Review: The Mephisto Waltz (1971)

Body swaps is a dangerous and diabolical business…


Director: Paul Wendkos
Stars: Alan Alda, Jacqueline Bisset, Barbara Parkins
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Runtime: 108 mins

“God exists, and the devil is his vice president.”

A music journalist befriends an old, dying piano maestro. When the maestro sees the journalists hands, he’s invited over to the house many times. The maestro is also a connected satanists, with power to swap souls with the young man at the time of his death. Now he can continue his profession as a grandiose piano player and playboy in a new body.

In the era after the release of “Rosemary’s Baby” lots of Satan-themed movies popped up. This one had the right atmosphere. It’s well casted, especially Kurt Jurgens shines in the role as the old maestro. The set design and imagery is perfectly diabolic. The new year party-scene is a powerful moment of cinematic brilliance. When all the people got their animal masks on, the evil dog walks around with a human mask (of William Shatner). Good one!