"After seventeen years of bouncing my head against the wall, hanging around sets, maybe influencing certain camera set-ups with my own opinions, watching actors go through all kinds of hell without any help, and working with both good directors and bad ones, I'm at the point where I'm ready to make my own pictures. I stored away all the mistakes I made and saved up all the good things I learned, and now I know enough to control my own projects and get what I want out of actors."
- Clint Eastwood
By 1971, Clint Eastwood could count himself among the very fortunate in Hollywood; having carved a distinctive niche for himself as the steely-eyed and solitary loner in a spate of highly profitable westerns; his reputation in the industry laughingly fluffed off - even by Eastwood - as the guy who had but ten lines of dialogue to say in as many movies, amusedly leaving the actor to reconsider more intense and diversified roles. It was a rough learning curve, the first of these experiments, The Beguiled (1971), proving something of a box office disappointment. But the second, Play Misty for Me, made in the same year, marked a turning point in Eastwood’s on-screen persona as well as the debut of his directorial prospects; quite unexpectedly a force to be reckoned with both in front of and behind the camera. If, only in hindsight, Play Misty for Me appears as an atypical ‘thriller’ today, it is only because we have been overly exposed ad nauseam to a cavalcade of stark-raving mad women who typify the ole Shakespearean cliché, “Hell hath no fury….” – the casting of a truly diabolical Jessica Walter as the first of these psychotic paramours setting on end Eastwood’s galvanized screen image as the rough n’ ready man of action. Indeed, Eastwood’s womanizer, imbued with a sleepy arrogance, is in for a very tough time of it. KRML’s radio DJ, Dave Garver is very much the victim of this piece and largely, one of his own design; his stalker, Evelyn Draper (Walter) a very scary lady indeed; able to turn nutty as a fruit bar on a dime, from impetuously coquettish love interest to sexually-liberated cougar, and finally, transformed into a hellishly possessive and raving loon, destined to wreck Dave’s comfortable lifestyle.
Play Misty for Me is a fairly adult thriller imbued with light and intangible Hitchcockian touches; Eastwood’s decision to shoot virtually all of it far away from the confines of Universal, both in his native Carmel-by-the-sea and Monterey, looking utterly photogenic, but also creating a startling sense of realism, then not the norm in American movies. Initially there was some debate over the penultimate moment where Dave takes dead aim at the knife-wielding Evelyn, popping her in the mouth with his fist; a death-punch to send her over the flimsy wooden guardrail to her death down a rocky ravine. To counterbalance this fairly violent assault, Eastwood precedes the moment with a truly brutal confrontation. Evelyn not only plunges the blade of her knife into Garver’s back as he is attempting to rescue his girlfriend, with wounds to his hands, shoulders and legs, but we also witness Evelyn threatening to pluck the eyes from Garver’s sweetly innocent, gal/pal, Tobie Williams (Donna Mills) as she casually hacks off Tobie’s hair with a pair of oversized shears. Behind the scenes, Mills and Walter were actually becoming very good friends; Walter, opening up her guest house to Mills, who had recently left a daytime soap in New York to further her career in Hollywood, but had yet to find a place to stay.
Play Misty for Me was originally brought to Eastwood’s attention by Jo Heims, a former model/dancer then working as a secretary with dreams of becoming a screenwriter. Eastwood liked what he read, but without any way to further the project along, allowed his option to lapse. After a year’s limbo, Heims, who was by now a good friend, informed Eastwood Universal had showed interest in her story. Magnanimously, Eastwood encouraged Heims to sell it to them. Meanwhile, Eastwood’s agent, Leonard Hirshan negotiated a three picture deal at Universal. Thus, Eastwood pursued Heims screenplay as one of his options, frankly approaching then Head of Production, Lew Wasserman with the prospect to direct, as well as star in the picture. Formerly an agent, Wasserman knew the ropes all too well and unequivocally agreed to Eastwood’s demands; quietly pulling Hirshan aside to inform him the studio had no intention of shelling out a penny more for the actor’s services as a budding director. “I would have done it for nothing,” Eastwood would later suggest, “They wanted me to show my stuff as a director, a rightly so.” Nevertheless, Hirshan returned to the bargaining table, finagling a percentage of the profits as his client’s recompense – a fortuitous win-win for all concerned when Play Misty for Me became a sizable hit; forcing Wasserman to pay out in dividends.
Play Misty for Me actually comes at a highly speculative juncture in Eastwood’s career. His desire to break away from his screen image, with back-to-back flops; the musical Paint Your Wagon (1969), and, then, playing a Civil War schemer, poisoned by a congregation of impressionable schoolgirls in The Beguiled (1971) had shown just how rigidly ironclad his reputation as a western tough guy remained within the public’s impressions of him at large. Eastwood, however, was determined not to play it safe on ‘Misty’ – the picture’s sizeable success leading to bigger and better things for Eastwood, including 1971’s Dirty Harry, directed by Don Siegel. Siegel also figures prominently in Eastwood’s decision to become a director; the two having worked together on Coogan’s Bluff (1969), Two Mules for Sister Sara (1970) and The Beguiled, and, in the process, become very close colleagues. Siegel would move heaven and earth to advance Eastwood’s prospects as a director; Eastwood repaying his mentor in kind by hiring him to portray the bartender, Murphy in Play Misty for Me. Siegel, at first, did not relish the idea of appearing on the other side of the camera; his anxieties quelled by Eastwood’s insistence Siegel would be present on the set to ensure he (Eastwood) did not make any artistic mistakes on his first directorial assignment.
Initially, Universal balked at the title, not for any artistic failings, but because they rather hoped Eastwood would save a few bucks by using a song – any song, in fact – for which they already owned the copyright. Wasserman’s suggestion of substituting ‘Strangers in the Night’ for Erroll Gardner’s immortal classic did not bode well with Eastwood, who would eventually win this battle at an additional cost of $25,000, recalling Gardner to re-record his emblematic tune with strings in the background – in hindsight, a very sound judgment. Less successful was Eastwood’s sudden fascination with Roberta Flack’s hit single, ‘The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’; transformed into a semi-erotic montage of love-making between Eastwood’s DJ and his on again white hot flame of a romance with Tobie; their outdoor love-making in a burgeoning forest near a waterfall, faintly reminiscent of David Lean’s stolidly grand seduction of Sarah Miles by Christopher Jones in Ryan’s Daughter (1970).
Alas the montage stops the show – or rather, the action – with a turgidity and a thud all but threatening to diffuse the suspense in the third act; immediately thereafter compounded by yet another miscalculation by Eastwood, who takes his audience on an inexplicable Cook’s Tour of the Monterey Jazz Festival; the entire sequence shot on the fly by cinematographer, Bruce Surtees with Eastwood hoping not to be ‘discovered’ in the crowd, and, 30,000 feet of film frenetically exposed with a handheld camera; later, cobbled together by editor, Carl Pingitore. It seems Eastwood’s decision to shoot this latter sequence, apart from endeavoring to add location flavor and atmosphere was equally to ‘bury’ a pivotal plot point so as not to deflate the climax of the picture; Tobie’s exposition about taking on a new roommate, ‘Annabelle’ leading to a big reveal only a few scenes later when the audience discovers Annabelle and Evelyn are one in the same.
In hindsight, Play Misty for Me is Jessica Walter’s picture far more than it is Eastwood’s; the balance of power unhinged by Walter’s superb performance as the psychologically-imploding Evelyn. “There’s a big trap when you play someone who’s crazy,” Walter would later admit, “…and that’s to play them as crazy. I just played her as the all-American girl…otherwise there’s no fun in discovering the fact she really is nuts.” Walter runs the gamut in ‘Misty’ from unprepossessing ‘nice girl’ to raging bitch in sheep’s clothing, or rather, fur-lined coat under which she appears – in the modesty of moonlit and artfully placed shadows – to be wearing nothing underneath; her innate perkiness inexplicably and uncontrollably veering into cruelty, seething anger, and frantic cries of sexual depression. Walter is so intense throughout the picture she virtually dominates every scene in which she appears. It really is a tour de force; Eastwood’s laid-back radio jockey left to grapple with this gal who has him dangling by his short and curlies before very long. Screenwriter, Jo Heims had actually based this character on a girlfriend she knew who had exhibited ‘stalking tendencies’ toward the man in her life; nothing as wildly uncontrollable as Evelyn’s behavior, but nevertheless having made a nuisance of herself. Indeed, the entire appeal in making the picture for Eastwood had stemmed from what he viewed as a refreshing departure from the status quo in roles for women perpetuated on celluloid throughout the 1970’s. “I saw it as a throwback to those gutsy gals from the forties,” Eastwood would later suggest, “…and era when women dominated the screen. It had a sort of Bette Davis appeal for me and I thought it was a great role for Jessica whom I hired after screening Sidney Lumet’s The Group (1966). Jessica didn’t have a big part in that film, but there was a scene in it where she flirts with this ski instructor. He belts her across the cheek. Something about the look she gave him made me think she had what it took to play the part.” Eastwood was to cast Donna Mills similarly ‘sight unseen’ after an impromptu conversation with actor, Burt Reynolds, who had just finished working with her. Mills was both surprised and nervous about co-starring with Eastwood, shortly thereafter eased into the part – and her first nude scene – by a very patient and compassionate co-star/director. “He really was marvelous,” Mills would later reason, “It’s impossible not to like him almost immediately. You just want to do the very best that you can for him.”
In retrospect, Eastwood is working against type as the thematically emasculated Dave Garver; going against the grain of Eastwood’s own built-in public persona as the untouchable and glacially imperious man with no name. It is a stretch in believability; one, Eastwood does not entirely overcome, but nevertheless makes valiant inroads to reconcile against his typecasting in the picture; his beautifully composed time lapse moment of realization, after Evelyn has attempted suicide in Dave’s bathroom, needy and clinging as the two lay together in bed; Eastwood’s paralytic stare into oblivion, resonating volumes of anxiety, self-loathing and confusion. How did a Joe Studly like Dave get here? It is a question this character, as well as the audience, is forced to entertain, yet without any clear-cut answers. Arguably, Eastwood’s career is predicated on his best acting done without the benefit of dialogue. He has more than his fair share of dialogue to get through in ‘Misty’, screenwriter, Dean Riesner brought in to polish and add loaded barbs of glib repartee to the mix. I suspect Eastwood would be the first to agree his acting range is limited, his lines delivered either with a natural disdain for talk in general or a begrudging bitterness; more a throwback to his solitary days as ‘God’s lonely man’. In ‘Misty’, Eastwood is not so much acting as reacting to his costars; his character’s motivations dictated by extenuating circumstances.
Play Misty for Me opens with series of breathtaking helicopter shots of Carmel-by-the-Sea; Eastwood and his cinematographer, Bruce Surtees doing aerial cartwheels over the Bixby Creek Bridge, a perilous expanse overlooking the ocean; Dave on the road and on his way to just another night disc-jockeying at KRML – a smooth jazz radio station. Dave’s daytime counterpart, Al Monte (the underutilized Dave McEachin) helps to give us some backstory on Dave’s nocturnal activities. We discover Dave’s a notorious skirt chaser with more notches than the average bedpost will allow. He had a good thing – once – with the sculptress, Tobie Williams, but blew it by screwing around and flirting with her ever-revolving roster of roomies who help to pay the rent on her isolated clifftop house in the Carmel Highlands; bequeathed to her by her late father. Dave is not but two minutes into his late night jam session when one of his regulars calls in with her usual request, ‘play Misty for me’. Around midnight, Dave leaves the station for his usual nightcap at the Sardine Factory; a local watering hole run by his good friend and bartender, Murphy. Seated at the end of the bar is a fresh-faced trick, sipping on a Coke. To reel her in, Dave engages Murphy in Cry Bastian; a fictional game with chess-like properties, played with bottle-caps and corks, its’ sole purpose, to lure the casual observer into a good pickup line. The ruse works, and shortly thereafter the woman, Evelyn Draper convinces Dave to take her home. What Dave has yet to realize is that while he was setting up Evelyn to take the bait, she has actually used it to lure him like a spider into her web.
Back at her home, Evelyn proposes a ‘no strings attached’ flagrante delicto Dave is only too willing to take advantage of without first reconsidering where this seemingly casual encounter may lead. The two make love and Dave later suggests he will call Evelyn. Of course, he doesn’t and likely has no intention to, instead rekindling his relationship with Tobie, who ran away for a few weeks after discovering Dave was unfaithful with a former roommate and others. Tobie is in love with Dave – not desperately, but sincerely. Sincerity isn’t exactly a character trait on Dave’s radar, though he does suggest a truce. Tobie is no fool. But she is the trusting sort. Moreover, she can see past Dave’s bravado and local celebrity. Behind it, he just needs a good woman in his life and she would appreciate the opportunity to fill this void for him. Tobie’s boss, flamer, Jay-Jay (Duke Everts) is not so sure taking Dave back is a good thing. But it’s no use. Tobie has already decided to give Dave another chance at becoming the sort of upstanding fellow she can be proud to call her own.
Back at Dave’s fashionable seaside house, his no-nonsense housekeeper, Birdie (Clarice Taylor) proposes Dave show a little class. Evelyn arrives uninvited with a bag full of groceries, catching Al’s eye but incurring Dave’s mild displeasure. After all, he doesn’t particularly like the assertive kind. After some consternation, Dave retracts his initially stern rebuke of Evelyn. The two have dinner and more sex. However, as she prepares to leave late in the night, Evelyn incurs the displeasure of one of Dave’s neighbors trying to get some shuteye. In reply, she verbally assaults the guy; then sits on her car horn until Dave embarrassingly suggests all his neighbor wants is a little less noise. Evelyn drives off. But her sudden outburst has left a lasting impression on Dave. She is not sweet and shy or even holding true to her initial offer of sex without reprisals. Dave thinks it is time to cut his losses and leave her alone. Alas, he has yet to realize the ball is no longer in his court and Evelyn intends to play it to the end of all end games. Meanwhile, Dave has the opportunity to send in an audition tape in the hopes his local radio program will go national, thanks to the encouraging sponsorship of Madge Wilder (Irene Hervey); an established promoter who likes the demos Dave’s sent along for her consideration.
Too bad for Dave, Evelyn will not let her obsessive nature about him rest. She tails him to the Sardine Factory, telephoning Al, who helps Dave pretend he is not there. The men are unaware Evelyn is calling from the phone booth directly across the street from the bar. She can see Dave’s convertible roadster parked outside and decides to wait for him. Taking away Dave’s keys, Evelyn playfully taunts Dave until he somewhat violently grabs her to get them back. Two bar patrons come to Evelyn’s defense, but are verbally chastised by her. Again, she goes from lighthearted schemer to evil bitch with daggers in her heart in the twinkle of an eye. Perhaps for the first time, Dave realizes he is not dealing with an altogether mentally stable person, taking back his keys and hurrying off to meet up with Madge at a seaside restaurant. Regrettably, Evelyn follows Dave to this rendezvous too and, misconstruing its purpose, confronts him and Madge in the middle of their business luncheon, crudely suggesting Madge is an old crone who couldn’t get laid in a chicken coop. Dave is incensed, dragging Evelyn away and depositing her in a waiting taxi as she frantically and apologetically gropes for him through its open window. Returning to his table, Dave discovers Madge has already left the restaurant, and left behind his demo tapes too. It’s over. The offer to go national is off the table – for good!
To say Dave has had enough of Evelyn is an understatement. Even so, she will not leave him alone, harassing him at the station and at home until he agrees to drop everything and see her. She invites herself to Dave’s seaside bungalow in the dead of night, wearing nothing under her overcoat, and cries, whimpers, whines and cajoles until she gets her way. When all else fails – even tears – she attempts suicide by locking herself in Dave’s bathroom and superficially slashing her wrists with a knife from his kitchen. Dave decides to come clean about Evelyn to Tobie, especially after their planned rendezvous is thwarted by Evelyn’s faux suicide and her desire to spend all night clinging to Dave in his bedroom. Remarkably, Tobie is comforting – even, empathetic to Dave’s predicament. Alas, neither she nor Dave is aware their casual meetings in public are being shadowed by Evelyn, who now begins to hatch a far more insidious plan of revenge.
Returning to Dave’s bungalow, Evelyn trashes the place with the same knife she once used to slit her wrists. Her wicked gasps are overheard by Birdie who, inadvertently, discovers Evelyn cutting up Dave’s fashionable wardrobe inside his walk-in closet. Horrified by what she sees, Birdie tries to flee. She is caught and tagged by Evelyn, who proceeds to repeatedly stab Birdie with the knife. What occurs next is a little perplexing. Dave returns home to find Birdie, still alive, being wheeled into a waiting ambulance; Evelyn, in an almost catatonic state, sitting pensively on his bed, surrounded by the shattered remains of his life and flanked by Sgt. McCallum (John Larch) and several policemen. Asked to explain Evelyn’s behavior, Dave comes clean about her obsession and their affair, but speculates institutionalization in a psychiatric ward would better benefit her now. Larch is curious and not terribly understanding. But Dave is quite unable to offer Larsh a reason why Evelyn’s rage should be directed at Birdie, whom she barely knows and, in no way, could ever be considered a rival for his affections. Exactly who stopped Evelyn from murdering Birdie altogether is left an unanswered question. Did Evelyn briefly come to her senses and stop short of the murder herself, or did a neighbor call 911 for help?
Larch takes Evelyn away to be booked for the crime of attempted murder and breaking and entering. If Play Misty for Me has a flaw, it remains this unexpected delay in the penultimate denouement. Momentarily removing Evelyn from the equation affords Clint Eastwood a bit of time to expand upon the blossoming romance between Dave and Tobie; the entire affair matched to Roberta Flack’s chart-topping single, ‘The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’; the lovers glimpsed as the thunderous surf pounds into the shore directly behind them, immediately followed by the prerequisite and shamelessly gratuitous nudie shot; the couple submerged from the waist down in a lagoon surrounded by a densely forested oasis with a waterfall no less. Two and half minutes of sunsets, kisses, groping and endless strolls along the beach seem like an eternity; interrupted by yet another misfire; Eastwood’s insistence to send a second unit to cover the Monterey Jazz Festival, burying a crucial piece of the plot under a full-blown performance by Cannonball Adderley and His Quartet. It turns out Tobie’s recent roomie, Madalyn (Ginna Patterson) is moving back home and Tobie must leave the festival early to settle in her new tenant, Annabelle.
Meanwhile, Evelyn telephones Dave at the radio station. To his great surprise, she has been released from jail with no formal charges pressed. Evelyn explains she has accepted a job in Hawaii and is presently awaiting her flight. As a parting gesture, she asks Dave to once again play ‘Misty’ for her; even though she is supposedly at the airport and therefore unable to hear the request. Dave agrees to this request and wishes Evelyn well besides. But then, Dave thinks better on his magnanimity. He telephones Larch who promises to drive out to Tobie’s bungalow to peek in for her own protection. Meanwhile, Tobie is settling in for the night; Annabelle preparing them a cup of cocoa with a little cinnamon. However, as Annabelle emerges from the kitchen, tray in hand, we suddenly realize she and Evelyn are one in the same. Making her truer intensions known to Tobie, Evelyn wrestles her to the ground, binds and gags her; then, prepares to cut off her hair in pieces with a rather large pair of pruning shears, all the while casually threatening to poke Tobie’s eyes out. When Larsh arrives, he finds the house darkened and seemingly void of all life. Unsuspectingly, he approaches the open front door and is startled by Evelyn, who plunges her scissors deep into his chest until he is quite dead.
Meanwhile, Dave telephones Tobie to forewarn her and is understandably disturbed when Evelyn answers the telephone instead, informing him to hurry over after his show. Instead, Dave uses an old tape for the remainder of his broadcast, racing at breakneck speeds to Tobie’s house and discovering Larsh’s body lain out in the front foyer. Tobie is face down, bound and gagged in the back bedroom. But before Dave can remove the tape from Tobie’s mouth, Evelyn lunges from the shadows, knife in hand, striking Dave between the shoulder blades. In the ensuing struggle, Evelyn manages to get off several more perversely destructive slashes, slicing through Dave’s left palm, his thigh and shoulder. At the last possible moment, Dave hauls off and assaults his attacker; one he-man wrenching punch to the face; it sends Evelyn through the living room plate glass window and over the balcony’s safety rail, plummeting to her doom; bouncing, head first along the craggy rocks before unconsciously coming to rest, face up in the rolling surf far below.
Producers consternated over Eastwood’s decision to have his character strike a woman – even in self-defense. Ultimately, Eastwood argued that at this point attacking Evelyn was not an issue in support of domestic assault or male-on-female physical abuse, but rather a last-ditch instinct to protect Tobie and save Dave from certainly being killed by a psychotic killer. The actual stunt, shot in half shadow, was performed only partially by Jessica Walter; a stunt double filling in for the first half of Evelyn’s demise (the smashing through fake glass and tumbling over the guardrail to a waiting mattress planted out of camera range on the other side. The rest of Evelyn’s hellish tumble was achieved in long shot with the aid of a weighted mannequin. However, for the penultimate shot, depicting Evelyn’s bloody, bruised and quite dead corpse, floating face up in the surf, Walter was recalled and taken out to the spot of isolated beach between the rocks in a dinghy, forced to wade into the cold ocean. “It was freezing,” Walter would later remember, sentiments echoed by Donna Mills, who shot her nude love-making pas deux with Eastwood partially submerged in a fresh-water lagoon. “I just remember thinking, ‘what’s my mother going to say?’ and ‘Oh God, it’s cold!’” Ultimately, Eastwood behaved like a gentleman to set Mills’ mind at ease. He also informed the actress that if she found any part of the edited together sequence objectionable, she need only voice her opinion and he would have it yanked from the final cut. Inevitably, Mills had no complaints with what she saw in the rushes and thus the sequence remained intact.
“I think they thought it was going to be this little picture,” Eastwood later mused with regards to Universal allowing him his shoot his passion project relatively unencumbered by studio intervention; Lew Wasserman’s faith well-rewarded when Play Misty for Me earned back a whopping $10.6 million for Universal against a meager budget of only $725,000. Eastwood’s negotiated percentage deal wound up being a highly profitable venture. “I think my entire clothing allowance was something like $300,” Jessica Walter later recalled, “Clint didn’t want us to look ‘made up’ – no make-up, no glamor. Just a go for broke reality.” “We had no sets,” producer, Robert Daley recalls, “Everything was shot on location with a little tweaking here and there, but otherwise, just as we found it and looking like a million without any help from us.” “I really wanted to avoid that whole ‘shot out of a canon’ studio look,” Eastwood admitted, “It was something that wasn’t done in those days and I think I got some minor flack for it initially. But when they saw the rushes they sort of let me alone to keep going.” In retrospect, Play Misty for Me is a fairly daring film, although much of its impact has been blunted today by an over-saturation of far too many lesser made/sexually-charged thrillers. Clint Eastwood has held to the idea director, Adrian Lyne’s pilfered the narrative outright for Fatal Attraction (1987) a near plot-for-plot (if not shot-for-shot) remake of Play Misty For Me with one crucial distinction; Attraction’s philandering mate, played by Michael Douglas, is a devoted husband and father; the irrefutable parallels between the two story lines beginning and ending with the fact each movie is imbued with a strong psychotic female lead. In hindsight, Play Misty for Me belongs to Jessica Walter and, like Glenn Close in Lyne’s perversely entertaining and stylish upgrade, she digs into the scenery with iconic aplomb as the hormonal-imbalanced mad woman who would rather kill than live knowing the man she is obsessing over is with another woman.
Sharpen the Ginsu, because Play Misty for Me has arrived on Blu-ray from Universal Home Video. The results are imperfect, thanks to Universal’s shortsightedness and a less than perfect encoding that will be more evident on larger displays. I sincerely wish I could convince studios that if a movie is worthy of the leap to hi-def then it is equally as worthwhile to be given the utmost mastering care to ensure such compression artifacts are concealed to the best of the current media’s capability and technological high standards. Misty is not and looks a little less spectacular than it ought; colors bland, instead of eye-popping and shadow delineation weaker than expected with some crushed blacks and tepid contrast. Overall, it’s a definite upgrade, compared to the DVD. But this is not – or rather, should not be the criteria in a format capable of so much better. The 5.1 DTS is very solidly represented; clean, with crisp dialogue and natural sounding effects and music. Extras are a real muddle. We get a fairly competent ‘making of’ that ends abruptly; also a puff piece in which Clint Eastwood barely has the opportunity to wax affectionately about his mentor, Don Siegel before the camera is turned off right in the middle of his overture. There are three ridiculously cobbled together montages, deceptively advertised as featurettes. They’re not. Finally, there is a trailer to get through, and an audio commentary which is about the best extra included herein. Bottom line: as we are unlikely to see Misty get the necessary upgrade to make her truly sparkle, I will recommend this disc – but with caveats, as expressed above. Not perfect and another wasted opportunity from Universal to do right by their catalog of treasures.
FILM RATING (out of 5 – 5 being the best)