Review: ‘Play Misty for Me’

When it's not serving as an overdone travelog for the Monterey Peninsula-Carmel home environment of star, producer and debuting director Clint Eastwood, Play Misty for Me is an often fascinating suspenser about psychotic Jessica Walter, whose deranged infatuation for Eastwood leads her to commit murder. For that 80% of the film which constitutes the story, the structure and dialog create a mood of nervous terror which the other 20% nearly blows away.

When it’s not serving as an overdone travelog for the Monterey Peninsula-Carmel home environment of star, producer and debuting director Clint Eastwood, Play Misty for Me is an often fascinating suspenser about psychotic Jessica Walter, whose deranged infatuation for Eastwood leads her to commit murder. For that 80% of the film which constitutes the story, the structure and dialog create a mood of nervous terror which the other 20% nearly blows away.

Walter gives a superior performance as an unusual woman whose eccentricities are killing. Eastwood has selected excellent support: John Larch as a detective who nearly solves the case; Clarice Taylor, outstanding as a housekeeper; James McEachin as Eastwood’s fellow-deejay on a (real) local radio station; Irene Hervey as a potential benefactor driven off by Walter’s insults and director Don Siegel as a friendly bartender.

Play Misty for Me

Production

Universal/Malpaso. Director Clint Eastwood; Producer Robert Daley; Screenplay Jo Heims, Dean Riesner; Camera Bruce Surtees; Editor Carl Pingitore; Music Dee Barton; Art Director Alexander Golitzen

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1971. Running time: 102 MIN.

With

Clint Eastwood Jessica Walter Donna Mills John Larch Clarice Taylor Don Siegel
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