Play Misty for Me: 30th Anniversary Edition (1971)

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Released 27-Feb-2002

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Play It Again...A Look Back At Play Misty For Me
Featurette-The Beguiled, Misty, Don & Clint
Featurette-Clint Eastwood on DVD
Gallery-Photograph Montage
Gallery-Clint Eastwood Directs And Acts
Gallery-The Evolution Of A Poster
Theatrical Trailer
Production Notes
Biographies-Cast & Crew
DVD-ROM Extras
Notes-DVD Newsletter
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1971
Running Time 97:54
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (64:39) Cast & Crew
Start Up Programme
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Clint Eastwood
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Clint Eastwood
Jessica Walter
Donna Mills
John Larch
Donald Siegel
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $24.95 Music Dee Barton


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
Portuguese
Danish
Finnish
Swedish
Norwegian
Italian
German
Dutch
Czech
Polish
Turkish
Hungarian
Bulgarian
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Play Misty for Me is the first film Clint Eastwood directed. He had acted in quite a few films by then, and he had been watching the directors of those films, seeing how they worked and what they did. Clearly he had been learning well, because this is an impressive effort for a first-time director. At the time, the studio was doubtful - they asked him to direct for nothing, but his agent negotiated a percentage, which turned out to be a good deal when the film was a success.

    This film inspired Fatal Attraction. That should give you some idea of the plot. Clint Eastwood plays Dave Garver, disc jockey and announcer on KRML, a small radio station in Carmel (this film was made in 1971, a long time before Eastwood became mayor of Carmel, but he was already well-known there). Garver has a regular caller who asks him to play Misty - a popular record made by Erroll Garner (who recorded a new version that we hear playing under the closing credits). One night he picks up a young woman, Evelyn Draper (Jessica Walter), in a bar, who turns out to be his regular caller. He makes it clear from the beginning that he wants a "no-strings" one-night-stand. She agrees, but that's not how things proceed...

    I noticed that one of the actors was credited as Donald Siegel - I was wondering if he was any relation to Don Siegel, the man who directed many of Eastwood's earlier films. Same guy. Apparently the studio, and Eastwood, felt a lot more comfortable with Eastwood directing if he had an experienced director nearby. Eastwood didn't need the help, though - as he has proven many times since, he is a natural director. The same cannot be said for Siegel's acting...

    The part of Dave Garver's ex-girlfriend, Tobie, the girl he is trying to re-establish a relationship with, is played by Donna Mills (yes, the Donna Mills renowned for that mega-soapie - this came before that). It is not a huge part, but it is important in providing Garver's initial reasons for shrinking from an affair with Evelyn. There's a beautiful montage sequence between Tobie and Garver, over Roberta Flack's The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.

    This film hasn't aged badly, despite being 30 years old. Some of the clothes look dreadful - Garver's shirts have huge collars on them, and some of the trousers he wears - eesh! This was the 1970s - not the decade that fashion forgot, more the decade that fashion would like to pretend never happened. Apart from the clothing, this story could happen today - I think that's the key - clothes have changed, but people haven't.

    In essence, this is a well-executed thriller, and one that inspired others. I recommend it.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The movie is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, and is 16x9 enhanced. This is the original theatrical ratio - it looks very nice on widescreen displays.

    The image is somewhat variable, ranging from quite sharp through to a bit soft (compare 50:19, which is soft, with 50:30, which is very sharp) - I suspect that this relates more to the source material, because the R1 disc displays the same variation. Shadow detail is generally very good. There's no low level noise, although at 13:14 there appears to be some - it is an artefact of the cross-fade between scenes. For once I want to draw your attention to a beautiful shot - look at 81:20.

    Colour is a little washed out (quite typical of 1970s film stocks), but fine - you can enjoy the bright colours of 1970s fashion without risk of permanent damage to your retinas. There is absolutely no trace of oversaturation or colour bleed.

    There are some film artefacts (understandable in a film over 30 years old), but they are fewer than I expected, and perfectly acceptable. There is some aliasing, but it is not troubling. There are no MPEG artefacts, but there's more than a little bit of mosquito noise. All up, this is a fairly clean transfer, but not a miracle of restoration.

    There are subtitles in 15 languages - I stuck with the ones in English, and they are fine: legible, accurate, and well-timed.

    The disc is single-sided (nice label) and RSDL-formatted. The layer change is at 64:39. It is visible, but not disruptive, taking place when there's no movement on-screen.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The English soundtrack is provided in Dolby Digital 2.0, but it is mono.

    Dialogue is fine. It is easy to make out, and exhibits no audio sync problems.

    The score comes from Dee Barton. In one of the supplements, Eastwood mentions that he needed an inexpensive composer after paying for Misty - Universal suggested he substitute a song that they already owned, but he didn't want to compromise.

    No surrounds, no subwoofer - this is a pure mono soundtrack.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    Quite a few extras here, but not all of them are what you'd expect.

Menu

    The transition into the menu is really quite pretty, with some nice dissolves. Once the menu is established, it is static with music. Easy to operate, and adorned with those icons that Universal use on some of their menus - they are supposed to help in some way, but I just find them a distraction.

Featurette - Play It Again - A Look Back at Play Misty For Me (49:23)

    This is the big one - a substantial documentary about the film and its making, made by Laurent Bouzereau (the renowned film documentarian). It was made in 2001, to mark the 30th anniversary of this film. This is well worth watching.

Featurette - The Beguiled, Misty, Don and Clint (6:14)

    This is a much shorter piece, with some overlap with the previous one, but interesting nonetheless.

Clint Eastwood on DVD (1:26)

    Eastwood giving us his ideas about DVD, and the preservation of movies in this form.

Photo Montage (3:54)

    This is a photo gallery, changing shots every 5 seconds, over music.

Clint Eastwood Directs and Acts (2:03)

    This is another photo montage - no real indication as to why this is separate from the other one.

Evolution of a Poster (2:39)

    Yet another photo montage - this one showing the evolution of the poster from original concept through a number of dead ends to the final result. Actually rather interesting..

Theatrical Trailer (1:43)

    Lots and lots of artefacts - this is good at showing what the film could have looked like...

Production Notes

    14 pages of notes about the making of the film - worth a read.

Cast and Filmmakers

    27 pages of bios for the actors and crew. There are bios for Clint Eastwood both as actor and director, but these lead to the same bio.

DVD-ROM Features

    I didn't review these, but apparently they include some script-to-scene comparisons.

DVD Newsletter

    A single page advertising Universal's newsletter at dvd.universalpictures.com.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    There are few differences between the Region 4 and Region 1 versions of this disc. The Region 4 version has many more languages. The Region 1 disc has an additional extra: Recommendations, which includes a trailer for Boogeymen - a compilation disc from horror movies. The Region 1 has one of those irritating ads at the start of the movie.

    The Region 1 transfer is a little sharper, but the difference is not large. You could easily be happy with either disc.

Summary

    Play Misty For Me is a classic thriller - an impressive first film for Eastwood as director.

    The video quality is good.

    The audio quality is good.

    There are lots of extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Monday, March 18, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

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