Based on Klaus Mann's novel, Mephisto details the rise of a Faustian character who figuratively sells his soul in exchange for greatness. Hendrik Hofgen (Klaus Maria Brandauer, offering an electric performance) is the star of a state-funded theater department who tires of his job. Like his friends, he pays lip service to socialist ideals fashionable for artists of his time -- that is, until the Nazis rise to power. He then sees an opportunity to achieve his objective of fame: he will perform propaganda plays and thereby use the Nazis as a vehicle to spread his name across the country -- only too late does he realize his mistake. This well-adapted version of the book featured the first teaming of Brandauer with director Istvan Szabo; they would later reunite to make Colonel Redl and Hanussen. Brandauer first gained attention in the U.S. after the film's release and would be cast as the villain in Never Say Never Again as a result.~Jeremy Beday
A worthy Academy Award winner for Best Foreign Language Film, this is a remarkable motion picture. Awesome color cinematography, and brilliantly acted by its star, its a portrayal of survival against all odds that an actor remains at the top of his game under oppression. A masterpiece in world class filmmaking.