Play Misty For Me: A Cautionary Tale
From his roots as the stranger with no name, to Inspector Harry Callahan, to various secret service men, to his turn in Gran Torino no one can deny that Clint Eastwood is an American icon.
It doesn't matter what taste you have in film, Clint has spiced them all either as an actor or as a director. In 1971 he was given carte blanche to fulfill his dream of filmmaking. The studio only asked for him to defer his acting wage which he did without a second thought. Eastwood's thriller was lensed in 21 days and marked a complete departure from all the work he had accomplished previously. Clint delved into the world of obsession and penance seemingly without effort.
Clint's onscreen persona Dave is a locally famed radio D.J. who has had his ample fill of women, to which he left them all in the dust, except for Tobie (Donna Mills). Dave believes he has finally reformed, he's willing to give up his playboy ways and settle down to a nice monogamous relationship. The only problem is his last fling is completely crazy and will stop at nothing to make Dave her mate.
Jessica Walters (known later as Lucille Bluth from Arrested Depelopment) plays the insane Evelyn with perfection. Walters is able to pull off a split second shift between hysteria and tranquility multiple times in the film. Clint is his normal stoic persona until Jessica burrows her way inside him. Upon first viewing it is very easy to side with Dave, to feel sympathy for his dilemma, and while Dave tries to do the right thing at every turn one should never forget that his problem with Evelyn is his penance for his once carefree sexual attitude.
Play Misty For Me is at it's core a cautionary tale for men. Dave's former flame Tobie, whom he's reforming for provides us with Dave's back-story by telling us that she had to runaway because she was growing jealous of all the other women coming and going. Dave's revenge is received cold in the form of Evelyn. Only after he has decided to end his philandering does Evelyn come into his life as a temptation - a siren if you will. This time the girl cannot be tossed aside and while we sympathize with Dave, he gets exactly what he deserves. If you haven't seen Play Misty, then you need to.