Play Misty for Me
Play Misty for Me, originally released in 1971, marked Clint Eastwood's directorial debut, and as well as directing, Eastwood also stars in the film as Dave Garver. After this film, Eastwood would go on to direct twenty-one more, including the recent Space Cowboys, as well as Absolute Power and Bridges of Madison County. Also starring in the film are Jessica Walter (Evelyn) and Donna Mills (Tobie). It is also interesting to note that the movie was filmed and set in Carmel, California, which Eastwood lived in and became mayor of in 1986.
Dave Garver is a popular jazz disc jockey that repeatedly gets requests from a female fan to play "Misty" for her. One night after his show, he goes to Murphy's bar, a place he gives frequent mention to on his program. There he meets Evelyn, who reveals herself to be the woman who requests "Misty." Dave tells her that he's in a relationship, but Evelyn insists that the two sleep together with no strings attached. Dave agrees, and leaves the next morning. Later on though, Evelyn comes over to his place with groceries determined to make lunch for him, and while Dave accepts, he becomes slightly worried. Tobie, his old girlfriend, is back in town, and Dave wants to re-start their relationship and make a serious go of things with her. However, Evelyn refuses to let things end between her and Dave and becomes increasingly violent, as she's determined to make Dave love her…or die trying.
Even though Play Misty for Me is highly regarded as one of the top films in the suspense thriller genre, I had overlooked it until now. However, when it came up for review, I was glad to correct this oversight. And it's a good thing, as Misty is a terrific film. Though it was Eastwood's first time directing, viewers will be hard pressed to notice, as everything looks and comes together great. The acting is all top-notch as well, especially on the parts of Eastwood and Walter. Though the movie slows down in the second half, it really is a great film that no fan of the genre should miss.
Play Misty for Me is presented in 1.85 anamorphic widescreen. The transfer is much better than I expected, with only some smaller specks and marks, as well as some shimmer. It is also slightly soft in a few scenes. There is some light grain, though it is mostly confined to darker scenes. The last scene at the end has quite a bit of grain, much more than in any other scene in the film. Colors are natural throughout and flesh tones are accurate. Blacks, more often than not, are suitably rich, though in a few scenes with grain, they are a bit too light.
Play Misty for Me is presented in Dolby 2.0 Mono in English, French, and Spanish. Both the film's score and the dialogue in the film are clean and easy to understand with no distortion that I detected. Optional captions in English are also included.
Universal has added quite a few supplements for the film, the biggest of which is Play it Again…A Look Back at Play Misty for Me. Running almost fifty minutes in length, it features lots of interviews with Eastwood, Walter, and Mills. Each discusses their character and motivations, as well as how they approached their role. Eastwood also talks about how Misty was shot and how he chose the cast and crew for the film. The featurette is quite informative and definitely recommended viewing for those interested in the film. Next is The Beguiled, Misty, Don, and Clint which runs about five and a half minutes. Robert Schickel (film historian & critic), Robert Daley (producer), and Eastwood talk about both Beguiled and Play Misty for Me, as well as the relationship between Don Siegel and Eastwood. Then there's Clint Eastwood on DVD which runs about one and a half minutes, and features Eastwood explaining why he likes the DVD format. A Photograph Montage is next, which runs almost four minutes and has tons of close up photos of Eastwood, Mills, and Walter on the set of Misty. Clint Eastwood Directs & Acts is another photograph montage, though the focus here is on Eastwood. The various pictures on the set as he both directs and acts runs almost two minutes. Evolution of a Poster is a montage of both photo ideas for Misty posters as well as actual concept poster art, and this feature runs two and a half minutes. Also on the disc is the film's trailer, production notes, a promo spot for Boogeymen, movie recommendations, nine cast and crew biographies and selected filmographies, and bonus DVD-Rom features.
Universal has provided a great presentation and some terrific extras for Play Misty for Me. No fan of the film should miss this, and those who are new to the movie should definitely give it a look, especially if they're a fan of the genre or the actors involved. Highly Recommended!