Sunday, January 19, 2014

Amadeus (1984)

Salute to Great Composers Movie #1

(No, I’m not doing a salute to the 18th Century. And wow - two 10/10 reviews in a row - I must be getting soft.)

Synopsis: Mozart’s scheming, jealous rival sets out to destroy the young genius by, um... attending all of his performances, hiring a maid for Mozart’s apartment, paying him to write a piece of music, and taking him home after he collapses during a performance? Gee...what a monster.

Blurb From the VHS Jacket: “WINNER OF EIGHT ACADEMY AWARDS, INCLUDING BEST PICTURE, ‘Amadeus’ is the long-awaited film version of Peter Shaffer’s London and Broadway stage hit centered around Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s life and music.” 

What Did I Learn?: Those 18th Century three-cornered hats look pretty cool! 

Really?: You know, for a man who is supposed to be the villain, Antonio Salieri doesn’t seem like such a bad guy (see: “Synopsis”). Maybe I’m just a softie myself, but I had a bit of a hard time believing Salieri would hold a grudge as long as he does – especially near the end, when Mozart falls on hard times, has a family to support, and actually tells Salieri he considers him to be a friend. 

Rating: Amadeus cleaned up at the Oscars for a good reason: it’s an intelligent, well-written, and beautifully filmed movie that’s filled with great music. Amadeus boasts a number of good performances, including Tom Hulce as the title character and Elizabeth Berridge as his wife, but F. Murray Abraham is superb as bitter old Salieri, a man with just enough musical talent to know he’s a mediocrity. Highly recommended. 10/10 stars.

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