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Alan Alda plays a classical piano player on the rise who befriends a famous player himself who's at death's door. Unknown to Alda, the guy is a satanist, who arranges to have their souls switch places at his death, so that he can be young again and continue to play piano (thus needing a skilled piano player like Alda to switch bodies with). Written by
At one point in the film, there is a very subtle reference to the "Curious Case of Benjamin Button", the short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald first published in 1922. When Myles is having his facial mask done by Paula, Duncan comes into the room and after a few moments says "People should be born at seventy, and live their life backwards!" This is the exact age of Benjamin Button when he is "born" in the Fitzgerald story. See more »
[Myles is going to light a cigarette]
Oh, throw that disgusting cylinder away!
See more »
The first indication that this is going to be a science fiction/fantasy film is the fact that Alda is married to Bisset! Doubtful..... They play a relatively happy couple who become embroiled into the lives of an eccentric concert pianist (Jurgens) and his rather creepy daughter (Parkins.) As Alda continues to find himself in the world of the very rich and very indulgent Jurgens, Bisset realizes that something is very wrong. It seems that Jurgens wants to (with a little help from Satan) put his soul into Alda's body. (It is emphasized that it's due to his incredible piano hands, not for any other esoteric things that Alda has to offer......though, truthfully, this is probably about the best Alda ever looked.) Though Alda gets top billing, this is really Bisset's story as she tries to navigate the world of the devil cult before they can set their sights on her daughter who is next on the list of conquests. These transformations are punctuated by the appearance of a dab of Wisk detergent on the receiver's forehead. (Oddly, no one in the film seems to particularly want to be Bisset, who is one of the most glorious women ever to be seen on film, even if here her hair is a bit fly-away and she wears little make-up.) The film has a sort of souped-up TV movie quality to it, no doubt due to the producer Quinn Martin who created so many memorable 1960's and 1970's TV series. It's just a retread of the more popular (and better done) "Rosemary's Baby". Here, the director doesn't take the time to make the coven of worshippers memorable, even though they are played by familiar character actors in most cases, and they are hardly utilized at all. It's difficult to work up much familial concern for Alda, Bisset and their daughter Ferdin since they are hardly ever seen together. Ferdin, after one initial glimpse, is mostly just referred to until later in the movie. Alda gives a very sedate performance for the most part. He seems horribly miscast. Bisset does pretty well until the ridiculous ending throws the movie off it's track. Parkins is good as the icily evil daughter. She and Jurgens share a memorably disturbing kiss. Widdoes tries to bring dimension to the standard best friend role. Dillman (oddly billed as "Brad") does a decent enough job as Parkins' former husband. Jerry Goldsmith provides a nerve-jarring score which is sometimes a bit too over the top for it's own good. It's fun to watch in a kitschy way. (Check out those main titles!) Moss Mabry has some fun with the costuming at times (notably at a risque costume ball.) There's also a convincingly nasty little dog that Bisset has to contend with. All in all, an enjoyable enough film for a mild shock or two and some creeps, but by no means is it a great film.
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