Reviewed by: Greg Mueller

Greg's Score:









Production Design






Emotional Impact



Play Misty for Me does a lot of things right; a lot of important things right. Play Misty for Me also gives hints that this is Eastwood's directorial debut and that he wasn't quite in his groove yet. Easily, Jessica Walter is the best part of this movie (had I not looked her up, I'd have had no idea that it's Lucille Bluth) without question. Her character has some creative flaws, but every line of hers is spot on. We kind of unravel from there. The core story is a lot of fun and it takes a few turns that I wasn't ready for (it was probably even more novel in 1971), but the pacing is pretty terrible in a few places. Eastwood and Walter's relationship makes no sense. I understand the obsessed fan angle. but we go from zero to sixty way too fast for it to be logical. The movie seems to think we have a background for these characters, but we really don't. Eastwood has a former love return and the entire time I feel like I'm missing thirty minutes of exposition explaining who she is and who she is to Eastwood; why should I care about her? Her importance to the plot is clear, but I hesitate to even call her a character, as she has no real personality and we learn nothing about her. Walter's character has almost the opposite issue, with her coming on way too fast and too hard. It's not a spoiler to say that the obsessed fan is going to go crazy; that is right there in the trailer. I was just hoping for something more subtle and gradual. There is never a point where we are getting hints that something isn't quite right with her or little bits of foreshadowing that something is wrong here. Play Misty for Me just skips from the meet cute into crazy woman with no foreplay, no slow burn, no ramping up. This part of the story really needed more room to breathe. While that plays out too fast, we get a very long sequence of Eastwood and his old love traipsing through the forest, skinny dipping, and such that feels so out of place. It just goes on and on and there is no reason for these scenes to even exist. It's like fifteen minutes of fluff, of filler, and it really drags the movie down. Although the movie is kind of repetitive, I felt like it was flowing pretty nicely in every scene that doesn't involve Eastwood's old love. We're rushing the stuff that I want to see and spending an inordinate amount of time just watching Eastwood and her be together with no character or relationship development, no drama, and no story purpose for even existing. It doesn't help that these are two of the weakest acting performances in the film. Clint Eastwood is a great actor, but he doesn't have a huge range. While his directing was capable, he just was not a good fit for his role as the lead here. He's still doing his tough guy gravel whisper voice and it doesn't work for this character. The only emotion I'm ever reading from him is anger and the role needed an actor more suited for a dramatic role and not an action one. Clint Eastwood is great in the right roles, but this was not one of them. He is trying at least, which is more than I can say for Donna Mills. There also is an extended sequence filmed at the real life 1970 Monterey Jazz Festival that, again, really has no place in the film and goes on way too long. Story wise, there is no real reason for them to be there and certainly no reason spend so much time focusing on the festival instead of the characters. Both sequences I mentioned came off like someone had too much creative control and really wanted a sex scene and really wanted to show off some extra Jazz. Even though I hate Jazz, if you would have plugged anything else in there it would still be a waste of time for this film. You could replace it with my favorite band performing my favorite song and it still wouldn't validate it's spot in the runtime; this is a story about Eastwood and Walters, Jazz is the soundtrack but it doesn't need to be a character. As a whole film, Play Misty for Me was enjoyable and exciting most of the time, but Eastwood's inexperience as a director shows and the screenplay needed retooling.