PLAY MISTY FOR ME
Play Misty for Me shows Clint Eastwood taking a Hitchcockian turn. Play Misty for Me was quite an accomplished debut for Eastwood. While the plotting is fairly average, Jessica Walter gives a strong and scary performance that elevates the film. She demonstrates an excellent understanding of the manipulative games and sheer outright deviousness of stalker behaviour. There is a particularly well-sustained climax with her menacing Eastwoods girlfriend Donna Mills with a pair of hair-scissors: I hope Dave likes what he finds when he gets here because thats what hell be taking to Hell with him. The result is a modestly effective thriller.
While Clint Eastwood is fine as director, as a late-night DJ who shows his sensitive side by reading Edgar Allan Poe poetry to his audiences, he seems miscast to put it politely. Play Misty for Me could have worked well as an attempt to psychologically examine his own tight-lipped macho persona, but to the contrary the story only functions as something for him to drop his closed-off persona into. The character of Evelyn is only defined in terms of how she impinges on his laidback cool he lashes out at her because she presumes to come over without calling first, or just because she is too friendly and too playful. This is behaviour that could in another light seem not particularly disturbed or obsessive it would be not too hard to imagine any of this being conducted by a ditzy Sandra Bullock-type in a romantic comedy, for instance while his reactions could be interpreted as passive aggressive introversion. Eastwood is not interested in any self-analysis here and instead we have a film where he pushes a woman away because she doesnt understand what he perceives as his boundaries. In the macho terms that Clint Eastwoods persona of the time operates on, a woman invading his cave is something that is equated with disturbed psychology.
Play Misty for Me was later virtually stolen uncredited by the vastly overrated Fatal Attraction (1987). Play Misty for Me is set in Carmel, California, the town that Clint Eastwood later became the mayor of in 1986, and also features scenes set at the Monterey Jazz Festival.
Clint Eastwoods other films of genre interest are: the supernatural avenger Western High Plains Drifter (1973), the hi-tech fighter plane heist Firefox (1982), the oldsters in space film Space Cowboys (2000), the psycho-thriller Blood Work (2002), Changeling (2008), a true-life story about a missing child, a police cover-up and a serial killer, and the afterlife character drama Hereafter (2010). In acting appearances, aside from all the aforementioned, Eastwood has appeared in Revenge of the Creature (1955), Tarantula (1955), the talking mule film Francis in the Navy (1955), the twisted Southern Gothic horror The Beguiled (1971), up against a serial killer in his most famous role Dirty Harry (1971), the S&M psycho-thriller Tightrope (1984) and the Dirty Harry film The Dead Pool (1988).