This one I recommend.

F. Murray Abraham as an old Salieri.

Wondrous; effectively funny and sad.

That was Mozart. That giggling dirty-minded creature I had just seen, crawling on the floor!” quoth Antonio Salieri, as played by F. Murray Abraham.

Most who have seen Amadeus will know what I mean when I state that one of the first things that surprised me about the film was the way Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart acted. I didn’t know much of Mozart’s life before seeing the film but I certainly never imagined him as the eccentric, funny bloke he apparently was.

Miloš Forman and Peter Shaffer’s masterful 1984-film Amadeus begins in the year 1823 where we’re introduced to an elderly Antonio Salieri (Abraham) as he’s taken to an insane asylum where he meets a priest, Father Vogler (Richard Frank), to whom he speaks of how he was once the court composer of Austrian emperor Joseph II (Jeffrey Jones) and devoted to God and also claims to be the man who murdered Wolfgang Mozart, played in this film by Tom Hulce.

Salieri tells the priest, and us in the process, about the things that happen during the late 1700’s. All where talking of an extraordinary young man by the name of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Salieri listens as people speak of how he wrote his first opera at the age of four, can write full compositions with great speed and without having to make corrections, how he makes music that sounds like the voice of The Lord himself.

I am confident Salieri and the audience of the film (those who haven’t seen it before, I mean) are equally surprised when Mozart first shows up. We see one of the most brilliant musicians known to man, jumping around goofily, giggling and flirting with many beautiful women. Despite his peculiar behaviour, it is still true that he is a musical master, creating greater operas and music for the emperor than Salieri ever could. Mozart also starts coming up with ideas that where unheard of at the time, such as operas in German, rather than Italian. He manages to convince everyone that he is right pretty much every time.

Tom Hulce doing a fine job in his role as Mozart.

Mozart does many things that upset Salieri, such as making fun of his music and stealing what attention he had. As villainous as Salieri looks and sometimes acts, we still feel sorry for him as we watch him struggle with his great envy and start to believe God is againts him too. One truly feels the pain he is going through; a brilliantly written and performed character he certainly is. Mozart himself is also a great character; he too has demons to battle and reasons to be sad (his father doesn’t fully belive in him and all his hard musical work drives him to alcoholism), all whilst hiding behind his lovable goofiness.

I don’t really want to complain too much about the historical accuracy, because certain things are indeed wrong. I’m not sure if Mozart was ever so silly and hilarious but I do know that he worked longer and harder on his pieces than the film thinks. But Amadeus is not a biography as much as it is Historical Fiction; not intended to be entirely accurate. It doesn’t really matter; it is still a powerful film.

It isn’t unknown today that it is a successful movie. It won several Oscars, including Best Actor which rightly was given to F. Murray Abraham, who became one of my all-time favourite actors after I saw this film. I admit that I would have liked to see a bit more serious movie about the life and death of Mozart but that is for another time. This is what we get and what we get is lovely!

Amadeus smartly blends tragedy with humour and the suffering felt by Abraham’s character with the over-the-top wackyness of Hulce’s, all set to the magnificent, beautiful music by the great Mozart himself. ‘Tis a superbly acted movie, with superbly written characters and dialogue; a film as sad as it his comedic, a film as wondrous as it’s music.

“From now on we are enemies, You and I. Because You choose for Your instrument a boastful, lustful, smutty, infantile boy and give me for reward only the ability to recognize the incarnation. I will hinder and harm Your creature on earth as far as I am able.” quoth Antonio Salieri, as played by F. Murray Abraham.

4.5/5 whatever.

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