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The Mephisto Waltz


The poster screams 'When was the last time you were really afraid!?". Well I can tell you that it wasn't while watching the silly little 1971 horror film, THE MEPHISTO WALTZ.

The always beautiful Jacqueline Bisset is Paula, the wife of concert pianist, Miles Clarkson, played by a pre-M*A*S*H Alan Alda.

His music career is going nowhere until he meets famed pianist Duncan Ely (Curt Jurgens) who is at death's door, practices a whole lot of satanism and seems to have a pretty clever plan to move into Miles' body.

The whole human soul transplant business is pretty tame by today's standards and it's hard to believe that audiences in the early 70's thought this was terrifying.

No wonder "The Exorcist" blew the doors off the theatre two years later. This is NO "Exorcist". It's fairly silly, more like an ABC-TV Movie of the week (remember those?) with a lot more nudity.

Alda is okay but rather one-note, Bisset is gorgeous and very good, Jurgens was a lot more evil six years later as Bond villain Stromberg and his hench-woman and wife Roxanne is played with silly intensity by Barbara Perkins.

This has the distinction of being the ONLY film produced in 1971 by 20th Century-Fox after the twin musical bombs "Hello Dolly" and "Star!" nearly bankrupted the studio.

They might have been better taking the year off, as this waltz is decidedly off key and gets a D.

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