Sunday, February 3, 2013

Fatal Attraction, Clint Style: Play Misty For Me (1971)

Play Misty for Me (1971)
rating: ***1/2
starring: Clint Eastwood, Jessica Walter, Donna Mills

When Disc jockey Dave Garver met up with a fan named Evelyn Draper, he also found out that she's the anonymous caller who kept requesting to play the song "Misty" for her. After a quick drink in the bar and one night in bed, Dave begin to see something unusual from Evelyn.

As she begins to stalk him, throw fits when she's ignored, grows insanely jealous with other women he meets (no matter what age), and even attack his maid, Dave tries his best to escape her grasp; but when Evelyn spots Dave reconciling with his girlfriend Tobie, he may have no choice but to fight for his and his girlfriend's life, or risk being knifed to death...

Mr. Eastwood's debut film as a director plays an early entry to the psychotic stalker-sub genre, and maybe an early influence to later slasher movies like The Seduction (1982), Windows (1982) or even the 1987 Bunny Boiler classic Fatal Attraction, concentrating on delivery, wise use of production and visual performance.

To be frank, this movie had a lot to answer for Fatal Attraction, which kinda odds me into being suspicious; both films work as a realistic depiction of stalking, wherein ordinary people like Eastwood's character or Michael Douglas' from the 1987 movie are pummeled into a bizarre and dangerous situation, making the character and the plot itself workable for a fair budget. Both films also tackled the effects of loneliness and obsession, each with varying levels of violent results. The only difference was that Play Misty for Me kinda plays more as a proto-slasher than a thriller like Fatal Attraction, practically more violent with scenes such as the maid attack and the climax where Evelyn threatens to murder anyone that gets in her way. Bodycount's pretty low though, but for minuscule budget stalk and slash thrills the film works.

I see this movie as more of Clint Eastwood straying from is badass persona he popularized by his Dirty Harry movies. His character's more vulnerable here, human if I may describe further, making his dilemma with a psychotic woman all the more understandably terrifying as you realize that this could and will happen in real life. (Frighteningly, I almost had one myself. It was an internet chat gone out of control when the girl I was chatting with began spamming me and sending me nude pictures. I wish I could say more, but I'll just stop myself before questions are asked...)

So with realism being the basis of this movie's thrill, I'm glad there's only a few drawbacks that could banter at. (some offbeat cheese here and there, Clint's character being too calm at some situation. No biggie) Bloody slasher or not, Play Misty for Me is a worthwhile thriller that fans can enjoy equally. If you're lonely tonight, or just wanna see Clint Eastwood solve a problem without using a gun, try this one for the night and see what could have been that one date with a chatroom gal you've missed last night...

1 male stabbed on the chest with shears
1 female falls to her death
total: 2


  1. Why the hell have I never seen this?!

  2. Great movie - thrilled to see Clint Eastwood appearing here at Sticky Red! You know, K, Dirty Harry's bad guy is a thinly disguised version of the real life serial killer Zodiac...maybe you should check that one out for the blog too...just sayin'...

    1. Mate. I consider Dirty Harry and Magnum Force as slasher films. They'll be here!