January 2nd, 2012: Play Misty for Me (1971)

Cast and Crew: Dean Riesner (Co-Writer); John Larch, Don Siegel

What It’s About:  Dave (Clint Eastwood) is a disc jockey in Carmel, California whose regular caller always asks him to play Misty. One night, after work, he goes to his favorite bar where he meets Evelyn (Jessica Walter).  Dave and Evelyn strike up a conversation, then go back to Dave’s place, where it becomes clear that Evelyn was waiting for Dave to show up at the bar.  She’s the same fan that calls and requests Misty every night. Where most men might be taken aback by this, Dave continues on with what he thinks is a one night stand.  Dave seems ready to ditch Evelyn at any moment, but Evelyn is persistent, and Dave keeps relenting, resulting in a strung out, awkward relationship. When Dave’s old flame Tobie (Donna Mills) comes back and Dave puts his old ways aside for good, you can bet the Evelyn isn’t going to take the news lightly…

Why Watch it Today?:  Erroll Garner, the pianist who composed and played the title song, died 35 years ago today.  After seeing Play Misty for Me, Clint Eastwood’s feature film directorial début, you won’t be able to hear the song at night without looking over your shoulder.  It’s a tribute to Walter’s performance and Eastwood’s direction, and his willingness to make his own character flawed and arrogant, that the film works so much better than similar “obsessed fan/woman” films. 

Where to Get It:  Rent at Amazon or iTunes; your local library; Netflix (DVD)

Other Choices: Today is also the 38th anniversary of Richard Nixon signing the 55 mph speed limit into law.  Last year we recommended you watch  The Last Chase  in honor of the car chase films that followed in the law’s wake.

4 comments on “January 2nd, 2012: Play Misty for Me (1971)

  1. Chad Denton says:

    It always impressed me that as a director Clint Eastwood was willing to show himself playing such an unsympathetic protagonist.

  2. sakara says:

    director don seigal is somewhere in this movie?

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