Movie Club: Amadeus

Discussion in 'Introductions & Off Topic' started by LiamABC, Jul 21, 2018.

  1. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    WELCOME EVERYBODY TO THE LATEST DISCUSSION THREAD OF THE NEW MOVIE CLUB, DESIGNED TO RUN PARALLEL WITH R.O.C.K.S. A big thanks to everyone that are joining us through all of this.

    This week we're going with a selection from The Drifter:


    A film I for one have never seen before but am very curious about.

    Remember any ideas for films to discuss are most welcome, and should be made on the Movie Club Introduction thread (the sticky one), and anyone is welcome to add their thoughts about movies already discussed on their respective threads.

    Just a friendly reminder to everyone that, whilst fans are obviously welcome to passionately discuss and give their views on these movies, please remember to keep things on a friendly footing and respect your fellow posters.
    Also, please do not post where or how to find the full movie online. And do not post asking others to PM it to you. You are however allowed to watch the movie in whatever manner you want.
    The Drifter likes this.
  2. The Drifter

    The Drifter Berbill

    LiamABC, Thanks very much for picking this film as a choice to review on this forum. I can't say enough good things about Amadeus - it's superb, and a modern masterpiece. I've seen it numerous times over the years. My first time was on VHS tape with my Dad, probably sometime in the late '80's.

    The movie has many great elements: It's an incredible character study of a musical prodigy; a cautionary tale about the dangers of jealousy; a historical drama in which late 18th century Vienna may as well be another character in the film; and a movie in which the incredible classical soundtrack is as important to the film as are the characters & story. Re: the music, each piece is perfectly placed in the film itself & definitely complements each scene it's placed over.

    While Tom Hulce was great in the title role, to me the most impressive acting here was F. Murray Abraham as Antonio Salieri - what a truly brilliant performance. Salieri's intense jealousy & hatred both because of Mozart's natural musical genius & success with women (both of which Salieri lacked) was almost palatable here.

    Note that Amadeus won numerous Academy Awards for 1984: Best picture, best director (Milos Forman), best actor (Abraham), best Screenplay based on material from another medium, best Sound, best Art Direction, best Costume Design, and best Makeup. I don't always agree with the choices for these awards since I think the AA are sometimes nothing more than a popularity contest - however, in this case I agree 100% with all the justified accolades this film received!

    It's also worth noting that there are two version of the film out there: The original '84 theatrical version, and the 2002 Director's cut - which extends the film to an almost three hour length (2 hours, 53 minutes, to be exact). Though I don't always like director's cuts since the editing doesn't always work for me, here the added scenes are seamlessly edited back into the original print. And, these added scenes definitely enhance the film & the viewing experience. One of my fondest memories of seeing a film theatrically was seeing this Director's cut at a local art house movie theater back in Spring '02. In fact, I liked the film so much I saw it in the theater twice - which is significant, especially given the film's length. Here's some more info. on the slight additions that were made re: the director's cut:
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2018
  3. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    I've just finished watching the director's cut of this film - and indeed reading up on it on Wikipedia. Apparently the director cut out a few things that weren't essential to the plot simply to help get the length down originally for the cinematic release, but when it came to the DVD, figured it didn't matter as the viewers had their own time to watch it in.

    I liked what they said about it being "a three hour film about classical music made right at the height of MTV". This is actually similar to what happened in 1977, when right at the height of the punk revolution, Paul McCartney got to no1 on the charts with "Mull Of Kintyre", which sounded so like a traditional folk song that people struggled to believe he'd written it himself.

    Actually, speaking of things reminding me of other musicians, the debauchery of Mozart here is reminiscent of Freddie Mercury - whose life story is being told in a film due for release very soon as it happens!

    OK, what I think of the film itself - well, it's not something I'd naturally turn to, but it's very impressive. The intensity works. You said the Austrian setting is almost a character in itself, I'd say that more about the music. It's a great way to showcase Mozart's prodigious output to an audience who might not be that well up on it. Obviously a lot of the viewers will know every note of his work by heart, but there's plenty who won't.

    I think the film takes a few liberties with history, inevitably as it's based on a play which is based on an opera which is based on another play, but it tells a story well enough. Despite the lavish production scale, the characters shine through, and it all boils down to one man's envy of another. F. Murray Abraham, whom I knew from Star Trek Insurrection (the first Trek film I saw in the cinema, incidentally), was excellent as Salieri - he conveyed so much simply with his tone of voice, and that tone said at least as much as the words themselves. Tom Hulce as Mozart - yes, like I said before, reminiscent of Freddie Mercury, and possessed of an intensity that reflected in whatever he was doing, be it writing music or gallivanting with women.

    Actually, the compositional element was one area that fascinated me as a songwriter - and when Mozart and Salieri are working on the requiem, you can hear the parts in their minds, and you know they're getting a real buzz out of it. I get the same feeling when I'm writing a song and come up with something that I know is just right for it. It's an excitement that I doubt even Meg Ryan could fake.

    One thing that grated on me were the American accents in what was meant to be Austria. It's a minor quibble, but they could have at least tried to sound a bit more neutral. (This is also my one major quibble with the 1948 version of The Three Musketeers.)

    Perhaps the most notable thing about this film though, is that because of its success, Salieri's music has enjoyed a major revival. What he himself would make of that, I wouldn't like to guess, given the circumstances!

    All in all though, yes, good.
  4. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    There isn't really much I can say about this movie that hasn't already been said.
    This is a really good movie.
    Although not really the type of movie I would usually watch.

    The cast and acting is very good. Although there are some strong American accents.

    The story is very good and the characters are interesting.

    The cinematography and setting is very beautiful.
  5. The Drifter

    The Drifter Berbill

    Glad you both liked the film. I'm not a big classical music fan either, but the film is so well done that you don't have to necessarily be a fan of Amadeus' music to appreciate & enjoy the movie.

    I definitely agree that the music may as well have been another character in the film.

    I also agree 100% that the American accents were out of place in a film that took place in late 18th century Austria, where everyone (at the time, at least) would have been speaking German. It's my only complaint about an IMHO otherwise perfect film. I'm a film-goer that's a stickler for detail, and if at all possible I like seeing foreign films in the original language. English is the only language I speak fluently (and understand), but do enjoy watching foreign films - as long as they have English subtitles, of course.

    That being said - In the case of Amadeus, I understand that the main actors were American (Hulce, Abraham, and many of the other actors/actresses) & that the film was in English. However, I don't see why the actors couldn't have spoken English with a slight foreign accent, so it would have been at least a LITTLE more authentic. I've seen this in other movies, and don't understand how it would have been that tough here. Again, just a minor complaint.
    LiamABC likes this.
  6. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    I know what you mean. American accents on non-American characters is one of the biggest teeth-gnashing issues I have with films in general. Robin Hood Prince Of Thieves is a classic example, as is the 1993 film version of The Three Musketeers. In both cases, there were superior films of these stories already out there (Errol Flynn's 1938 Robin Hood, and the 1973-4 2-part Musketeers extravaganza).

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