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A Review of the movie Amadeus
A look into the life of this great composer
The other night nothing was on television so I decided to rummage through my DVDs and find a movie. I came across a movie I hadn’t seen in a while Amadeus. Mozart seemed to enjoy some popularity in the 1980’s. First the movie Amadeus was released and then in 1985 the song Rock Me Amadeus came out to success. Mozart would surely have been amused.
Amadeus takes us into the worlds of two men the first being Mozart, boy genius, and the other world is that of Antonio Salieri an Italian composer in Vienna at the same time as Mozart. In real life the two men at certain times vied for the same jobs and Mozart would usually loose because the Austrian royalty preferred the Italian composers over the Austrian composers at that time. Salieri, however had lived in Austria so long his style was more in the German style than the Italian. It was thought that Mozart and Salieri were enemies, but once Mozart had become established they both supported each other and were friends. It was after the death of Mozart that the rumor started that Salieri had poisoned Mozart.
The movie Amadeus was released in 1984 and was nominated for a staggering 53 awards and won 40. It starred Tom Hulce as Mozart, F. Murray Abraham as Salieri, and Elizabeth Berridge as Mozart’s wife Constance. The movie takes the rumor of the poisoning and runs with it. It is a fascinating story told from the perspective of Salieri who prayed that God would make him a composer who was famous and would never be forgotten. He composed works praised by the Viennese court , but he felt inferior to Mozart who took composing to a new level. In the movie Salieri becomes angry with God for giving Mozart, a vulgar, childish acting man, the ability to write music that was so beautiful and complex. Salieri, in the movie, saw Mozart’s star shine in later years while his music became more and more forgotten. The good news for Salieri is that after the movie was released his music made a small comeback. It is great what a little publicity can do.
F. Murray Abraham plays his part to perfection; he can make you laugh with his expressions and his way of saying a line. You believe he is Salieri and you believe in the jealousy he had in Mozart and the way it made him inferior and bitter. The images at the end of the movie with Salieri being led down an asylum with mentally ill people all around and him stating he was the patron saint of mediocrity is a haunting scene that will stay with you. I think we can sympathize a little with this character. If you have ever attempted to do something and then see someone else do it so much better. It can shake your confidence and have you wondering, “How come they can do this so wonderfully and I have to struggle?” It is something we can all relate to.
Tom Hulce plays Mozart with great spirit and boyish enthusiasm. It was great to see the movie and learn the human side of this great composer. Mozart was used to being pampered by his Dad who took him around as a child and made him perform in front of royalty. He knew he was gifted and he was passionate about his work. He was used to getting his way and had a bit of a temper when things didn’t go the way he had planned them to. It is fun to see what a day in the life of this composer was like. He had that star quality and in the present time Mozart would have been a huge pop star because of his talent and the it faction he possessed.
Mozart may have appeared to be happy and carefree, but all his life he never learned to live within his means and was always scrambling to find the money he needed to keep the life style he craved.
The movie is a little long, but very entertaining. You hear the music of Amadeus; you get to be transported back in time to the beautiful city of Vienna and see life inside the palace. You also get a look into the lives of these two fascinating men and though the poisoning story may be false it makes for a good movie. This movie deserved the many nominations and wins it received. It was well written, well-acted, and well-orchestrated. Check out Amadeus and see for yourself.