Author Topic: Amadeus (1984)  (Read 2945 times)

Offline Antares

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Amadeus (1984)
« on: March 24, 2010, 05:28:28 AM »

Year: 1984
Film Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures, The Saul Zaentz Company
Genre: Drama, Classic, Music
Length: 180 Min.

Milos Forman (1932)

Peter Shaffer (1926)...Play
Peter Shaffer (1926)...Screenplay

Michael Hausman
Bertil Ohlsson
Saul Zaentz (1921)

Miroslav Ondrícek (1934)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756)...Composer
Neville Marriner (1924)...Conductor
Antonio Salieri (1750)...Composer

F. Murray Abraham (1939) as Antonio Salieri
Tom Hulce (1953) as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Elizabeth Berridge (1962) as Constanze Mozart
Roy Dotrice (1923) as Leopold Mozart
Simon Callow (1949) as Emanuel Schikaneder
Christine Ebersole (1953) as Katerina Cavalieri
Jeffrey Jones (1946) as Emperor Joseph II
Charles Kay (1930) as Count Orsini-Rosenberg

       Most Broadway plays that are adapted for the silver screen tend to not have the same passion or relevance as their stage counterpart, in the case of Amadeus the opposite is true. By allowing the classical compositions of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to act as an unseen major character in the screenplay, an atmosphere of aural intensity and fluidity is created that help the viewer to become engulfed in the story of this flawed genius of the musical arts. Though highly fictionalized, the screenplay written by Peter Shafer and directed by Milos Forman delves into the rivalry between Mozart and the court composer of Emperor Joseph II of Austria, Antonio Salieri. It is the jealousy and intrigue of this one character that unfolds the story in a series of flashbacks told to a priest in a sanitarium in Vienna in the early part of the 19th century. Salieri, who is now an elderly man, has attempted suicide by slashing his throat. In his delirium he pronounces himself the assassin who brought about the death of the now famous composer. He recounts for the priest how he first came to know Mozart and how he plotted and schemed to bring about his demise. Through it all we are serenaded with music so beautiful that at the end of the film, we can understand why Salieri felt as if he was “hearing the voice of God” in Mozart’s music.

       F. Murray Abraham is the actor who brings to life the wily and envious character of Antonio Salieri. Largely unknown to film audiences at the time, his background on the New York stage was well suited to the adapted version of this successful play. His portrayal of essentially two characters in the film (young and old Salieri) would help to bring him the Best Actor Oscar for that year. On the other side of the coin, Thomas Hulce, who also was nominated for Best Actor, is simply sublime as the precocious, spoiled prodigy with the grating and garish giggle. This was the only time that I felt that co-winners should have been announced for an Oscar at the Academy Awards. As Salieri states in the film, “Displace one note and there would be diminishment, displace one phrase, and the structure would fall”, take away one of these performances and the film would lose all resonance.
       And finally, another player in the performance should have been rewarded with an Oscar in the category of Best Supporting Actor. Jeffrey Jones turn as the aristocratic, yet aloof ‘musical King’ Joseph II, is a scene stealing delight. Not only did he look and act the part of royalty, but also his delivery of the line “Well… there it is”, which he uses repeatedly to convey an array of emotions, is priceless.

Ratings Criterion
- The pinnacle of film perfection and excellence.
- Not quite an immortal film, yet a masterpiece in its own right.
- Historically important film, considered a classic.
- An entertaining film that’s fun or engaging to watch.
– A good film that’s worth a Netflix venture.
- Borderline viewable.
– A bad film that may have a moment of interest.
– Insipid, trite and sophomoric, and that's its good points.
– A film so vacuous, it will suck 2 hours from the remainder of your life.
- A gangrenous and festering pustule in the chronicles of celluloid.

« Last Edit: January 01, 2014, 03:02:39 PM by Antares »


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Re: Amadeus (1984)
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2010, 12:58:51 PM »
“Displace one note and there would be diminishment, displace one phrase, and the structure would fall”

And then they did. Ironically, the theatrical version won 9 oscars after they displaced "too many nooootes" and broke the structure by removing many phrases.  There are things in this movie that can only be fully understood only when you watch the director's cut which is a true piece of genius.  I think the studio would have had rocks thrown at them back in 84 if people had know how badly they damaged this movie but cutting like barbarians.

I love this movie, I've watched it more times than I can remember and loved it every single time but there is one scene that always bothered me, until I got to see the director's cut.  At the end of the movie when Stanzie returns home and finds Salieri at Mozart's side, she is extremely rude with him, you can feel in the scene that she hates him and she asks him to leave.  From the theatrical version I never understood why, this woman comes home after she had left her husband, he's sick, she finds a man at his side, apparently taking care of him and she treats him like crap....what a bitch.  I always felt that scene made no sense, why would she hate Salieri, after all he's done nothing to her, we hardly ever see them together in the movie.

Then comes the director's cut with the restored scenes where Stanzie brings Mozart's scores to Salieri and asks him to use is influence to get him a position as a tutor for the emperor's niece.  Salieri tells her he's gonna do it if she comes back later and have sex with him, when she does and gets undressed in front of him he treats her like she's worthless, tells her to go back to her husband and leaves her alone, half naked with a servant to escort her to the door.  Ah well, now I know why she hates him and kicks him out of the house later.  There's even a bit of a revenge when she says "Please respect my wish and leave" with a little tone like rich people would use, almost saying "There you see, I'm not the whore you thought I who's screwed..........asshole".

If the Academy Awards had a trophy for the worse butchering in a film, Amadeus would have won 10.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2010, 01:01:12 PM by Eric »

Offline Antares

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Re: Amadeus (1984)
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2010, 02:16:19 PM »
There is no doubt that when I recommend this film to anyone, I always tell them to get the Director's cut. But I can understand why they did it too. Think about it, a bio-film about a Classical music composer? Anything past the two hour mark probably would have tanked at the box office in the studio's mind. At least DVD came along to save their 'mistake'.


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Re: Amadeus (1984)
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2010, 02:27:29 PM »
Antares I realize they had to cut the movie, I just believe that some of the cuts they made were close to butchering.  There's always a choice to make but personally, instead of cutting the scene between Stanzie and Salieri I would have removed the stupid scene where Mozart goes for a tutoring job and the idiots family make the dogs "sing" while he plays the piano.  Granted that it was a funny scene, I don't think it brought much to the movie in comparison to the one where Salieri "rejects" Mozart's wife as if she were scum.

Offline Antares

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Re: Amadeus (1984)
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2010, 02:43:45 PM »
I agree. I was only stating why I believe they did the cuts.


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Re: Amadeus (1984)
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2010, 03:31:57 PM »
I know most people can't watch a 2 hours movie when they're comfortably seated at home so they definitely wouldn't stay still for 2.5 hours in a theatre..............even if they were comfortable.

I just wonder sometimes how much the director really has to say in the final version because some movies have been really poorly amputated.  Amadeus is one of them but The Abyss has got to be the worst I've seen, the end doesn't even make sense in the theatrical version........ :hmmmm:, interesting subject for a new topic.


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Re: Amadeus (1984)
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2010, 07:11:42 PM »
I have to admit I always thought they removed that scene because it's the only case of major nudity in the film (I know some of the mental patients are nude at the beginning but that's more incidental).
I assumed it was removed because wouldn't they have given it an R rating in America, and wouldn't that have harmed it financially - at least from the studio's point of view?
But I agree it was a mistake to remove it, it explained exactly why she hated Salieri at the end.

Edit: and I think for studio-funded films, the director can have very little control over the final product. I've heard stories of directors being locked out of edit suites and negatives being destroyed so scenes can't be re-instated afterwards.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2010, 07:13:50 PM by northbloke »