Play Misty for Me Reviews
"The scream you hear may be your own!"
An interesting, if poorly dated, thriller. The only reason that Play Misty for Me is a notable film is because it was Clint Eastwood's first directorial effort. If I look at the movie compared to what Eastwood would go on to make; this would be near the bottom. I'm not going to do that though because it would be unfair to this movie. By no means do I think that Play Misty for Me is really good. It has some entertainment value in all of the craziness of Evelyn, but it really isn't that good. As I said, it has dated extremely poor. There are tons of flaws in the film, from the acting to the editing.
Play Misty for Me follows a disc jokey named Dave who meets his number one fan. He hooks up with her, and believes that is all he signed up for. A one night stand is all he expected, but that isn't what Evelyn wants. She starts following him and interfering in his life. By now, we've seen this movie done many times over. It has pretty much been made into a whole new sub genre of thrillers. There are some good ones out there, and there are some piss poor ones out there. This falls somewhere in-between. I didn't think it was terrific, but it also isn't horrible. I'd lean more towards the bad side though. There's just too much wrong with it to overlook.
Looking back, this was a good experience for Eastwood. He got that first film under his belt, and back then it played to audiences well. Today, it just doesn't have that shock value it did then. It also isn't well made enough to still be considered anything other than average, at best. It does a few likable qualities to it though. I especially enjoyed how they pulled the very end of the film together. It made up for a lot of the middles mistakes. Worth the watch for the diehard Eastwood fan, but by no means should you consider this a must watch.
*NOTE: Maybe it's just me, but I've never seen Donna Mills look this good.
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" 4 and a half. "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.
Clint Eastwood stars as Dave Garver, a small town jazz disc jockey tom cats around town on a wave of popularity. But good old Dave is trying to change his ways and get back with his steady girlfriend Toby (Donna Mills). The problem is he's gotten involved with a fan who requests Misty nightly named Evelyn (Jessica Walter). Dave saw their relationship as a typical one night stand. Evelyn is more clingy than that. And a little more violent as he tries to juggle his new problem with his old flame.
Play Misty For Me represents Eastwood's first work behind the camera and shows that he had been studying a bit. Misty is a solid film that delivers it thrills with a cast that is above average. Eastwood and Walter really carry the film with Donna Mills over acting a bit in her damsel that doesn't know she's in distress role. For all of Eastwood's good direction, there are a few sequences that tend to show how green he was behind the camera, particularly the long winded Robert Flack and Monterey Jazz sequences that drag the film to a grinding halt. Thankfully, Eastwood gets the film back on track after these horrendous segments.
For a directorial debut Play Misty For Me is a solid piece of film making from Clint Eastwood. It's a film that was ahead of it's time in that it led the obsessed love interest craze that have filled cinemas by over fifteen years. It's also a representation of the first effort of a director whose career has exploded into better films as time has past. Yes, Misty is dated, but it's still a classic thriller that stands the test of time (wardrobe excluded).
There are also problems with Clint Eastwood's character, and some obvious vanity that he infused the project with (he spends about 20% of it missing his shirt). If you can suspend your disbelief, then it makes for a pretty damn good thriller. If not...this one's gonna drive you crazy. Crazier than Evelyn. That's pretty crazy.