21 July 2016

PLAY MISTY FOR ME and FATAL ATTRACTION: A DOUBLE DOSE OF FEAR FROM SANDRA HARRIS.




PLAY MISTY FOR ME. 1971. DIRECTED BY CLINT EASTWOOD. MUSIC BY DEE BARTON AND ERROLL GARNER.
STARRING CLINT EASTWOOD, JESSICA WALTER, JOHN LARCH, CLARICE TAYLOR, JAMES MCEACHIN, IRENE HERVEY AND DONNA MILLS. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

If this isn't a proper little horror story, I don't know what is. Guy meets girl, guy beds girl, girl gets the wrong idea totally. Girl won't leave guy alone, girl makes guy's life a living hell, guy starts to wish he'd never been born. I bloody LOVE this film. Heh-heh-heh.

It stands out a mile that it's the forerunner to FATAL ATTRACTION, the film with a virtually identical plot that came out nearly twenty years later. Starring Michael Douglas, Anne Archer and Glenn Close as the frizzy-haired stalker, it was one of the highest-grossing films of 1987.

Directed by Adrian Lyne, it was the movie that was supposed to frighten men everywhere into being faithful to their spouses or significant others. Sadly, nothing could ever really do that...!

Anyway, in PLAY MISTY FOR ME, Clint Eastwood is superb as Dave Garner, the handsome late-night radio DJ who lives in Carmel-By-The-Sea, California, and whose charmed life seems to be ticking all the right boxes. Good looks? Check. Nice bachelor pad? Check. Career going places? Check. Beautiful girlfriend? Check.

It's Jessica Walter I'd give the Oscar to, however. She's terrifyingly good at playing the woman who comes out of nowhere and sets her sights on Dave big-time. Dave's a great catch, after all, except for one teensy-weensy little technicality. He's not exactly free and single...

Dave's delicately pretty, free-spirited girlfriend Tobie, played by Donna Mills, is currently taking some time out from their relationship, and Dave's philandering. Yep, it would seem that other women are our Dave's Achilles heel. Even though he clearly has steak at home, he still insists on going out for the metaphorical hamburger nonetheless. Silly, silly Dave.

It was never really in doubt that he would take Evelyn Draper- that's the crazy lady- up on her tempting offer of no-strings-attached sex. She practically puts it on a plate for him. With garnish. No-strings my arse, though. Yes, strings. Loads of strings. More strings than the bleedin' London Philharmonic. And more fool Dave for not sensing that. Still, a standing mickey has no conscience, as they say, and they're not wrong.

The jazz DJ is immensely flattered that the woman who regularly calls into his late-night radio show asking him in a sexy, breathy voice to 'Play Misty For Me'- 'MISTY' being the old Erroll Garner classic- has gone to such lengths to track him down at the bar where he hangs out after work. What guy wouldn't be flattered?

It isn't long, however, before Dave is regretting letting what's snugly packaged in his unbelievably tight mustard-coloured early 'Seventies slacks rule his head. Suddenly Evelyn's coming round to his house with groceries, phoning him at all hours and turning up uninvited at his favourite watering-hole.

But Tobie, Dave's girlfriend, played by Donna Mills, is back in town and all Dave wants to do is to get back with her. I can't say I blame him. She's softly pretty and blonde and cute and sweet and nice, in other words everything that the awful Evelyn isn't.

Things take a sinister turn when Evelyn gets wind of Tobie's presence back in Dave's life. Dave can tell Evelyn it's over between them till the cows come home but she just ain't listening. She badgers him till he feels like he's going out of his mind.

She slits her wrists in his bathroom, making him miss a date with Tobie, who in turn naturally assumes that Dave is up to his old tricks. Evelyn ruins Dave's business meeting with a woman called Madge Brenner, thereby destroying his chances of getting the promotion he'd set his heart on. She mortifies the hell out of him during this incident and leaves him wondering if she's actually insane.

She trashes his flat and even stabs his cleaning lady, the wisecracking Birdie. All doubts as to Evelyn's sanity or otherwise are washed away...!

 Enter John Larch as McCallum, the sardonic cop who listens to Mantovani and who rubs Dave up the wrong way from the off. Dave needs McCallum, though, as things have gotten way, way out of hand. 

Evelyn is released on bail and goes into hiding, something which clearly shouldn't have been allowed to happen. A bad judgement call on the part of the California Police Department, methinks.

The film slows down then briefly. There are some great shots of the Monterey Jazz Festival. We see Dave and Tobie, whom he's obviously truly in love with, making slow, erotic love in the woods and beside a waterfall to the strains of Roberta Flack singing The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face. (We never see Clint's naked butt, though, the one flaw in an otherwise perfect film...)

Things don't remain mellow for long, as is the way of these things. After trying to stab our Clint in his bed- she's a stabby little thing, this one- Evelyn inveigles her way into Tobie's home by pretending to be her new house-mate. The terrifying showdown that follows sees someone stabbed to death with a pair of scissors in a style I usually call 'the Milton Arbogast.'

Fans of Alfred Hitchcock's classic horror movie PSYCHO (1960) will know what I mean. And getting shot in the eye means you're getting 'the Moe Greene Special,' à la the iconic mob movie THE GODFATHER. That bit's just for your information, haha.

Anyway, it's not hard to imagine that Dave The Stud will think twice before he cheats again. If I were him, I'd never so much as look at another woman again as long as I lived.

I remember reading once that the movie FATAL ATTRACTION made a whole generation of American men think twice about cheating on their spouses or significant others. I believe I mentioned something along those lines earlier.

I'm guessing that PLAY MISTY FOR ME had a similar impact on the cinema-going public. Putting the fear of God temporarily into straying hubbies and boyfriends. Frightening the bejeesus out of them, making them think that every woman they cheat with could be a potential homicidal maniac with a predilection towards playing with sharp knives.

Ah sure, what harm? Maybe it does a man good to be made to have a healthy respect for the possible consequences of his actions...? I'm just kidding, of course. I wouldn't wish an Evelyn Draper on my worst enemy, and I have a lot of enemies. I won't forget a single one of them. Mainly because I've got 'em all written down on my ENEMIES LIST. I keep it in my grocery shopping notebook.

I do wish you'd watch this film, though. It's a rollercoaster ride of genuine shocks, frights and thrills. Strap yourself in and be good. Always be good. Or Evelyn might just come tapping on your door...

FATAL ATTRACTION. 1987. DIRECTED BY ADRIAN LYNE. STARRING MICHAEL DOUGLAS, GLENN CLOSE AND ANNE ARCHER. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

Oh boy. We are gonna have some fun with this one. This is the film that made guys everywhere briefly ponder the consequences of infidelity with the wrong woman. I say briefly because, well, you know guys, they can't keep it in their trousers for long, haha. Sorry guys, but you know that's true.

It's the story of Dan Gallagher, a handsome young(ish) New York lawyer who has it all. A great job, good friends, a beautiful wife, an adorable six-year-old daughter, a gorgeous Labrador called Quincy (MD...?) and that's just for starters, the lucky sod.

To top it all, he's moving with his family from their apartment in the city to a fabulous house in the countryside. Oh, and they're getting a wascally wabbit for the kid as well. A perfect life? You got it. He'd be a fool to rock the boat, wouldn't he? He surely would.

Any-hoo, man being the feeble-minded simple creature that he is, led everywhere by his penis (prove me wrong, guys!) and unable to control his horny impulses, Dan decides to ruin his whole life by having a sexual fling with a work colleague while his wife and daughter are out of town one weekend. The opportunity is there and Dan grabs it (grabs her) with both mitts.

Thing is, though, the woman he chooses to 'bang' (her word!) is Alex Forrest, brilliantly played by Glenn Close. This is the worst decision he'll ever make in his life. And why's that? Read on...

Alex is a total wacko. A real nut-job. She makes those man-hungry, desperate SEX AND THE CITY chicks appear dignified by comparison. She has issues, mental problems, delusions and homicidal tendencies. Dan thinks they're having one-off sex; Alex thinks they're embarking on the first stage of a wonderful relationship. Ah, the eternal struggle between men and women...!

And when Dan tries to disentangle himself from the clingy and unstable Alex, she lets him know in no uncertain terms that she's not prepared to loosen her grip on her new married 'boyfriend.' Even if Dan has to lose everything else in his life in the process. She's got her razor-sharp claws into him now and she won't be persuaded to loosen her grip in the slightest.

I always crack up at the bit where Alex assures Dan that she's 'discreet.' Discreet, my arse! She's not discreet. She's its polar opposite. She doesn't know the meaning of the word. She wouldn't recognise discreet if it marched up to her waving a bloody placard with the word 'discreet' written all over it.

Still, if Dan's naïve enough to think that sex with women can ever be uncomplicated, or if it can ever really be no-strings-attached, well then, he kind of has it coming to him, don't you think? We women may promise no-strings-attached sex, but what we're really intending is to cocoon the guy in our clutches with more strings than flippin' Shelob's got. You'd think men would know that by now. Tsk.

I love the way the film highlights some of the important differences between Blokes and Sheilas. Has any man in history ever sat in the dark crying over a woman while Madame Butterfly played on the stereo on repeat? I very much doubt it.

Whereas women cry like that over guys all the time. I've done it myself. Five times. Today. Over five different guys, if you can believe that. I'm about to burst out crying again now any minute. Over a new bloke. He's blowing hot and cold on me. The reason this kind of moping and intense expenditure of emotion is pointless, however, is because the guy is almost never worth it. Trust me, I know.

And he's not sitting at home snivelling over us in return, either. He's off down the boozer with his mates, eyeing up the barmaid's tits and trying to decide whether to get a kebab or a spice burger on the way home. Believe me, he's not going to be doing any whinging or soul-searching.

Dan Gallagher is off bowling with his missus and their best friends while Alex is sitting at home feeling suicidal in that much-parodied scene. You see? It's never worth it in the end, is it?

The sex in the film is terrible. 'Tis woeful altogether. If a guy I was getting off with plonked my arse into a sinkful of dirty dishes and then splashed my face and hair with bleedin' tap-water, I'd brain him with the salad tongs. I like my sex in a bed. Lying down. In the dark. The way it's meant to be done. None of these spontaneous shenanigans for me and doing it standing up agin' the wall and suchlike. Nope. I'm a traditionalist in this respect, haha.

There's some mild nudity in the film, but it's not worth getting excited over. Glenn Close looks like she's been spray-painted to make her look unflatteringly sun-tanned in places and as white as a sheet in others. She has two-tone tits and a two-tone arse. It looks weird. 

FATAL ATTRACTION is a fantastic, nail-biting rollercoaster of a film with important life-lessons to teach us but, sadly, I've never found it remotely sexy.

Scenes to watch out for include the famous bunny-boiling scene and the bit where Dan comes home to find his 'girlfriend' sitting in his living-room chatting to his wife and drinking tea after getting a tour of his home, surely every bloke's worst nightmare.

Watch out, too, for the part where poor Glenn Close is looking in the window of Dan's new country home and sees Dan playing happy families with his, well, happy family, and also the tense, terrifying climax which has a nice horror element to it.

PLAY MISTY FOR ME (1971) is the original woman-as-crazy-stalker film and it's the film which definitely inspired FATAL ATTRACTION. Starring Clint Eastwood as the beleaguered guy, Donna Mills as his pretty girlfriend and Jessica Walter as the crazy-stalker-lady, it's well worth a look for comparative purposes. Plus, it's always nice to see a man coming face-to-face with the consequences of his careless, wiener-happy actions, isn't it? Bitter? Moi? Never...

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

 You can contact Sandra at:


http://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com







No comments:

Post a comment