Peacock Pick: Play Misty for Me (1971)

Currently streaming on Peacock: Play Misty for Me from 1971


Clint's directorial debut, Play Misty for Me, released the same year as the first Dirty Harry film, is an early entry into the slasher genre that still resonates. Eastwood plays Dave Garner, a late night jazz DJ in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, who is a playboy and has a one night stand, at least in his eyes, with devoted listener Evelyn Draper (Jessica Walter of Lucille Bluth/Arrested Development fame). 

Misty opens with a wandering aerial shot of the Carmel coastline as Dave coasts along the winding highway in his green 1957 Jaguar convertible, foreshadowing the film's grisly end as Evelyn's obsession with Dave quickly turns into creepy stalking familiar in numerous erotic thrillers featuring a woman scorned such as Fatal Attraction. Yet Misty is often more effective than the contemporary entries in this genre. Despite being nearly 50 years old, the celebrity fixations are still timely, especially in the age of social media and Walter's Golden Globe nominated performance still packs a powerful punch - she ratchets up the crazy and there is a general anxiety that permeates the entire film because Evelyn is a total wacko. Misty features one of Eastwood's most understated roles as he's dishing out wisecracks instead of bullets, svelte with long-hair, mutton-chops and groovy threads. As one extended sequence of the film is shot on-location at the Monterey Jazz Festival, Misty operates as a pleasant time capsule as we follow Dave who is a hip cat weaving through the counter-culture era. Set in a time before 'likes' and 'influencers,' Play Misty for Me is a refreshing thriller where our modern celebrities are now beginning to appear more desperate than their fans.


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