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PAUL J. GILLETTE
Play Misty For Me


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Star, London, 1978
(first published by Tandem in 1972)
(price: 60p; 160 pages)

dedication: To Mike Saurino


The blurb on the back:

'A Hitchcockian psychological thriller' - Evening Standard

THE TRAP IS BAITED ... A beautiful, lonely, possessive girl, a successful, popular disc-jockey
THE TRAP IS SET ... A night of casual lust - no complications, no strings attached
THE TRAP BEGINS TO CLOSE ... Jealousy and revenge boil over in a nightmare of terror


Rightly celebrated as one of Clint Eastwood's finest hours-and-a-half, Play Misty For Me was written by Jo Heims and Dean Riesner from an original story by Heims and was Eastwood's first shot at direction. He also starred as a late-night jazz DJ whose one-night stand with a caller to his show turns him into the victim of a psycho-stalking. In short, the plot is the kind of thing that's become over-familiar in the last fifteen years, but the style and atmosphere of the movie place it closer to the kind of Hitchcock homage you might expect from peak-period Brian De Palma than it is to the post-Fatal Attraction 'thriller' of recent times.

The novelization was by Paul J Gillette (1938-96), a competent enough writer, and it's perfectly readable. You miss the soundtrack, of course, but the habit of quoting chunks of Edgar Allan Poe's verse kind of compensates in terms of building atmosphere. In fact, the sections dealing with the main character's fear of this deranged and unknowable woman are actually pretty convincing, though the passages from her perspective are less successful.

If we must have movie novelizations (and it's not a legal obligation), then they might as well be halfway decent ones like this.


ARTISTIC MERIT: 2/5
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE:
3/5
HIPNESS QUOTIENT:
3/5


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