Play Misty for Me (1971)

PLAY MISTY FOR ME (1971)
Article 3277 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 6-9-2010
Posting Date: 8-4-2010
Directed by Clint Eastwood
Featuring Clint Eastwood, Jessica Walter, Donna Mills
Country: USA
What it is: Psycho thriller

A DJ has a brief fling with an obsessed female fan, but the woman begins intruding on his life. He soon discovers that the woman is insanely jealous, mad… and homicidal.

Clint Eastwood’s fame probably wouldn’t have suffered one bit had he never decided to take up directing; however, he did, and in doing so, developed a career perhaps more distinguished than his acting one. This was his first directorial effort, and though it has a few problems, for a first effort, it is excellent. A strong script and an excellent performance by Jessica Walter are what really make this one work. Jessica’s psycho is the stuff of nightmares; she uses every trick in the book to worm her way into the DJ’s life, and you can feel his frustration when his attempts to break off with here result in only more shrill, spiraling madness. I love the moments in the movie where it doesn’t feel the need to explain or show certain things; you can figure out how the woman knew which bar to go to to meet the DJ without being told, and you don’t need to see her eavesdropping on the phone when the DJ takes a call from his girlfriend. It’s also fun to see director Don Siegel as the bartender. The main problem with the movie is the pacing is occasionally off, and the movie comes to a screeching halt about three-fourths of the way through the picture before picking up with the finale. Eastwood himself does a decent job as the DJ, though I don’t think he would have been my first choice for the role. Still, this was an auspicious directorial debut for Eastwood.

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