|Michael Sarrazin as Peter Proud|
THE REINCARNATION OF PETER PROUD (1975). Director: J. Lee Thompson. Screenplay by Max Erlich, from his novel.
College professor Peter Proud (Michael Sarrazin) keeps having weird dreams of being murdered with a paddle by a woman in a boat, so he seeks help from everyone from shrinks to a sleep researcher named Sam (Paul Hecht). Of course, the title of the movie clues the viewer in early on that what Peter thinks are dreams are actually memories of his former life as Jeff Curtis (Tony Stephano), a war hero who played around a little too much on his wife, Marcia (Margot Kidder). Determined to find out what happened, Peter searches for the town he/Jeff grew up in, and encounters his former wife and daughter (Jennifer O'Neill of Scanners), with whom he ... well, let's just say it isn't incest if the two aren't biologically related. The acting in the film is perfectly okay [although Kidder is not especially convincing as a woman in her fifties], but the movie is just kind of blah. The best, very moving scene has Jeff's almost hopelessly senile mother seeing Peter in a nursing home and recognizing him as her son. Very downbeat ending and a somewhat strange score by Jerry Goldsmith.The picture came out at a time when the subject of reincarnation had once again become very trendy, as it does every few years or so. Stephano was a handsome male model who appeared in only one other film, Tron, seven years later. Hecht has had a busy career, mostly on television. Thompson also directed Happy Birthday to Me and many other movies.
Verdict: As this is currently being remade, maybe it will come back as a much better movie. **1/2.