Play Misty for Me
Many, many films have been shot in Monterey County, on the central stretch of coastal California. Over 190, to be exact. And it's not surprising. If you've ever driven along 17 Mile Drive, you've probably wanted to make a movie there too. The definitive Monterey movie, however, has to be Play Misty for Me, the directorial debut of Carmel's most famous resident, local tycoon, and one-time mayor, Clint Eastwood.
Filmed entirely on location in Carmel, Monterey, Big Sur and the Pacific Coast Highway in 1970, Play Misty for Me is a Hitchcock-esque thriller. Its subject matter, the relentless pursuit of a radio DJ by an obsessed fan, is grim – in stark contrast to the stunningly beautiful locations in which the movie is set.
The movie starts with sweeping vistas of the coastline, and these continue throughout the movie. Clint drives his sports car along PCH, and the beaches appear frequently, with one prolonged 'music video' featuring Eastwood and Donna Mills wandering the Peninisula, talking and making love to Roberta Flack’s 'The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face'.
Other locations used include: Carmel Rancho Shopping Center; the Monterey County Fairgrounds (where the Monterey Jazz Festival takes place); Monterey Municipal Wharf (where the characters dine, above); Ocean Avenue, Carmel; Pacific Grove; and the Sardine Factory in Monterey.
This may be Eastwood's homage to his home territory, but countless others have also fallen under its spell. Famous films made in the county include: Julie, in which Doris Day (another local resident) is chased by Louis Jourdan along 17 Mile Drive and into The Lodge at Pebble Beach.
Scenes from Basic Instinct, with Michael Douglas and Sharon Stone, were shot here, and the famous scene in From Here to Eternity, when Deborah Kerr and Burt Lancaster kiss passionately on the beach in Hawaii, was actually shot at Big Sur. Other notable movies include 1961's The Parent Trap at the Stuyvesant Fish ranch, and National Velvet at Pebble Beach.
If you want to check out the locations from Misty and these other films, local tour guide Doug Lumsden offers a coach tour, animated with movie clips from over the past 90 years, and works closely with the Monterey County Film Commission.
If you want to visit Eastwood's own Carmel, drop by the exclusive Tehàma Golf Club, though you may have trouble getting in without and invitation and the $500,000 joining fee. If you can't get in there, try the Pebble Beach Golf Links which he has been known to frequent, or the the Mission Ranch Hotel and Restaurant, which he owns.
If you can't do any of those things, rent the movie. Highly acclaimed in its own right, it's also a great moment in time captured and preserved for posterity. – Roshan McArthur