Play Misty for Me (1971)

play-misty-for-me

Eastwood’s directorial debut! A fucking cool thriller that sees Eastwood play a jazz DJ who gets targeted by a psychotic Jessica Walter after he gives her the cold shoulder following a one-night-stand. Watching Play Misty for Me makes you wonder why the hell they bothered making Fatal Attraction years later. It’s the same movie! This one is better.

Eastwood’s direction is as unfussy as you would expect. Though, like all first-time filmmakers, he can’t help but indulge in some zippy editing and montage sequences. Not to say this is a negative, in fact it’s fun to see Clint loosen up on the reigns a bit. I admire that Eastwood made something unexpected for his debut. He essentially plays the helpless victim here, giving Walter the real showy role. It’s the first time I’ve seen her not be Lucille Bluth and goddamn, what a revelation. The film has serious teeth and when Evelyn (Walter) lashes out the shards are really felt. I always like the way blood looked in 70s movies. It’s more like red paint. Totally unrealistic but pleasing aesthetically. Lots of it gets splashed on the walls in Play Misty, I’ll tell you that much.

I’ve been wanting to see this flick for years and it really delivered the goods. It’s characteristic of Eastwood’s style but shows it in the earliest, crudest form. You can feel Clint figuring things out behind the camera and the film is all the stronger because of that restless edge. You’ll never be able to hear “Misty” in the same way again.

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