A few random thoughts on Play Misty for Me:
I’ve been meaning to watch this movie since I was renting VHS tapes at Erol’s Video Club in Springfield. I don’t know how many times I’d linger over the VHS sleeve, read the description, and eventually put it back in favor of something I wanted to see more on that particular night. This is probably my number-one also-ran from those days.
I’ve also been more interested in watching movies from the 70s lately. Unlike the 80s, which I remember pretty well and when I watched a lot of current movies, the 70s is a time I was alive, but have little functional memory of. Snippets here and there, of course, but all from a child’s point of view. It’s interesting to get an adult perspective, even if it’s through the filter or a psycho-stalker suspense movie.
It’s melodramatic and over-the-top, and certainly a prototype for Fatal Attraction. (There’s even a Madame Butterfly reference.) Unlike Michael Douglas in that movie, Clint Eastwood’s jazz deejay character isn’t cheating on anyone here; he’s just a cad.
The woman who goes from groupie to stalker in no time flat is played by Jessica Walter, an actor who I never really took notice of until her turn as Lucille Bluth on Arrested Development. She’s effective in this, especially early on, in that she pretty naturally amps up Eastwood’s frustration level whenever she appears, and always manages to take charge of their conversations. Eastwood’s good, too.
BTW, if you ever wanted to see Young Clint walk around in his tighty-whities, here’s your chance.
A couple odd, peripheral scenes to mention: In one, Eastwood’s dejay buddy is about to smoke a joint. Clint declines the offer to share, asking him to do it in the other room so he can keep a clear head. Which manages to depict the drug use without it actually being on film, as the camera stays on Eastwood and the doorway during their conversation. Maybe it was a MPAA ratings thing?
Also, no surprise, but Eastwood’s love of jazz brings the plot to a dead stop for a little while, as we see ten minutes of footage of the Montery Jazz Festival. No complaints here; it’s a wonderful glimpse.
And finally, I have to mention that there’s one brief shot where you can see one of Jessica Walter’s boobs. Not entirely unexpected for this kind of movie (it’s actually pretty restrained in that regard), but nonetheless a strange moment, since to me she’s Lucille Bluth. I have never felt more like poor, conflicted Buster than at that moment.