The Mephisto Waltz, 1971
Horror themes: making deals with the devil, murder
Director: Paul Wendkos
Verdict: 9/10… A great 70s horror movie
The Mephisto Waltz, a 1971 American occult horror film, was directed by Paul Wendkos and starred Alan Alda (immediately preceding his 11-year M*A*S*H gig) and the incredible Jacqueline Bisset as the movie’s main couple, Myles and Paula Clarkson. The title Mephisto Waltz is taken from the piano work by Franz Liszt (Mephisto Waltzes).
Jacqueline Bisset [Jacqueline Bisset titles on Amazon] is surely one of the most beautiful women to grace the seventies screen – I can’t help but to enjoy each and every minute of her appearance in the classic Mephisto Waltz, a great horror movie in the Sold My Soul to the Devil vein. In fact – and I will research to see if it’s true – Jacqueline Bisset looks like she could easily be the mother of Austin Powers knockout Elizabeth Hurley. (Is she? Nope; according to Wikipedia, Liz is the daughter of Angela and Roy Hurley. Oh, well.)
Another star of The Mephisto Waltz is the music itself, particularly if you like classical piano a la Liszt and Mozart. The top-notch classical piano played throughout The Mephisto Waltz certainly adds a nice, rich dimension to the film. There are very few horror movies which have this kind of focus on music; in fact, I can think of no others. A quick search for music-themed horror movies brought up info on horror soundscapes and horror movie theme music only, not any other musically themed horror films.
If you like beautiful women and beautiful music – and the witty banter of Alan Alda to boot – then this might the perfect movie for you.
The movie centers around Myles Clarkson, frustrated pianist and music journalist, and his ravishing wife Paula, and their creepily growing involvement with another couple, Duncan Ely (one of the greatest piano virtuosos) and his attractive daughter Roxanne. Paula Clarkson in particular is not down with the weird level of attention they are suddenly receiving from this couple, but Myles is honored to be considered a new friend by the well-known Duncan. Unbeknownst to Myles and Paula, Duncan and Roxanne are Satanists, and with Duncan’s impending death from leukemia, the father and daughter perform a ritual which transfers Duncan’s soul into Myles Clarkson’s body. (And while it may seem like I just gave the movie away, there is much more to it.)
I strongly recommend The Mephisto Waltz to all fans of 1970s horror; I give this classic horror film 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Resources: The Mephisto Waltz
Summaries of The Mephisto Waltz
- The Mephisto Waltz – Wikipedia
- The Mephisto Waltz – IMDb (5.8)
- The Mephisto Waltz – AllRovi.com
Reviews of The Mephisto Waltz