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Play Misty for Me (1971) - Blu-ray Review

Movie Review

4 starsThe obsessed fan/love interest movie is a well-trodden one nowadays, with some truly stellar entries in the sub-genre (Misery, Fatal Attraction) and some truly awful ones; but one, to my surprise, that is rarely brought up is one of the earliest on this subject.

Hot off a stellar 1971 with The Beguiled and Dirty Harry, Clint Eastwood finally took the plunge on a long desired turn directing his first feature. His choice was the relatively small budget script called Play Misty For Me, a tome written by Jo Heims. Eastwood would play Dave Garner, a DJ who garners the attention of an ardent fan who repeatedly requests he play the song Misty. Young, successful, and not committed to anyone yet, Dave comes upon a beauty, Evelyn (Jessica Walters), in a bar and does what a carefree man does when her advances come his way. However their mutually carefree encounter quickly becomes a burden to Dave, and when he tries to set an increasingly clingy Evelyn straight, matters turn desperate then deadly.

This is a by the numbers thriller, adeptly crafted by Eastwood, that is effective and does provide a sense of dread and the occasional fright.  It houses at least one Golden Globe nominated performance (from Walters), and has within it some of the efficiency in filmmaking that Eastwood became renowned for, but isn’t without some flaws. Seen through modern eyes, the idealism of the Garner character and the plot that asks the audience to sympathize with him, skirts on misogyny. The Evelyn character is a well performed nutter, but a little simplistic. But the worst element, albeit with the Roberta Flack song The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face played over it, is a scene that’s supposed to denote Garner moving on. Instead it’s a filtered soft lens overdrawn sex scene of the era that only succeeds in cutting the rising tension and destroying the pace. The finale is satisfying and to Eastwood’s credit this was a different kind of character from the tough guys he was known for at the time.

The film made just over ten times its budget of (insert Dr. Evil voice) 1 million dollars and went down well with critics of the time. I think its greatest distinction is it proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that Clint Eastwood was a director to be watched, and boy have we been treated to some classics since this.

Of all the stalker type films that have hit since 1971 this one can still run rings around most. If you haven’t seen it yet, I strongly recommend watching Play Misty For Me.


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Film Details

Play Misty for Me (1971) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime: 102 mins
Director: Clint Eastwood
Writer: Jo Heims, Dean Riesner
Cast: Clint Eastwood, Jessica Walter, Donna Mills
Genre: Thriller
Tagline: The scream you hear may be your own!
Memorable Movie Quote: "You haven't got the faintest idea of what love is, we don't even know each other."
Theatrical Distributor: Universal Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date: November 12, 1971
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: November 10, 2015
Synopsis: 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.


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Play Misty for Me (1971) - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray Review


Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Universal Studios
Available on Blu-ray - November 10, 1971
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles: English SDH
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0; French: DTS 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Region-free playback

Picture ain’t great, in short. The MPEG-4 AVC encode again, as is pretty standard with hi-def transfers, provides richer colour than previous attempts, but there has been little done to clean the picture up; just a substandard filter that robs the original picture of some detail and makes and already deliberately soft picture all the more so.

The DTS-HD 2.0 sound mix is much better. Although not a modern level mix, dialogue is crisp and the balance of music and talking (or screaming in Evelyn’s case) in the front speakers is excellent. With one exception, this copious looping of actor’s voices in long shots sticks out like dog’s balls.



While highly recommended, it is sad that there are no commentaries for the film.

Special Features:

Special Features: Are pretty good. You get a near hour long doco as well as a handful of micro featurettes and a trailer. Worth digging through.


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Play Misty for Me (1971) - Blu-ray Review