HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Bird Island
Variety
Devil to Pay, The
Gypsy
Lost in London
Divorce Italian Style
Becky
Salon Kitty
Misbehaviour
Charles, Dead or Alive
Gretel and Hansel
Mademoiselle
Tunnel, The
India Song
Last Rhino, The
Made in Hong Kong
Ring of Spies
Rom Boys: 40 Years of Rad
Pocketful of Miracles
The Tomb: Devil's Revenge
Sidecar Racers
Space Dogs
Out/Marriage
Safety Last!
Bride Who Has Returned from Hell, The
Show Boat
Savage
City Called Dragon, A
I Used to Go Here
Six Suspects
Still the Water
Not Now, Comrade
I'm Thinking of Ending Things
Wives of the Skies
Two Heads Creek
Next Stop, Greenwich Village
Captain, The
Great Wall, A
Trout, The
Zorba the Greek
   
 
Newest Articles
A Knock on the Door at 4 O'clock in the Morning: The Strangers on Blu-ray
Wives of the Skies: Honey Lauren Interview
To Catch a Thief: After the Fox on Blu-ray
Tackling the Football Film: The Arsenal Stadium Mystery on Blu-ray
Film Noir's Golden Couple: This Gun for Hire on Blu-ray
The Doctor Who Connection: Invasion on Blu-ray
Hill's Angles: Benny Hill and Who Done It? on Blu-ray
Big Willie Style: Keep It Up Downstairs on Blu-ray
Walt's Vault: 5 Cult Movies on Disney+
Paradise Lost: Walkabout on Blu-ray
Buster Makes Us Feel Good: Buster Keaton - 3 Films (Volume 3) on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 3 - Don't Go Away - I Could Do with a Bit of Cheer Now!
What Use is Grief to a Horse? Equus on Blu-ray
For God's Sake Strap Yourselves Down: Flash Gordon on 4K UHD Collector's Edition
Party Hard: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 2 - Your Faces are All Blurred!
Eve Knew Her Apples: The Lady Eve on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Tempo - Gallery One
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 1 - Welcome Once Again to Manchester!
Transformative Apocalypses: Phase IV and Southland Tales
The Happiest Days of Their Lives: The Guinea Pig on Blu-ray
Faced Poe: Three Edgar Allan Poe Adaptations Starring Bela Lugosi on Blu-ray
Hard Luck, Buster: The Cameraman on Blu-ray
At the Hop: Mr. Vampire on Blu-ray
Divine Madness: Female Trouble on Blu-ray
   
 
  Mephisto Waltz, The Satanic Panic
Year: 1971
Director: Paul Wendkos
Stars: Alan Alda, Jacqueline Bisset, Barbara Parkins, Bradford Dillman, William Windhom, Kathleen Widdoes, Pamelyn Ferdin, Curt Jurgens, Curt Lowens, Gregory Morton, Janee Michelle, Lilyan Chauvin, Kigh Diegh, Alberto Morin, Berry Kroeger
Genre: HorrorBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Myles Clarkson (Alan Alda) may be a fairly young man, but he has settled into the life of the low ambition middle age somewhat prematurely. He is married to Paula (Jacqueline Bisset) and she wishes he were a bit more exciting, like he used to be when his big dream was to become a concert pianist, but he has left those days far behind him and now makes his living as a music journalist, mostly covering classical gigs. However, today he has a chance to interview Duncan Ely (Curt Jurgens), a highly respected pianist of stern reputation, so after bidding his wife and child goodbye he drives off to meet him at this California home. This will be a fateful encounter, for Ely has ambitions Myles does not...

Rosemary's Baby spawned a whole rash of Satanic movies as Devil worship became the in thing for the makers of horror flicks to get interested in, and the public, regarding the practice as the dark side of the burgeoning Me Generation of the nineteen-seventies, flocked to many of them and enjoyed TV movies on the subject too. The ultimate of these was The Exorcist, which would happen along a couple of years after The Mephisto Waltz was released, so this was more of a dinner party conversation on the dark arts than it was something that would shock you to your core, its terribly polite and with-it socialites bringing a West Coast sophistication to the story that it did not really earn.

The spectre of Aleister Crowley was hanging over this more than Anton LaVey, it had to be said, with Jurgens essaying the elderly evildoer who has sold his soul (presumably) so he can move it somewhere else as more a leader of his own clique of hangers-on who get up to all sorts of wild and decadent parties which attract the jaded Myles. Or at least that was the premise, but it would have been a more interesting route if he had been more self-aware about his potential for exploitation, and had embraced it as an alternative to his staid lifestyle, something nobody here thought to adopt, leaving it as the story of a rather stodgy, dull man who is improbably desired by a wide range of self-obsessed folks.

If Alda had been switched with a more dynamic actor, someone with matinee idol good looks or an exciting sexuality about him, then you might have understood why Hollywood beauties of the calibre of Bisset and Barbara Parkins (playing Ely's frosty, haughty daughter Roxanne) would have gone to such lengths to claim him, but as it stood you may well be wondering what the big deal was about him. This was not the wisecracking Hawkeye of sitcom M*A*S*H which was about to energise his career, indeed it looked as if Alda had been hired because of his ability to convincingly mime the concertos on the piano rather than anything else: you could just about believe he was a lapsed talent on the ivories, but as a studly hunk? If anything, that was even more farfetched than the mumbo-jumbo.

Fortunately, the film seemed to recognise this and around halfway through opted to ditch Myles in favour of his increasingly creeped out missus, Bisset more comfortable in a chance at a lead role than her co-star appeared to be. She was a decent enough focus as Ely's terrible machinations begin to unravel what she considered was a happy home life (she runs a boutique in Los Angeles), so much so that you wish she had been the lead throughout the whole movie, as Paula's Cold War with Roxanne was far more entertaining in an Alexis vs Krystle soap opera manner than whether Myles had lost his soul to Ely. But there was a definite televisual quality to the whole thing, shot in flat, bright colours like an episode of Rod Serling's Night Gallery which somehow had managed to slip a little nudity past the censors, and it was not too different from one of those TV movies like Horror at 37,000 Feet or Satan's School for Girls when you boiled it down. Not too surprising when Quinn Martin was the producer (alas, a narrator does not announce it as such over the credits for that unmistakable TV brand), but despite murder, suicide, incest and a demon hound, this remained oddly safe and uninspired. Music by Jerry Goldsmith (probably the best thing about it).
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1599 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
   

 

Last Updated: