In THE REINCARNATION OF PETER PROUD, Michael Sarrazin plays the title character. He begins having dreams of strange people and places he has never seen before. He dreams of a bridge, a statue, and other landmarks, but has no idea what or where they are.
While watching TV, he sees the bridge from his dreams. When he learns it is in Massachusetts, he heads there to try to find out what is going on.
After discovering the location of the bridge, he begins to do more research about his dreams. Along the way, he begins to believe he may be reincarnated. In a creepy subplot, he falls in love with his former self’s daughter (Jennifer O’Neill) and meets his former self’s wife (Margot Kidder).
The film is extremely effective. Especially the music score by Jerry Goldsmith. It was directed by J. Lee Thompson, from a novel by Max Ehrlich. Sarrazin, a 70’s star of THEY SHOOT HORSES DON’T THEY, never really had the career he should have. He was quite good in this. And there is even a small role by Debralee Scott.
I have to be honest in reviewing this film. I may be very biased as the entire film was shot in and around the town I grew up in. It is essentially a travelogue of Springfield Massachusetts in the mid 70’s. (One of these days I plan on doing a then and now comparison of how the locations in the film look today. I have yet to find out where one of the houses he visits is located.)
Being a movie fan, living in an area that isn’t known for many films being shot here, I can’t watch the film without noticing all the different locations. Whenever I drive over the bridge depicted in the film, I always think of the film and the way they shot it with all sorts of weird angles. I used to drive by the country club shown in the film all the time, and think of it. No matter how many times I see the film, I never get beyond the “Hey! I’ve been there!” factor.
Here is a 7 minute segment someone posted on YouTube, with many of his dream sequences and driving around the area. (NOTE: The scene where he stops his car at the 2:37 mark on the bridge always drives me nuts. I drive over that bridge every morning and if someone really stopped their car in that place, they would not only get smashed into, but tie up traffic completely.)
THE REINCARNATION OF PETER PROUD was released on VHS and Laserdisc by Vestron Video, that has been out of business for over fifteen years. I believe Video Treasures also released a version in LP mode. You can find used copies on Amazon. But, other than bootlegs, there hasn’t been a DVD release.
Released by Bing Crosby Productions and American International Pictures, the rights are now owned by Rysher. I know of someone who tried to contact them about getting it released on DVD. He heard back that it was possible, but then Rysher was bought out by another company (Mark Cuban’s 2929 Entertainment) and the film catalogue changed hands once again.
David Fincher, after making ZODIAC, spoke about wanting to remake it. If he does, that might make a DVD release possible. And I also hope that, since Springfield was the town in the book that it was based, he might think of filming there.