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THE INCREDIBLE STORY OF WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART, TOLD INFLASHBACK MODE BY ANTONIO SALIERI - NOW CONFINED TO AN INSANE ASYLUM.
The satirical sensibilities of writer Peter Shaffer and director Milos Forman (One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest) were ideally matched in this Oscar-winning movie adaptation of Shaffer's hit play about the rivalry between two composers in the court of Austrian Emperor Joseph II--official royal composer Antonio Salieri (F. Murray Abraham), and the younger but superior prodigy Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Tom Hulce). The conceit is absolutely delicious: Salieri secretly loathes Mozart's crude and bratty personality, but is astounded by the beauty of his music. That's the heart of Salieri's torment--although he's in a unique position to recognize and cultivate both Mozart's talent and career, he's also consumed with envy and insecurity in the face of such genius. That such magnificent music should come from such a vulgar little creature strikes Salieri as one of God's cruelest jokes, and it drives him insane. Amadeus creates peculiar and delightful contrasts between the impeccably re-created details of its lavish period setting and the jarring (but humorously refreshing and unstuffy) modern tone of its dialogue and performances--all of which serve to remind us that these were people before they became enshrined in historical and artistic legend. Jeffrey Jones, best-known as Ferris Bueller's principal, is particularly wonderful as the bumbling emperor (with the voice of a modern midlevel businessman). The film's eight Oscars include statuettes for Best Director Forman, Best Actor Abraham (Hulce was also nominated), Best Screenplay, and Best Picture. --Jim Emerson
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The movie, of course is 5 stars and the print this film is from is very good quality.
On the face of it, Tom Hulce and Elizabeth Berridge were miscast. This is a serious piece and I didn't think either had the depth as an actor to pull it off. But, both did - especially Hulce. He goes from Mozart's childish confidence in his superior abilities, never for a moment thinking perhaps he should be a bit more circumspect, to the agonies of depression and illness.
It was love of this film that made me visit the Mozart house in Vienna last year. I felt that the apartment the film showed the Mozarts living in looked too big, too grand for people like them who were 1) middle class (if there was such a thing in that day) and 2) always having money problems. The actual apartment has quite a few rooms but they are all much smaller than the film suggests.
The other interesting thing in Vienna was that the Mozarts married in Stephansdom cathedral - truly one of the most elaborate and beautiful churches ever built. I wish the film had shown even a little of its magnificence.
This is a movie of great depth but also a wonderful choice to introduce people to classical music.
Most recent customer reviews
This one is a very slow three hours in which many of the added scenes do not pay their own way.Read more