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Yes, it makes more sense, but is it better?
on October 13, 2003
The first thing I did with this was watch the "making of" bonus documentary. I had only recently re-watched the film, and wasn't sure I wanted to see it again, so soon. But when I realized how much extra footage was there, I got curious. With all the formerly excised bits put in, the flow of the narrative becomes clearer. Salieri becomes more pathetically wicked, and Mozart becomes more worthy of our empathy; especially from the standpoint of "the plight of the artist". We more fully understand their motivations.
Even Mozart's wife's character is complexified, as well as their marriage (a short spat scene). Thus it takes on a character unlike the original. It's just a bit less "easy", as most Hollywood productions are these days.
But I'm still not sure I prefer this. This is because, although, as I say, this "psuedo biography" makes more sense in its narrative, the scenes that were added are sometimes questionable from a qualitative standpoint. There is an American actor who plays a patron, for example, who hires Mozart to teach his young daughter music; but the scene is so over the top, that it's easy to see why it got cut. Though, you'll understand (and it speaks volumes about how Mozart is portrayed), why Mozart is so smugly sucking on a wine bottle as he walks through the busy streets afterward.
But the scene in which I always thought Salieri's final reaction to Frau Mozart's ploy to get him to help them--wherein he drops the portfolio and leaves the room--makes a lot more sense here. So some of the revived scenes fix small annoyances like this one.
So, as I say, if, like me, this is one of your favorite films, you won't be disappointed by this version, but you will begin to think, perhaps, that the film would have seemed a bit flawed if all of this had been released in the first place. And even wonder if it would have been so popular. So buy the original theatrical version, and rent this--you may like it, but it's left me conflicted--and thus you may decide for yourself before plonking down the loot, how you feel.
Some movies are like old friends, and it's a little difficult to adjust, if say, for instance they show up with a nose job....same deal here.