Play Misty for Me
This excellent DVD release of Clint Eastwood's 1971 directorial debut Play Misty for Me will please newcomers and longtime fans alike. Loaded with DVD extras, the movie's print has been cleaned up and returned to its original aspect ratio with a good anamorphic widescreen transfer. Beautifully filmed on-location by master cinematographer Bruce Surtees, the movie also serves as a love letter to the rugged California coastal town of Carmel. The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono audio track is excellent and the scenes set at the Monterey Jazz Festival are given new sonic life on this disc. There are numerous disc extras to select (though some of them are too slight to be worth mentioning), but by far the best is the hour-long look back at the making of the movie. Entitled "Play It Again: A Look Back at Play Misty for Me," it's full of interviews with Eastwood, female lead Jessica Walter (in an excellent, star-making performance), key producers, writers, and others. This documentary makes plain that Play Misty for Me set the stage for Eastwood's career as a talented, individualistic director who refuses to get sucked into Hollywood power games or pointless power trips. After this film, Eastwood continued to use little or no makeup for actors, naturalistic lighting, real locations over sets, rich jazz scores, and tight budgets. Made for well under a million dollars, Play Misty for Me was a big mainstream hit with general audiences that also earned praise from indie film godfather John Cassavetes. The DVD also features a too short featurette on Eastwood and famed action-suspense director Don Siegel. A mentor and collaborator, Siegel was even amusingly cast as a bartender, mainly so Eastwood could get help from him on the first couple of days of shooting (he ended up not needing any). Besides better-than-average production notes and movie stills, the disc also features a montage of potential poster art that ends with the finished product. As a side note, the disc also makes plain that Eastwood considers Fatal Attraction to be an uncredited remake of Play Misty for Me.