A commentator recently described a speech as “Clint Eastwood without the chair”. That prompted me to pull out Play Misty for Me for the 384th time.
My experience with Clint Eastwood begins with his rowdy and petulant portrayal of Rowdy Yates in the TV cowboy series; “Rawhide”. He had a great squint even then.
Later, I loved his spaghetti westerns; A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and the monumental and rambling The Good, The Bad and the Ugly. Mr. Eastwood’s character in these films had no name so I just assumed it was an older Rowdy Yates in need of a shower. I wore a poncho myself for several years. I’m not proud of that but I did shower regularly.
Then he created Harry Callahan in the Dirty Harry films; talk about rowdy and petulant! But this time, he packed a lot more firepower. For you conspiracy fans, notice that Dirty Harry and Rowdy Yates have the same number of letters in their names. Hm-m. A clue?
The 1992 flick; Unforgiven is a great western. In it, Mr. Eastwood’s character is once more rowdy and petulant, but now also older and slower. He’ll either break yer face or break yer heart – you choose…are ya feelin’ lucky?
These films make me feel as if I’ve watched Rowdy Yates’ entire adult life in movies and enjoyed the hell out of it, though I’m not sure Rowdy enjoyed it as much as I did.
Play Misty for Me, interestingly enough, is not part of that same experience. This character (Dave) is not rowdy and petulant, he’s selfish and bewildered.
Random synapses firings from Misty;
- It strikes me how similar Clint Eastwood’s radio show in the film is to “Chris in the Morning” on the TV show; “Northern Exposure”. Of course there’s a degree of difference – about 70 degrees of difference.
- I also wonder if Adrienne Barbeau’s radio show in John Carpenter’s The Fog might be inspired by Mr. Eastwood. In my travels by car around Kentucky, I’ve caught myself scanning radio channels searching for Clint, Chris, and Adrienne. A little poetry on I-65 would relieve the pounding of the semi convoys.
- Donna Mills is luscious in her cuter’n-pup-turds pixie haircut. But I cannot get her “Knot’s Landing” character out of my head and I keep weighing who’s truly more dangerous; her or Jessica Walters?
- I have the similar issues with the amazing picture postcard shots of the Monterey Peninsula director Clint Eastwood employs in this film. Yes, the images are beautiful. Yes, I’ve visited the area AND read Kerouac’s tone poem in BIG SUR and know for certain the beauty of Monterey is not a trick of movie-making, it’s really there. But the cumulative effect of these shots keeps summoning the croonings of Rod McKuen recordings…not so good in a film of terror.
Unlike Rowdy Yates, this film doesn’t age well, but I love it.