Play Misty for Me (1971)

R | 102 mins | Drama | October 1971

Director:

Clint Eastwood

Producer:

Robert Daley

Cinematographer:

Bruce Surtees

Editor:

Carl Pingitore

Production Designer:

Alexander Golitzen

Production Companies:

The Malpaso Company, Universal Pictures
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HISTORY

The opening credits include the following written acknowledgment: "Gratitude is expressed to Jimmy Lyons for The Monterey Jazz Festival with The Johnny Otis Show and The Cannonball Adderley Quintet.” Although some contemporary and modern sources refer to Clint Eastwood’s character as “Dave Garland,” he is called “Dave Garver” in the film. Play Misty for Me was the first film directed by Eastwood and the fifth picture made by his production company, Malpaso. According to modern sources, Eastwood purchased an option on Jo Heims’s original treatment for the film in the mid-1960s but could not interest any studios in producing it. When Heims received an offer from Universal, Eastwood agreed to give up his option so that the studio could purchase it.
       A 22 Apr 1968 HR news item noted that at the time Universal bought Heims’s story, Jacque Mapes was assigned to produce it. In Sep 1968, DV reported that Universal was in discussions with Lee Remick to star in the picture. According to a 30 Apr 1970 HR news item, Ross Hunter was interested in obtaining the property, which he intended to produce for under one million dollars. An earlier Nov 1969 HR item noted that Hunter was contemplating casting Dana Wynter in the film.
       On 8 May 1970, Eastwood and Universal announced in DV that the studio and Malpaso would be co-producing Play Misty for Me . Modern sources report that the screenplay, which was originally set in San Francisco, was rewritten by Dean Reisner at Eastwood’s request, and that the location was changed to Carmel, ... More Less

The opening credits include the following written acknowledgment: "Gratitude is expressed to Jimmy Lyons for The Monterey Jazz Festival with The Johnny Otis Show and The Cannonball Adderley Quintet.” Although some contemporary and modern sources refer to Clint Eastwood’s character as “Dave Garland,” he is called “Dave Garver” in the film. Play Misty for Me was the first film directed by Eastwood and the fifth picture made by his production company, Malpaso. According to modern sources, Eastwood purchased an option on Jo Heims’s original treatment for the film in the mid-1960s but could not interest any studios in producing it. When Heims received an offer from Universal, Eastwood agreed to give up his option so that the studio could purchase it.
       A 22 Apr 1968 HR news item noted that at the time Universal bought Heims’s story, Jacque Mapes was assigned to produce it. In Sep 1968, DV reported that Universal was in discussions with Lee Remick to star in the picture. According to a 30 Apr 1970 HR news item, Ross Hunter was interested in obtaining the property, which he intended to produce for under one million dollars. An earlier Nov 1969 HR item noted that Hunter was contemplating casting Dana Wynter in the film.
       On 8 May 1970, Eastwood and Universal announced in DV that the studio and Malpaso would be co-producing Play Misty for Me . Modern sources report that the screenplay, which was originally set in San Francisco, was rewritten by Dean Reisner at Eastwood’s request, and that the location was changed to Carmel, where Eastwood lived and could easily scout filming sites. [Eastwood owned a popular Carmel restaurant for many years and was elected mayor of the town in 1986, serving one, two-year term.] An 8 May 1970 HR news item noted that in addition to producing and supplying the services of Eastwood as an actor, Malpaso would be responsible for casting the two leading actresses and other major roles.
       As noted by contemporary sources, the picture was filmed on location in Carmel and Monterey, CA. Actual sites in Carmel included radio station KRML and The Sardine Factory. According to a modern interview with Eastwood, no sets were built for the picture, which was filmed entirely on location, either outdoors or in existing buildings. Actual footage of the Monterey Jazz Festival was included by Eastwod, a longtime jazz aficionado. In an interview published shortly after the film’s release, Eastwood stated that Universal originally wanted him to use the song “Strangers in the Night” instead of Erroll Garner’s rendition of his instrumental “Misty,” but Eastwood felt that “Misty” was more appropriate, even though obtaining its rights was difficult. In a modern interview, Eastwood noted that it cost $25,000 to purchase the rights to Garner's composition, and that at Eastwood's request, Garner re-recorded a new version of the song, adding string instruments, which was played at the end of the picture. According to modern sources, Eastwood insisted on the inclusion of the song “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” sung by Roberta Flack, which is heard over a montage of Dave and “Tobie Williams” spending a romantic day together. Although the song initially had been released in 1969 to lackluster sales, after the film opened, the song became a major hit and helped to promote Flack’s career.
       According to modern sources, the film was shot in four and a half weeks for a modest $750,000. [Some sources list the final budget as $950,000, however, and the Var review stated that the picture was budgeted at $1,242,000.] Although some modern sources report that Eastwood completely waived his salary as an actor and director in order to get the film made, in an interview for the film's 2001 DVD release, Eastwood states that he accepted the minimum Screen Actors Guild and Directors Guild wages in order to persuade Universal to provide funding for the film. With the picture’s box-office success, Eastwood’s percentage of the gross eventually paid him more than his normal salary would have. The film received generally good reviews, with Var calling it “an often fascinating suspenser,” and the MPH reviewer stating that Eastwood “demonstrates talent for developing the drama’s edge-of-the-seat potential.”
       Although some contemporary sources referred to actresses Donna Mills and Jessica Walter as “newcomers,” Walter had previously appeared in a number of feature films, while Mills had made one feature, The Incident , in New York. Walter received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Motion Picture Actress—Drama for her performance in Play Misty for Me . The picture marked the last film appearance of actress Irene Hervey (1909—1998). Although director Donald "Don" Siegel had made cameo appearances in two of his earlier films, the picture marked his film acting debut. Siegel, a longtime friend of Eastwood, had directed him in three previous Malpaso productions, including the 1970 release Two Mules for Sister Sara (see below). In Siegel and Eastwood’s next film, the 1971 Malpaso production Dirty Harry , when the character played by Eastwood chases some bank robbers, he passes a movie theater advertising Play Misty for Me on its marquee. Play Misty for Me also marked the first director-cinematographer collaboration between Eastwood and Bruce Surtees, who was also a frequent collaborator of Siegel, first as a camera operator on Two Mules for Sister Sara and then as a cinematographer on The Beguiled (see above).
       Modern sources add Robert S. Holman ( Policeman ) to the cast. Many modern sources have commented on the plot resemblance between Eastwood’s film and the 1987 Paramount picture Fatal Attraction , which also featured a woman seeking revenge on her lover after being rejected by him. The latter film was directed by Adrian Lyne and starred Michael Douglas and Glenn Close. In 2000, Will Smith's Overbrook Entertainment announced its intention to film a remake of Play Misty for Me , but as of summer 2006, the project was still in development. In 2001, Universal released a thirty-year anniversary DVD of Play Misty for Me , and to commemorate the DVD’s release, the city of Carmel instituted a popular “Magical Misty Tour” of some of the filming sites throughout the city. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
27 Sep 1971.
---
Daily Variety
20 Sep 1968.
---
Daily Variety
8 May 1970.
---
Daily Variety
9 Oct 1970.
---
Daily Variety
13 Sep 1971.
---
Films & Filming
Apr 1972.
---
Hollywood Reporter
22 Apr 1968.
---
Hollywood Reporter
6 Nov 1969.
---
Hollywood Reporter
30 Apr 1970.
---
Hollywood Reporter
8 May 1970.
---
Hollywood Reporter
14 Sep 1970
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Sep 1970.
---
Hollywood Reporter
18 Sep 1970
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Oct 1970
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Sep 1971
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
17 Oct 1971.
---
MFB
Mar 1972
p. 57.
Motion Picture Herald
10 Nov 1971.
---
New York Times
4 Nov 1971
p. 52.
Newsweek
22 Nov 1971
p. 120.
Saturday Review
27 Nov 1971
p. 73.
Variety
15 Sep 1971
p. 6.
Variety
24 Sep 2001.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Jennings Lang Presentation
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Scr
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Asst cam
Asst cam
Gaffer
Stills
ART DIRECTOR
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Painting by
Props
COSTUMES
Mr. Eastwood's ward
MUSIC
Orig mus
VISUAL EFFECTS
Titles & optical eff
MAKEUP
Cosmetics by
Makeup
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr supv
Dial coach
Unit prod mgr
Transportation capt
Auditor
Loc consultant
Unit pub
SOURCES
MUSIC
"Misty" composed and performed by Erroll Garner, by arrangement with Octave Music Publishing Corp.
"Squeeze Me" by Duke Ellington.
SONGS
"The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face," music and lyrics by Ewan McColl, sung by Roberta Flack, produced by Joel Dorn for Atlantic Records
"Hand Jive," music and lyrics by David Lanz and E. Lightborn.
DETAILS
Release Date:
October 1971
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 20 October 1971
Production Date:
began 15 September 1970
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures & The Malpaso Company
Copyright Date:
19 October 1971
Copyright Number:
LP41088
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex Recording System
Color
Technicolor
Widescreen/ratio
1.85:1
Duration(in mins):
102
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
22846
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Compulsive womanizer Dave Garver, who is a disc jockey at jazz radio station KRML in Carmel, California, is taunted by his fellow deejay, Al Monte, when Dave receives yet another request from a female fan to play Erroll Garner's jazz classic “Misty” for her. After the poetry-loving Dave finishes his shift, he goes to his usual hangout, The Sardine Factory, run by his pal Murphy. Seeing an attractive woman sitting at the end of the bar, Dave and Murphy play a nonsensical board game to get her attention. Her curiousity piqued, the woman comes over and introduces herself as Evelyn Draper. Evelyn laughs when Dave reveals his ploy, and they go to her home, where she confesses that she came to the bar to meet him. Dave then recognizes her voice and realizes that she is the fan who calls him every night with the request "play 'Misty' for me." Although Dave warns Evelyn that he is “hung up” on another woman, she is unconcerned and spends the night with him, with the stipulation that they will not “complicate” each other’s lives. Soon after, Dave is working at home when Al drops by, but they are interrupted by the appearance of Evelyn, who is carrying groceries. Assuming that Dave had a date with Evelyn, Al leaves, although a nonplussed Dave admonishes her for arriving so unexpectedly. Evelyn is cheered when Dave mentions that she should call “next time,” however, and he lets her stay the night. Later, while driving through Carmel, Dave learns that artist Tobie Williams, his former girl friend who left town four months earlier, has ... +


Compulsive womanizer Dave Garver, who is a disc jockey at jazz radio station KRML in Carmel, California, is taunted by his fellow deejay, Al Monte, when Dave receives yet another request from a female fan to play Erroll Garner's jazz classic “Misty” for her. After the poetry-loving Dave finishes his shift, he goes to his usual hangout, The Sardine Factory, run by his pal Murphy. Seeing an attractive woman sitting at the end of the bar, Dave and Murphy play a nonsensical board game to get her attention. Her curiousity piqued, the woman comes over and introduces herself as Evelyn Draper. Evelyn laughs when Dave reveals his ploy, and they go to her home, where she confesses that she came to the bar to meet him. Dave then recognizes her voice and realizes that she is the fan who calls him every night with the request "play 'Misty' for me." Although Dave warns Evelyn that he is “hung up” on another woman, she is unconcerned and spends the night with him, with the stipulation that they will not “complicate” each other’s lives. Soon after, Dave is working at home when Al drops by, but they are interrupted by the appearance of Evelyn, who is carrying groceries. Assuming that Dave had a date with Evelyn, Al leaves, although a nonplussed Dave admonishes her for arriving so unexpectedly. Evelyn is cheered when Dave mentions that she should call “next time,” however, and he lets her stay the night. Later, while driving through Carmel, Dave learns that artist Tobie Williams, his former girl friend who left town four months earlier, has returned. Dave insists on talking with Tobie, and she explains that she could no longer endure waiting for him every night, wondering if he was with another woman. Dave assures her that he has been attempting to change, and states that although her series of eccentric roommates at her isolated Carmel Highlands home irritated him, he wants to resume their relationship. Tobie agrees to consider his proposal but cautions him that she needs time. Soon after, Dave is at The Sardine Factory when Evelyn calls looking for him. Dave signals Murphy to tell her that he is not there, but when Dave leaves, he finds Evelyn waiting in the parking lot. Again made uneasy by Evelyn’s bizarre behavior, Dave refuses to take her out, although in a few days, she again shows up at his house without phoning first. Dave is forced to let her in when she takes off her coat, revealing that she is naked, and once inside, she seduces Dave again. As she leaves the next day, she invites him to her house for dinner, but he replies that he will call her. Dave then goes to work, where he makes a demonstration tape for Madge Brenner, an influential radio-station owner who is interested in hiring Dave for a prominent San Francisco job. A few days later, Evelyn calls Dave to chide him for forgetting their date, and an irritated Dave soon arrives, determined to tell her that their relationship is over. Dave becomes infuriated as Evelyn sobs that she loves him, then screams violently at him as he leaves. When Dave returns home, Evelyn calls, begging him to forgive her, but he hangs up on her. Later, Dave spends more time with Tobie, and the increasingly forgiving Tobie makes plans to go to a party with him the following evening. That night, however, an hysterical Evelyn arrives at Dave’s, waking him because she believes that Tobie is with him. Surprised to find him alone, Evelyn calms down, but when Dave demands that she leave, Evelyn goes into the bathroom and slashes her wrists. Dave calls a friend, Dr. Frank Dewan, to tend to Evelyn, who has not been seriously injured, and Frank reluctantly agrees not to notify the police. Evelyn overhears as Frank cautions Dave to keep her calm, and easily manipulates Dave to let her stay by making him feel guilty. The next evening, when Dave attempts to leave to see Tobie, Evelyn pretends to have a nightmare, and Dave is forced to stay with her, thereby standing up Tobie. In the morning, Dave’s feisty maid, Birdie, finds him asleep on the couch. Evelyn has taken Dave’s car into town to buy groceries, and while she is out, she secretly has a copy of Dave’s house key made. Meanwhile, Dave receives a call from Madge, who wants to have lunch with him and discuss the new job. When Evelyn returns to Dave’s, he explains that he is on his way to a business luncheon. As Dave and Madge are eating, however, an irate Evelyn arrives and hurls insults at Madge. Dave drags her out of the restaurant into a waiting cab, but when he returns, he finds that Madge has departed. Dave then goes to Tobie’s and confesses his situation to her. While Dave is gone, Birdie returns to his house and discovers that Evelyn has destroyed the furnishings and is in the process of cutting up Dave’s clothes. Surprised by Birdie’s appearance, Evelyn slashes her repeatedly with a knife. Dave arrives as Birdie is being taken away in an ambulance, and the police, led by Sgt. McCallum, are questioning Evelyn. McCallum is irritated by Dave’s lack of knowledge about Evelyn, but assures him that she will receive psychiatric help. As time passes, Dave and Tobie reconcile, and months later, attend the Monterey Jazz Festival, where Tobie mentions that a new roommate, Annabel, will be moving in with her. That night, Evelyn calls Dave as he is working, and, explaining that she has been released from the sanatorium, tells him that she is in San Francisco, on her way to Hawaii. She asks him to play “Misty” for her, which he does, but later that night, he wakes up to hear the song playing in his bedroom. Dave moves just as Evelyn attempts to stab him with a butcher knife, and she escapes before he can catch her. Shaken, Dave calls McCallum, who reveals that Evelyn had been released pending further legal action. McCallum presses Dave to remember Evelyn’s exact words when she called him, especially the line of a poem that she quoted. Dave then warns Tobie that Evelyn has returned, and the next night, although Dave would rather be guarding Tobie, McCallum instructs him to stay at work, so that the police can trace the call if Evelyn telephones him. In order to reassure Dave, McCallum drives to Tobie’s house to check on her, and after he leaves, Dave remembers that the poem Evelyn quoted was Edgar Allan Poe’s “Annabel Lee.” Realizing that Evelyn must be Annabel, Tobie’s new roommate, Dave puts on a pre-recorded tape of one of his old shows and rushes to her home. By the time Dave arrives, however, Evelyn has murdered McCallum and bound and gagged the terrified Tobie. As Dave attempts to free Tobie, Evelyn attacks him with a knife; although wounded, Dave succeeds in fending her off before she disappears. Dave searches the house for Evelyn, and when she attacks him again, he pushes her through a large window overlooking a cliff, sending her falling to her death. As Dave frees Tobie and they stagger from the house together, the pre-recorded tape plays Dave’s dedication of “Misty” to Evelyn. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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