Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Play Misty For Me (1971)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Play Misty For Me (1971)

In actor/director Clint Eastwood's crime thriller - his directorial debut film - a suspenseful, thrilling tale of psychotic sexual obsession (" invitation to terror..."); it was advertised with the tagline: "The scream you hear may be your own!" and was one of the first female stalker films, an early precursor to Fatal Attraction (1987):

  • during the opening credits - beautiful travelogue-like coastal views (via helicopter) of Monterey Bay near the small town of Carmel, California, where cool-talking, womanizing, all-night DJ on the jazzy, blues station KRML, mellow-voiced Dave Garver (Clint Eastwood) (or "The Big D") promised listeners "five hours of mellow groove" and sprinklings of poetry; he soothed his audiences each night with: "This is Dave Garver with a little verse, a little talk, and five hours of music to be very, very nice to each other by"; he received regular requests to play "Misty" - the Erroll Garner jazz classic, from the same "groupie" - his # 1 fan - the seductive listener/fan Evelyn Draper (Jessica Walter); he would often give a breathy delivery when playing the musical dedications
Pick-Up Bar Acquaintance (One-Night Stand)
  • Dave first met with Evelyn in a local pickup bar, The Sardine Factory along Cannery Row in Monterey, after which they returned to his place for a no-strings attached one-night stand - before sleeping together, he told her: "I keep getting the feeling I know you from someplace" - and realized she was the mysterious voice who always asked: "Play 'Misty' for me"; he told her she was a "very nice girl," to which she responded: "But who needs nice girls?" as they were about to kiss; he also confessed that he was "hung-up" on an ex-girlfriend, so they mutually agreed not to "complicate" their lives by getting seriously involved; she assented to having sex: "That's no reason we shouldn't sleep together tonight if we feel like it"
  • unexpectedly, his blonde ex-girlfriend Tobie Williams (Donna Mills) returned from Sausalito to Carmel after 4 months away; she was struggling to make a living as an artist and sculptor, and was uncertain about reigniting their relationship: "I am not gonna get back on that same old merry-go-round again" - she had broken up with Dave (with a "whole Bette Davis, through-finished-kaput scene"), and was concerned about his lack of commitment to her, although they would slowly rekindle their love
  • Dave became disturbed by the increasingly-overbearing and obsessive behavior of psycho-stalker Evelyn, who dropped in on Dave unexpectedly and uninvited (with a bag of groceries to cook dinner), then shortly later stalked him outside the Sardine Factory, and later that evening appeared at his doorstep and dropped her fur coat - revealing her nakedness (and she remained overnight); he noticed she drew a heart in lipstick on his bedroom mirror with their initials
Stalker Behavior

Appearing Naked at Dave's Door

Lipstick Heart on Mirror
  • when Evelyn assumed they had a dinner date (when he specifically told her he would call her first), Dave was determined instead to have a "talk" with her: ("I'm just trying to be straight with you, that's all"); in their telling conversation, Evelyn revealed her borderline personality problems and developing jealousy, distrust and anger: ("Are you trying to say you don't love me anymore?...It's that other bitch, isn't it?...What am I supposed to do? Sit here all dressed up in my little whore suit, waiting for my lord and master to call?...You're not dumping me!"); he warned her: "Get off my back, Evelyn!", and she yelled at him as he drove away from her place: "Bastard! You poor, pathetic bastard!"
  • slightly later, she apologized and then before much time passed, she promptly accused him of being unfaithful (after spying on him when he was with Tobie) although there was no evidence of her sleeping at his place - she again apologized: "I'm sorry I mistrusted you. I know you'd never spoil it...what we have between us," Dave was furious and livid that she thought they had a 'relationship' - he reacted with a vehement denial: "We don't have a god-damn thing between us. Now how many ways am I gonna have to say this to you?"; feeling abandoned, Evelyn internalized the pain and attempted suicide by slitting her wrists in Dave's bathroom, and he was forced to care for her for a few days
Evelyn's Interruption of Dave's Business Meeting
  • in a striking scene, Evelyn disrupted Dave's business meeting in a bay-side restaurant when she burst in and accused Dave of unfaithfulness with white-haired Madge Brenner (Irene Hervey): ("Well, isn't this cozy? So this is your business lunch? How's business?...Just another trick, honey!...Is that your idea of a dish? My God, she's a little old for you, isn't she? What is this? 'Be Kind to Senior Citizens Week?'") - and then called him "a tasteless bastard"; he rose up, fought her off, and dragged her screaming out of the restaurant - creating a huge scene; he threw her into a cab as she reached out toward him: "I did it because I LOVE YOU, don't you understand?"; afterwards, he became more and more terrified and upset by her
  • Evelyn became increasingly volatile - she vandalized and destroyed his possessions in his home, and then she viciously slashed Dave's cleaning woman Birdie (Clarice Taylor) (that sent her to the hospital), and as a result, Evelyn was put away in a state sanitarium
  • during a long musical interlude montage sequence (to the tune of "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" sung by Roberta Flack), Tobie and Dave walked along the coastline and then found themselves embracing and making love in the nude in a heavily-wooded area
  • after she was released, Evelyn called again to request her Misty tune, but claimed she had been offered a job in Hawaii; she profusely apologized and promised Dave that she was cured, and as she said goodbye, she quoted from Edgar Allan Poe's macabre 'Annabel Lee' poem: "Because this maiden, she lived with no other thought than to love and be loved by you"
  • however, Evelyn was especially crazed upon learning that he had resumed his romantic relationship with his ex-girlfriend Tobie; in a horrifying scene that night, Garver was awakened in the middle of the night in his bedroom to the sounds of 'Misty' being played; Evelyn, now a possessive, obsessive, murderous psychotic stalker, appeared above him with a butcher knife ready to stab him - and she stabbed his pillow; he evaded her and saved his life, but she escaped
  • Dave informed police Sgt. McCallum (John Larch) that he had been terrorized: "She just paid me a visit with a butcher knife"; he was told, after the fact - about Evelyn's release: "She was released on parole pending further legal action...a week ago"
  • as the tension built, Dave feared for his girlfriend Tobie's life, as Sgt. McCallum was being sent to check in on her; in a chilling revelation, Tobie's recently-acquired new roommate emerged from the shadows in Tobie's living room - it was the crazed Evelyn (using the name Annabel - from Edgar Allan Poe's poem 'Annabel Lee' she had recited earlier); and then Tobie saw her roommate's wrist-scars and realized who she really was; Evelyn menacingly picked up a knife and approached Tobie: "God, you're dumb!"; at the exact same time at the radio station, Dave looked in an Edgar Allan Poe poetry book and found the poem 'Annabel Lee' and remembered Evelyn's use of the quote
  • to warn Tobie, Dave called her house, but Evelyn answered and said: "We're waiting for you, David" to lure him to the house; after switching to a taped show, Dave left the studio and raced to the house; at the same time in Tobie's house, Evelyn tied Tobie up as a hostage and terrorized her in the dark with a long pair of scissors, threatening to cut her hair: "Careful, I might put your eye out. I'll bet David loves your eyes. And your hair. Does he run his fingers through your hair? Have to get you all nice for David. For David. I hope he likes what he sees when he walks in here, because that's what he's taking to Hell with him"
  • in another truly scary and shocking sequence, as Sgt. McCallum approached the house, he was suddenly stabbed to death in the heart with the scissors by Evelyn
Sgt. McCallum's Stabbing Death
  • Dave arrived, found McCallum's dead body, and located Tobie bound and gagged on a bed where he was confronted by Evelyn from behind; he was again attacked and badly wounded by Evelyn; after being slashed many times, he punched her in the jaw, sending her through both the balcony window and the wooden railing and plunging her down to her death, onto a rocky cliff and into the ocean far below
Deadly Final Confrontation
  • in the film's ironic ending, after staggering back into the house and while comforting Tobie, the radio was heard in the background playing an earlier recorded tape of Dave honoring Evelyn's request to play Misty: "And now here's a pretty one for lonely lovers on a cool, cool night. It's the great Erroll Garner classic, Misty. And this one is especially for Evelyn" - as Evelyn's body washed away in the Pacific Ocean's tide

DJ Dave Garver ("The Big D") - "Play Misty For Me"

Evelyn Arriving at Dave's Home Unexpectedly With Groceries

The Return of Dave's Ex-Girlfriend Tobie to Carmel

A Straight "Talk" with Evelyn

"We don't have a god-damn thing between us!"

Feeling Abandoned - Slitting Her Wrists

Birdie Attacked and Slashed

At the Monterey Jazz Festival - Dave Learned Tobie's New Roommate Was Named Annabel

After Being Released from Mental Hospital:
Evelyn Called and Asked - "Play Misty for me"

Pillow Attack During the Middle of the Night

Startling Revelations: Tobie's New Roommate was Annabel/Evelyn - With Wrist Scars

Terrorizing Tobie With a Pair of Scissors

Ending Image: Evelyn's Body Washing Away


Greatest Scenes: Intro | What Makes a Great Scene? | Scenes: Quiz
Scenes: Film Titles A - H | Scenes: Film Titles I - R | Scenes: Film Titles S - Z