PLAY MISTY FOR ME
Reviewed November 25th, 2001 by James Thomas
Play Misty For Me, the original “Fatal Attraction” recently hit the DVD shelves, and being a movie that I always enjoyed, I had to have it. The movie has a very Hitchcock-like feel to it.
Clint Eastwood directs and stars as Dave Garner, an ultra-hip Jazz DJ for a Carmel radio station, who picks up a groupie by the name of Evelyn (played excellently by Jessica Walter), and gets to experience his own little slice of hell at her hands. Evelyn seems harmless enough at first, but we slowly get to see her unravel as her relationship with Dave doesn’t evolve in the manner she expects. We get to see some first class stalking and carnage before the final blowout, when Evelyn finally meets her demise. Jessica Walter is incredible as the schizophrenic Evelyn, definitely setting the example that Glenn Close followed a decade later when Fatal Attraction was made. Eastwood does a great job of directing and playing Dave, and then-newcomer Donna Mills, does an adequate job as Dave’s estranged girlfriend.
The film itself seems a bit dated, but that doesn’t detract from how cool it actually is. The cinematography is excellent, and the Carmel area is represented wonderfully. Clint does a great job of building the suspense and mystery up, and slowly peeling away the layers to reveal the real Evelyn; again, very Hitchcock-like. We even get a view of The Monterey Jazz festival during a pivotal scene in the film.
The 1.85:1 anamorphic image is ok; crisp and detailed, but there seems to be some major color oversaturation and contrast seems to be off. Like I said earlier, the cinematography is excellent, allowing the full beauty of the Carmel area to been seen (Carmel is one of my favorites places, so I really appreciate this feature). The sound is another story; the Dolby Digital 2.0 mono soundtrack seems thin and weak throughout the film. The sound isn’t particularly distracting once you get used to it, but I found it very noticeable at first.
The extras on the disc are great. The nearly hour long documentary regarding the making of the film (“Play It Again”) is excellent; we get to see a real inside perspective on the making of, with loads of artist interviews (all of the key cast members), interspersed with clips from the movie, behind the scenes footage, and even contracts related to the film that are still in existence. Very thorough and definitely interesting. Another feature is a comparison between “The Beguiled” and “Misty”; I personally didn’t enjoy that feature, and thought it could’ve been left off the disc. “Clint On DVD” is a very pro-DVD section in which Clint expounds on the virtues of DVD (it is nice to see an artist that sees all of the potential that the format has to offer). The photographic montage section is cool, just various stills from the movie, nothing too special though. “Clint Eastwood Directs and Acts” is just another photographic montage of behind the scenes pictures. “Evolution Of A Poster” is kind of a cool look at all of the photos used to make the Misty movie poster, and then examples of several of the movie posters themselves. Also included is the original theatrical trailer (very cool; sounds like it was narrated by the guy that did the Haunted Mansion voices at Disneyland), production notes, cast and filmmakers bios, film recommendations (I could do without those), and the DVD-ROM features were, for some reason, inaccessible on my computer.
I would definitely suggest purchasing this DVD; the extras alone are worth the price of the disc. The movie is a bonus on top of all of the extras, plus you get to see where the idea for Fatal Attraction (and when is that going to come to DVD???) came from.
You may never look at women named Evelyn the same way again.
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