Play Misty for Me (1971)

Had no idea DJ’s were always getting so much nookie.

Dave Garver (Clint Eastwood) is a sly and cool California disc jockey that has an easy job, easy life, and is pretty easy when it comes to the women. But, it’s all fun and games with him until one lady he spends the night with (Jessica Walter), ends up wanting more than he expected and now his life is ready for a whole new shake-up. Which is to say that the lady herself is pretty darn coo-coo for Coco Puffs.

If there is one thing I have to give Clint Eastwood credit for, it’s that the guy decided not to make his directorial debut this big, expensive piece of mainstream trash that he could have easily gone crazy with because of all the money that would have been tossed his way. Instead, the guy went for a more low-key, smaller-scale type of film that doesn’t even really seem like he spent all that much money on in the first place so if there is anything I have to commend Eastwood for with this film, it’s that the guy knows how to save money and knows how to keep things low and small.

Sadly, none of that matters when you look at the final-product and realize that Eastwood made some junk. Big budget or not, garbage is still garbage.

"I told you! "All Request Saturday" on is, Saturday. Not Tuesday!"
“I told you! “All Request Saturday” on is, Saturday. Not Tuesday!”

One of the main reasons why this film sucks so hard is because nothing is shocking here at all. We have all seen this type of thriller done before, done in the same exact order – guy bangs girl, girl thinks it’s more than just a simple one time thing, girl starts stalking, girl starts to get even crazier, and by the time the guy knows it, she’s attacking him with a kitchen knife aimed at his throat. Basically, it’s the type of dream every dude wants to have, without actually having it be real, so I guess that’s what makes it somewhat scary, is that this could literally happen to any person who dips their pen into the wrong ink. That said, the movie’s so campy, it almost feels like a joke half of the time; like it literally is just coming from Eastwood’s own fantasies that he probably still performs to this day.

And honestly, if you’ve seen something like Fatal Attraction, or any erotic-thriller ever made, you know exactly how this movie’s going to get started, move on, and then end. There’s hardly any surprises here, nor are there actually any fun moments to be had. Sure, it’s sort of like a horror movie, and it’s even a little bit of a thriller, but there’s not much of either elements to be found here. For the most part, it’s just a whole slew of scenes in which Clint Eastwood tries his hardest to get out of having to have sex with this one gal, each and every night. May have been fun for Clint himself, but for the single, angry viewer looking on, it can be a bit irritating. Not because that viewer wants to be Clint, but because the movie they’re watching blows.

And also that they want to be Clint Eastwood.

Not talking about me, by the way.

But once you get to thinking about the decade it was made, things get a whole lot worse. Everything from the music, to the lines, to the wardrobe, to the look of it in general, are all dated and at times, incredibly laughable. The gal that gets all nutso after Clint has sex with her and leaves her, has some of the most ridiculous lines in the whole film, just so that we could see how deranged and unstable she truly. Personally, I got it pretty quick: Lady’s crazy, so beware. But the movie did not stop there and just kept on giving poor Jessica Walter, horrible lines to work with.

Love to wake up to that every morning.
Love to wake up to that every morning.

Granted, it’s pretty neat seeing Jessica Walter, pre-Lucille Bluth days, but her performance here is insane. That’s clearly the point, but after awhile, it becomes to turn into something of a parody; almost as if Clint just told her to keep yelling at the top of her lungs and stick her tongue out as much as possible. Maybe it worked for those who saw this way back when, but now, it’s excruciating to watch. Like most movies from the 70’s, except that this one features literally a five-minute montage of Clint and an old-flame of his, kissing, making love, skinny-dipping, and doing it all to sweet tunes that sound exactly like a poor-man’s Kenny G. Honestly, I think I could have gone a whole two hours or so without seeing Clint Eastwood’s bare-naked bum, but hey, I guess the guy really wants to get his point across: He’s a hot mofo.

Speaking of Clint, as an actor, the guy is fine and does a nice job with his d-bag character but after awhile, you don’t really care for the guy. He’s just a dick that stuck his thing in a woman, decided that he didn’t want it from her no more, and then gets stuck with the fact that he may get killed for that one night stand. Yeah, it’s a sucky situation for the dude but it didn’t make me care about him any more and just left me with an empty-protagonist that didn’t have much to him other than a stern, smooth voice, and a body that ladies just die for. Notice how I am talking about Clint Eastwood in the early 70’s. Now, in the year 2014, not so much. But hey, he is somehow capable of reeling in the ladies, despite his age or what he may have turn out to be.

Consensus: It may have chilled viewers back when it first came out, but in the 21st Century, Play Misty for Me has not aged well one bit, which is mostly thanks to most of Eastwood’s lazy decisions as director and how conventional the material turns out to be, without ever being just simply put: “Fun”.

1 / 10 = Crapola!!

Clint be like, "don't curr."
Clint be like, “don’t curr.”

Photo’s Credit to: Goggle Images


  1. Interesting take on a 43 year film. If you had seen it back in the day, then you would have been more impacted. DJs actually played records, and people listened to the radio because there was no cable TV, pc’s, internet, mobile phones, or DVDs. Whatever mistakes or missteps Eastwood made, and he did make some, this was his 1st directorial effort – and if you watched the film with the same limited options as people had in 1971, you may have been more ‘involved’ by the events on the screen then than you are today.

    But to your credit – you did take the age of the film and its era into consideration. As I recall, after seeing this film in 1971, I didn’t think it was fun either, but then, I didn’t expect it to be fun.

  2. I went through a Clint phase where Clint films were all I was watching, and I have to say this one was good for a few gaffaws, but yeah, it does blow. I didn’t mind seeing his bum… lol

    • Yeah, he’s got plenty of movies and this may be his worst I’ve yet to seen. Although I know there are many more out there just awaiting for me to see.

  3. Great review, but I respectfully disagree. To me, this is a relative classic in the psycho hookup genre, from which most every other movie copies this template. It is definitely dated now, terrible “effects”/opening credits, and there are some scenes that Eastwood should have left out. I love jazz, but 10 minutes of screentime for a festival?

    I guess what I am saying is that when I think of sexual hookup movies gone bad, I always think of this one and have fond memories of it. Man I sound old haha.

    • I agree with Moviemanjackson, we’ve all seen this kind of film before…but not before 1971. Play Misty was the template, not the other way around. So even though this film is severely dated, you got to give it the credit it deserves.

      • I give it credit for being the first of its kind. But, that being said, it’s still a pretty bad movie. At least in my eyes, that is.

  4. Haven’t seen this one in a loooooong time. I definitely liked it more than you but it certainly hasn’t aged particularly well. Still I think it fits in its time very well.

  5. I liked this film, but I didn’t find it especially scary or suspenseful. I just liked its performances and storytelling. Also, I had a bit more sympathy for Clint’s character, but that may be because I’m not as averse to seeing his butt! It’s refreshing to read a review of an older film which isn’t faux-nostalgic and overly reverential. That scene with Eastwood nailing his girlfriend in a park was, I admit, completely gratuitous. I kept expecting the camera to slowly reveal a shocked family having a picnic.

  6. I haven’t seen this one so I can’t say how it holds up. I will say that now I’m interested to find out for myself. A few of my favorites are from that era, including myself, so I’m curious how I’ll react to it. Cool review. And yeah, DJs always got a lot of nookie.

  7. Wow. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you give a movie a 1/10 before. Solid review,I’ll avoid this one.

  8. Yeah this sounds like the kind of film that could annoy me pretty quickly. I love Jessica Walter, though. This sounds like just a much more hysterical version of Lucille Bluth or Malory Archer.

    I might pass on this one man

  9. Interesting take, I started this a few years back and decided after a few minutes to give up. I think what you have to bear in mind, being as dated as it is, it started a sub genre for sexual predator/horror films which just did it tonnes better. I think I need to have more patience and see it through this time.

  10. Disagree on this one. It is dated for sure and it is a product of it’s time, most definitely but as thrillers go I felt it was pretty darn effective for it’s time. Had cool characters, a bat-shit crazy fan, cool music, suspense and don’t forget that funky dialog. Eastwood’s direction was solid and you can kind of see where he eventually goes with pacing and build up. Sorry you didn’t care for it. Goop post, Dan!

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