LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 03: Director-producer Clint Eastwood attends the 20th Annual AFI Awards at Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills on January 03, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images for AFI)
Movies - TV
Why Clint Eastwood Never Considered Another Song For Play Misty For Me
Clint Eastwood made his directorial debut with “Play Misty for Me,” a psychological thriller about a relationship that forms between an obsessive woman (Jessica Walter) and a radio DJ (Eastwood). The film title comes from the jazz track frequently requested by Walter’s character, “Misty” by Erroll Garner. While getting the rights to the song was challenging, Eastwood was set on his choice.
According to the book “The Jazz Standards: A Guide to the Repertoire,” Eastwood paid Garner $25,000 for “Misty.” The money wasn’t the only issue for Eastwood, as the new director explained, “The studio wanted me to use ‘Strangers in the Night,’ which they own, but it’s not a classic, though it was a hit, and there’s that dooby-dooby-do at the end. I just thought it wouldn’t work.”
Not only did Eastwood believe that “Misty” was the right sound from the right era for the movie, but he fully integrated the song into the film, with many parts being tied to the track. Getting the piece may have been a struggle, but “Misty” inspired the film’s evocative and unique title while providing a sound that transforms from affectionate to unnerving — perfect for a thriller.