The Mephisto Waltz (1971) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Mephisto Waltz1971

The Mephisto Waltz (1971)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Adapted from a Fred Mustard Stewart novel, this offbeat occult thriller stars Alan Alda (just prior to his eleven-year stint on M*A*S*H) as journalist and burgeoning musician Myles Clarkson, whose long-sought interview with ailing concert pianist (and closet Satanist) Duncan Ely (Curt Jurgens) leads to a mysterious ritual in which Ely's soul is transferred into Clarkson's body at the moment of the elder man's death. Further complications ensue when Myles' wife Paula (Jacqueline Bisset) discovers the none-too-subtle change in her husband's behavior, and she is pulled deeper into Ely's twisted circle. The plot thickens as further soul-swapping, dark family secrets, and demonic possession come into play. A heavy sense of doom pervades this bizarre film, thanks to some offbeat cinematography and eerie music, as well as some truly shocking setpieces courtesy of prolific TV director Paul Wendkos, who helmed the excellent Legend of Lizzie Borden. The prosaic Alda lacks the dangerous edge his character demands, but Bisset's performance is chillingly effective. ~ Cavett Binion, Rovi

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Alan Alda
as Myles Clarkson
Jacqueline Bisset
as Paula Clarkson
Curd Jürgens
as Duncan Ely
Bradford Dillman
as Bill Delancey
Kathleen Widdoes
as Maggie West
Pamelyn Ferdin
as Abby Clarkson
Curt Lowens
as Agency Head
Gregory Morton
as Conductor
Janee Michelle
as Agency Head's Girl
Lilyan Chauvin
as Woman Writer
Khigh Dhiegh
as Zanc Theun
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Critic Reviews for The Mephisto Waltz

All Critics (7) | Top Critics (1)

You get the notion that the people who made the film didn't take magic seriously enough. I don't mean they should believe in it; but they should have made a film that pretended to.

October 23, 2004 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

...tedious and predominantly interminable...

January 19, 2022 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…

It will frighten you... with boredom!

May 12, 2012 | Rating: .5/4 | Full Review…

Alan Alda tinkles the devil's ivories in this super 70s Satan suspenser.

July 12, 2006

The cast performs well, with an energy that belies the obvious hokum.

November 20, 2003 | Full Review…

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