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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Movie Review - Play Misty for Me

Play Misty for Me (1971)
Starring Clint Eastwood, Jessica Walter, and Donna Mills
Directed by Clint Eastwood
***This film is currently streaming on Netflix***

Play Misty for Me is one of those movies I heard about long ago and just never got around to watching.  Thrillers have always been my favorite genre -- they may not necessarily be the most cinematically deep, but they have always provided me with a lot of enjoyment (hence the Hitchcock Festival on this blog a few years back).  For some reason of another, I had heard of this 1971 Clint Eastwood-starring flick and when I saw in pop up streaming on Netflix, I instantly added it, finally getting around to watching it the other day.

Loyal readers know that I am no fan of Clint Eastwood's directorial oeuvre.  I find him annoyingly heavy-handed, not all that innovative in his by-the-book techniques, and -- perhaps worst of all -- boring.  When I saw Clint Eastwood's name pop up as the director of this, I immediately began to worry I was in for a rough ride.  However, while it's amazing to me that Eastwood has two Best Director Oscars on his mantel, he proves to be adequate enough at the helm of this -- his first directorial venture.  Yes, it reeks of late 1960s/early 1970s cinema -- groovy music montages and all (including an incredibly awkward and uncomfortable sex scene in a California forest set to Roberta Flack's "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face") -- but it's an enjoyable little flick, albeit a bit too long (but that just shows that Eastwood has always had a problem in the editing department).

A precursor of sorts to Fatal Attraction, Play Misty for Me is a tale of a one-night stand gone horribly awry.  Dave (Eastwood) is a California disc jockey whose smooth voice coupled with smooth jazz has him rising in the ranks on the local airwaves.  One night after work, Dave heads to a local bar where he meets a woman named Evelyn (Jessica Walter, best known to me for her work in Arrested Development) and proceeds to have what he thinks will be a one night only roll in the hay.  Little does Dave know that Evelyn is a tiny bit off her rocker and won't stand for the fact that Dave's former girlfriend and "the one who got away" Tobie (Donna Mills) has just moved back into town.

While there's no boiling of rabbits, the comparison to Fatal Attraction is quite apt.  While that 1980s Glenn Close-starrer is a better film, Play Misty for Me is a pleasant enough genre flick that works despite overstaying its welcome and being and a bit too obvious for its own good.

The RyMickey Rating:  C

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