Play Misty for Me [1971]

Clint Eastwood (making his very assured directorial debut) is a poetry-spouting stud-muffin DJ stalked by a maniacally amorous fan after a misguided one-night stand in this enjoyably schlocky, undeniably effective film about good intentions gone murderously wacky. Although many of the very '70s trappings presented here may ultimately be too dated to be taken seriously (including a very self-indulgent jazz number and a hilariously gooey seduction number between Eastwood and Donna Mills), the core premise of infatuation taken out of bounds remains uncomfortably plausible--and was influential enough to be appropriated by one of the biggest hits of the '80s. (Here's a hint--it starred Michael Douglas, Glenn Close, and a very unfortunate bunny rabbit). A well-staged and occasionally very frightening thriller worth watching for Jessica Walter's peerlessly unhinged performance alone. Frequent Eastwood collaborator Don Siegel (director of Dirty Harry, Coogan's Bluff, and The Beguiled, to name but a few) has a nice cameo as Murphy, the mustachioed, chess-playing bartender. --Andrew Wright

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