The Mephisto Waltz (1970)

Article 2740 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 11-6-2008
Posting Date: 2-12-2009
Directed by Paul Wendkos
Featuring Alan Alda, Jacqueline Bisset, Barbara Parkins
Country: USA

A one-time pianist turned journalist is invited to meet a legendary classical pianist, who takes an instant liking to him. The journalist’s wife is suspicious of the motives of the pianist and dislikes the pianist’s daughter. However, when the pianist dies and the journalist undergoes a startling change of personality, she begins to feel that something is truly wrong…

Though it may not be apparent from the plot description above, it didn’t take me long while watching it to realize that this movie is mostly a clone of ROSEMARY’S BABY with certain plot details changed. It’s eerie enough in spots and it features a fine score by Jerry Goldsmith, but it’s overlong, and for the most part it’s very predictable, especially once you recognize its similarity to the previously mentioned movie. It only really caught fire towards the end of the movie when the wife decides to fight fire with fire, and then I found myself quite engrossed in trying to figure out how she was going to get what she wanted. Alas, the ending only left me disappointed because I found it hard to believe that what she gets is really what she wanted. There was a lot of talent from TV at work on this one; director Paul Wendkos mostly worked in television, and the movie was produced by none other than Quinn Martin. On a side note, this is the second movie in a row to feature a central character dying of leukemia but somehow managing to find a way to survive.

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