Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA, 1971. Universal Pictures, The Malpaso Company. Story by Jo Heims, Screenplay by Jo Heims, Dean Riesner. Cinematography by Bruce Surtees. Produced by Robert Daley. Music by Dee Barton. Production Design by Alexander Golitzen. Costume Design by Helen Colvig. Film Editing by Carl Pingitore.
Well before Fatal Attraction had all of America trembling in the aisles for fear of desperate, clingy, psychotic women with knives, Clint Eastwood put terror in the hearts of swinging bachelors everywhere with this terrific thriller. He plays a so-cool-it-hurts DJ who spouts poetry on the radio between funky music broadcasts and also enjoys no-strings-attached sex with the ladies who worship his celebrity status. One night he has a terrific fling in the sack with a beautiful bar patron (Jessica Walter) that turns ugly when she won’t stop showing up at his place night after night. He tells her he’s no one-woman man, but she insists on sticking to him until her obsession becomes deadly. Unlike Michael Douglas, Eastwood actually is believable as the object of a woman’s lust and devotion, and unlike Dearden’s screenplay for Fatal Attraction, director Eastwood (here helming for the first time) never shies away from his character’s own responsibility in the matter. While he might not deserve to be attacked with a carving knife, he is a bit too sure of himself as a wild oat-sower and is made to understand that the ladies he’s messing around with actually do have feelings. A great soundtrack (particularly the Roberta Flack number complete with sex in the woods) and some fancy editing bounce up a familiar but enjoyable story, plus the inclusion of real footage from the Monterey jazz festival.
Golden Globe Award Nomination: Best Actress-Drama (Jessica Walter)