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Forgotten: Play Misty For Me (1971)


A brief fling between a male disc jockey and an obsessed female fan takes a frightening, and perhaps even deadly turn when another woman enters the picture.


That's right, Clint Eastwood's directorial debut was a horror film. Huh. As you may take from the synopsis, Play Misty For Me is a solid template for Fatal Attraction. Sweet lipped DJ, Dave, has a one night stand with Evelyn who becomes increasingly obsessed with him, and increasingly dangerous.

While the early 70's were largely littered with Christopher Lee and Vincent Price movies, Play Misty For Me strikes at the heart of the psychological horror. Eastwood also stars as Dave, the womanizing DJ. It's a brave leap for him, jumping cold out of his cowboy boots, just before his first turn as Dirty Harry. Eastwood does a solid job in the role - playing out the gentle giant well, as he towers over most of the rest of the cast, but never feels overbearing.

Scenes are stolen fast however by Jessica Walter (Arrested Development) as Evelyn, who convinces as the shrinking violet - all blushing and smiles, before turning on a dime to be a violent psychopath.

Behind the camera Eastwood shows little that is extraordinary - but as a debut is solid. His prowess  grows after this to the likes of Eiger Sanction only four years later. It's a great film, but sadly, while it has aged fairly well, the story line is now fairly trope with the like of Single White Female, and The Hand That Rocks the Cradle coming years later.

The only real flaw that the film suffers with is when the Automated Dialog Replacement (ADR) is used the actors (particularly Eastwood himself) are fairly stilted.

Play Misty For Me is an all round excellent film, with a great cast. It's both an excellent drama, and terrifying at times, and hits a home run at forty six.

Definitely one to see.

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