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Amadeus: Special Edition (Dbl DVD)
Gripping human drama. Sumptuous period epic. Glorious celebration of the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. This marvelous winner of eight Academy Awards(R) portrays the rivalry between the genius Mozart (Tom Hulce) and the jealous court composer (Best Actor Oscar(R) Winner F.Murray Abraham) who may have ruined Mozart's career and shortened his life.]]>
A note-perfect cinematic event whose immortality was assured from its opening night, Amadeus is an unlikely candidate for the director's-cut treatment. Like one of Mozart's operas, the multiple Oscar-winning theatrical version seemed perfectly formed from the outset--ideal casting, costumes, sets, cinematography, lighting, screenplay, music, music, music--so the reinstatement of an extra 20 minutes simply risks adding "too many notes." Yet though this extended cut can hardly be said to improve a picture that needed no improvement, it does at least flesh out a couple of small subplots and shed new light on certain key scenes. Here we learn why Constanze Mozart bears such ill will towards Salieri when she discovers him at her husband's deathbed, and we see deeper into the reasons why Mozart has no students. The structure of the picture is otherwise unaltered.
The director's cut of Amadeus finally accords this masterful work the DVD treatment it deserves. The handsome anamorphic widescreen picture is accompanied by a choice of Dolby 5.1 or Dolby stereo sound options, and it's all contained on one side of the disc. Director Milos Forman and writer Peter Shaffer provide a chatty though sporadic commentary, but they're obviously still too mesmerized by the movie to do much more than offer the odd anecdote. The second disc contains an excellent new hour-long "making of" documentary, with contributions from Forman, Shaffer, Sir Neville Marriner, and all the main actors, taking in the scriptwriting, choice of music, casting, and problems involved in filming in Communist Czechoslovakia with half the crew and extras working for the Secret Police. --Mark Walker
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The worst part about this version is that the additional scenes do not add any depth to the characters but, in fact, changes the characters and the storyline. As a result, you are stuck with the unpleasant feeling that you no longer recognize the movie you loved watching growing up. Save your money and buy the theatrical release on DVD!!!!!
The score is simply one of the best ever produced, engineered, recorded, for a feature film. On the DVD alone (I am sure it is even better on Bluray) the sonic space and surround are stupendous, enveloping and warm as needed, vibrant and dangerous as the movie progresses on. Naturally the whole score is Mozart, but it is one of the best conducted and arranged Mozarts I have ever heard and I have about a dozen Mozart CDs in my collection by all manner of European and American ensembles. Sir Neville Marriner and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields fill this movie with a heart-pounding soundtrack which carries you from opening title to end credits like a white water rafting trip on the Colorado. Incidentally, the soundtrack album/CD for the movie is arguably the best selling classical music album of all time (in terms of units sold).
The play upon which Amadeus is based on, and movie script itself, is written by Peter Shaffer who also left his heavy mark upon us with Equus a decade before Amadeus (and then again for the film script in '77). In both cases, Shaffer received an Academy Award and rightfully so, especially with Amadeus where he shows a lot of muscle and dexterity in his manipulation of two rival (from the viewpoint of Salieri) composers who are diametrically opposites of one another.
If you have been hiding under a rock for decades and have not watched AMADEUS, if you have cought a few minutes of it on a channel and didn't stay because you missed the beginning, do yourself a favor and spend some time with this movie, one of the preeminent works of art in the film industry. It is beautiful, it is funny, it is sad, it is mysterious, it is thunderous, it is heartbreaking, it is deceitful, and it is addictive. Mozart's Requiem during the run up to the end is perhaps one of the greatest cinematic and musical fusions ever brought to the screen (the opening sequence of TITUS comes close). For that alone, the film is worth every penny you pay for it.
Thank you DVW, hope I did not insult you with the description of "longish", my music reviews are often twice as long as your review was, I like detailed analysis.
Most recent customer reviews
It helps to remember the plot is based on the memories of an affirmed and mentally unstable Antonio Salieri.