Sunday, May 3, 2015

"Play Misty for Me": What If Evelyn Didn't Really Die?

Last night I watched Play Misty for Me (dir. Clint Eastwood, 1971) as part of the Seventies Retrospective I find myself in. 
I felt I should know the actress who plays the crazy fan, Evelyn, who loves the radio DJ so much she tries to stab him to death. *

And of course I should know her---I'd posted a picture of the actress the other day: 
she's Jessica Walter, who grew up to be Lillian Bluth of Arrested Development.

I said to Marz, "Evelyn is the woman Starsky and Hutch are afraid every woman is like." Starsky and Hutch ran from '75 to '79 and reflects a kind of male fear of feminism: if women are strong, will they eat me up?

I've only seen three episodes, but I recognize the show's discomfort with feminism. In that era, for instance, a male coworker, told me that while he basically supported feminism, he didn't like it because it made him feel uncomfortable with women, when he didn't used to be. 
Women didn't necessarily like it either, of course.

And today the "crazy-bitches-will-eat-you" fear is still alive and well. 
* SPOILER: At the end of PMFM, Evelyn attacks Dave (Eastwood) with a kitchen knife; he punches her in the face, and she falls through a window and down the steep ocean. The end shot shows her body floating in the water below. 

She looks entirely dead. But she is face up....


Zhoen said...

Not a good decade for women in movies.

Fresca said...

When was? (I'll have to think about that.)
At least there was Ripley!
"Alien" came out in 1979---just squeezed in before the '80s.

bink said...

The 30's and 40's (even the 1920's) were pretty good movie eras for women. Think about all the big female stars from those eras--and some very fun women's parts. Movies were actually built around women stars from those eras--something that became much rarer mid-2oth century.

Women's roles didn't really become strictly mother or bimbo until the 1950's--unfortunately, we're still recovering.

Fresca said...

bink: Give me some names of movies you admire from those eras.
The actresses were great, but were the roles?
I can think of one, for sure:
The African Queen, though that's from 1951.

I just started a list of movies in the 70s that include some great females:
True Grit! (OK, that's 1969, but it's in the era.)

I'll have to think & write more on this topic, which is a lot of fun!