Plains Drifter" (1973), "The Outlaw Josey Wales" (1976), and "Unforgiven" (1993) are my personal favorites of the films Eastwood has directed, and other films of his, such as "Pale Rider", or more recently "Mystic River" are also very impressive. Having expressed my respect and admiration for this great actor and director, I must say that his directorial debut "Play Misty For Me" of 1973 is slightly overrated, in my opinion. Not that it was a bad film - on the contrary: The film has some great elements. The performances are great, the locations impressive and I personally also liked the jazzy score a lot. Also, the 'stalking'-topic is interesting, especially for a time when stalking was not yet an issue as it is today. Nevertheless, I was a bit disappointed with "Play Misty For Me", not least due to its reputation as a cult-favorite and essential thriller of the early 70s.

Dave Garver (Eastwood) is a popular radio disc-jockey in Carmel, California. After picking up a seductive woman named Evelyn (Jessica Walter) in a bar, the womanizer's life is about to change. Evelyn, who has been repeatedly calling Dave on his show and requested the song 'Misty', soon turns out to be quite obsessive...

Clint Eastwood is cool as always. Donna Mills and John Larch are also very good in their roles. The best performance, however, is delivered by Jessica Walter, who is truly great and believable in the role of the psychotic and obsessed Evelyn. The locations are beautiful and impressive, and the score is very cool. What disappointed me a little was the fact that it wasn't as suspenseful as I had expected. Also, Eastwood throws in some superfluous elements that just make the film less interesting. To some people these sequences may seem ingenious, but even though I like the music in the film, I personally don't want to watch a concert (that has nothing to do with the plot) for about 10 minutes in the middle of a movie. All things considered, "Play Misty For Me" is certainly worth watching, and Eastwood fans should definitely give it a try. It is just a little overrated, in my opinion, and as far as I am concerned, Eastwood has directed films that are much better, such as the cynical and brutal Western "High Plains Drifter" of 1973 (which was his next work as a director, and one of his greatest). Even though "Play Misty For Me", is not one of my favorites from Eastwood, it is a decent film, however, and definitely recommended to his fans.
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