Friday, January 24, 2014

710. AMADEUS (1984)

Running Time: 160 minutes
Directed By: Milos Forman
Written By: Peter Shaffer, from his play
Main Cast: F. Murray Abraham, Tom Hulce, Elizabeth Berridge, Ray Dotrice, Jeffrey Jones
Click here to view the trailer


I know I've said that the intended plan was to move backwards through the 80s, but so many of these "short wait/long wait/very long wait" from Netflix keep coming available and I think I need to get them out of the way before Netflix ditches them altogether and places them on the "save" list. I know I was also supposed to come in with an update post yesterday, but I never got around to it. Hopefully, I'll get back to you guys later tonight or sometime this weekend. Anyway..."Amadeus".

So the film is about Wolfgang AMADEUS Mozart (Hulce), genius composer who lived in the 1700s and was composing music when he was barely out of diapers. However, we're being told this story by Antonio Salieri (Abraham), a second, less famous composer who lived and worked at around the same time as "Wolfie". The film picks up with Salieri, now an elderly man being held in an asylum, who babbles day in and out about how he was responsible for the death of Mozart. He is visited by a catholic priest, who gets the entire story told to him first hand and we're into flashback mode, as we pick up with Salieri working as the court composer for Emperor Joseph II (Jones) of Italy. From the time he hears his music, Salieri is astounded by Mozart's talent and travels to Vienna to meet the great composer. Once in Vienna, Salieri learns that Mozart, while a fantastic composer, is a foul mouthed, disrespectful buffoon and begins to wonder why THIS man was so deserving of his God given talent. Throughout the film, Salieri questions God, as to why he gave Mozart talent and why he has yet to fulfill Salieri's dreams. The two feud throughout the film's duration, with Salieri driving the rivalry and Mozart disregarding Salieri as any sort of competition or even a peer.

This is the second time I've seen "Amadeus" and I can still remember watching it for the first time. It was 2008, I think (or late 2007) and my wife and I were living in our first apartment. This was an early attempt (albeit a failed one) to expand my knowledge of film and see some so called classics that I'd missed over the years. My wife decided to join me, so we sat down one day and watched this. I remember it took us something like four or five hours, because we kept stopping it. Long story short, we hated the movie and just could NOT get into it. So, when Netflix changed the status of "Amadeus" from "short wait" to available and sent it off to me, I was kind of dreading it. I wondered if my tastes had changed enough to finally embrace this film for the Oscar winner it was. Well....the answer is no, I couldn't.

However, I can tell you that I liked it a lot more and that I managed to finish it off in short order, not taking the five hours that it previously took me and my wife. I think ultimately I'm just not at all interested in the subject matter here and it just ends up boring me more than it captivates me. I'll tell you that the cast, however, was brilliant and I really dug F. Murray Abraham here. I thought he turned in an absolutely memorable performance and complimented Tom Hulce's annoyingly giggling Mozart just fine. Other than that though, the story was slow, the opera scenes were too many and in the end, I think had they could've told a much more succinct and better film had they chopped off about forty minutes and presented a strict, two hour film. You certainly could've taken out a lot of the opera scenes, as they dragged anyway and were as boring as you'd expect opera scenes to be. Sorry, but I'm not an opera enthusiast and tend to resemble Woody Allen's Larry Lipton when it comes to fat ladies singing and stuff like that - "I can't listen to that much Wagner, ya know? I start to get the urge to conquer Poland".

Chalk it up to a "not up my alley" picture and call it a day. If you like it, that's great and I have no criticisms to make you change your minds (not that you should listen to me anyway, even when I do). It's something that's going to work for some and definitely not work for others. I've definitely seen worse, as far as boring movies go and the acting is top notch, so at least that's SOMETHING.

RATING: 5/10  I'll take the easy way out and call it right down the middle, with my opinion leaning toward the negative side of things.


January 24, 2014  10:43pm


  1. Totally fair that since the subject matter doesn't interest you that much, the film doesn't blow you away either. I've always been into classical music, so I thought it was fascinating to see a portrayal of what went into making it. It was like a (highly fictionalized) VH1 Behind the Music for the 18th century. Agreed that it could have used some tighter editing, because it definitely gets slow.

    1. I'm too lazy to look into it myself apparently, so would you tell me - is the film accurate? Was there really a feud between Salieri and Mozart? Was Mozart as obnoxious as this in real life? etc., etc.

    2. One of my personal favorites, sorry you didn't like it more.

    3. Yeah, I wish I'd liked it more. However, like i said it definitely grew on me from the last viewing, so there's that. Thanks for the comment Larry!

    4. The personalities of Salieri and Mozart were pretty accurate. There is some evidence that they didn't like each other, but also some evidence that they did. There is definitely no evidence that Salieri worked to undermine Mozart (which is pretty much the entire plot of the film).


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