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Wick's Review

Created Jun 24, 2015 07:44PM PST • Edited Jun 19, 2019 08:46PM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Perfect 5.0

    Brilliance has never been more exquisitely appreciated than in Amadeus, with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s genius obsessively observed by Antonio Salieri, his lesser rival. Profound jealousy makes for such sweet sorrow, especially as snottily delivered by F. Murray Abraham in a stupendously juicy role as Salieri.

    Amadeus was a Tony Award-winning Best Play before winning 8 Oscars as a tremendously entertaining movie. It takes the form of Salieri’s confession, one hell of a long confession as he has much to confess.

    Salieri – a man of serious accomplishment who gets mocked when he can’t hold a candle to an enfant terrible proto-rockstar – has the greatest appreciation for Mozart’s singular brilliance, effortless accomplishment and tremendous popularity. Who better to wax grandiloquent about the one-and-only Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart than the man he left in the dust.

    Mozart doesn’t have to deal with life’s indignities. Salieri stews in them. Even his suicide scene is set to Mozart’s music. Oh, the unfairness of it all.

    Amadeus makes opera sexy, even to an opera-phobe like me. Set in a decadent society, coming alive as a magnificent period piece depicting the Holy Roman Imperial Court, it never grows old, classical forever.

  3. Great 4.0

    F. Murray Abraham won a well-deserved Oscar as Salieri, a successful composer who reacted badly when eclipsed by Mozart. Abraham’s lip-smacking performance expertly mines Salieri’s profound self-regard.

    Tom Hulce reached his acting apotheosis as “Wolfie” Mozart, enfant terrible of a very luxe musical scene. In hindsight, it seems like a Robert Downey Jr. role, notwithstanding the high, cackling voice it required.

    Rich Array of Supporters
    • Elizabeth Berridge as Mozart’s bodacious wife, a role that was Meg Tilly’s until she was injured
    • Roy Dotrice as Mozart’s forbidding father
    • Jeffrey Jones as the etherial and dilettantish Emperor Joseph II
    • Charles Kay as a musical mucky-muck
    • Simon Callow as another musical mucky-muck
    • Jonathan Moore as yet another musical mucky-muck
    • Christine Ebersole as Caterina Cavalieri, a diva desired by both Salieri & Mozart
    • Cynthia Nixon as Mozart’s maid, decades before Sex and the City
  4. Male Stars Perfect 5.0
  5. Female Stars Very Good 3.5
  6. Female Costars Good 3.0
  7. Male Costars Great 4.0
  8. Perfect 5.0

    Peter Shaffer created an Oscar-winning screenplay from his Tony-winning stage play, and then Czech director MiloŇ° Forman turned it into a magnificent film, for which he received the Best Director Oscar. He filmed much of it in his native country and in Vienna, including in the Count Nostitz Theater in Prague, where Mozart debuted some of his most famous works two centuries before. Talk about verisimilitude.

    Netflix has the Director’s Cut, which is distinctly better than the original theatrical cut.

  9. Direction Perfect 5.0
  10. Play Perfect 5.0
  11. Music Perfect 5.0
    • Sexy music before the invention of the Bo Diddley beat
    • Lots of Opera Soloists
  12. Visuals Perfect 5.0

    Spectacular stagings for the operas, including at the Count Nostitz Theater in Prague.

    No surprise then that there’s a large Czech crew recognized in the credits.

  13. Content
  14. Risqué 1.9
  15. Sex Titillating 2.3
  16. Violence Gentle 1.5
  17. Rudeness Salty 2.0
  18. Glib 1.3

    Peter Shaffer used considerable creative license to give his story dramatic punch. Hence my 2x normal CircoReality rating.

    Reality liberties aside, lots jump out at you from an exceedingly rich movie like Amadeus. Two examples:

    • Collaboration between the composers is shown to be verboten, making the work environment somewhat like a baroque Dilbert cartoon.
    • Salieri could be the Patron Saint of Mediocrities.
  19. Circumstantial Glib 2.0
  20. Biological Natural 1.0
  21. Physical Natural 1.0


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Jun 29, 2015 12:44AM

Regarding Wick’s Review
Fair enough on the Downey casting idea. Might not have worked. But the young Downey was a pip.

Jun 28, 2015 6:54PM

Regarding Wick’s Review
Easily Froman’s best work. While vastly different from the stage play, Shaeffer’s dialogue is rich, vibrant, and propells the story brilliantly. Shifting from the present of Salieri’s old age to flashbacks of his and Mozart’s life deftly, creating an engaging patchwork that is at once gorgeous and terrifying.
Hulce is at his best as a performer and matches Abraham’s tormnted, vicious portrayal of Salieri with a Mozart that is naive, vulgar, brilliant, and equally tormented. Tim Curry played Mozart on stage, and I think that casting Hulce for the film was genius. And so, Wick, I think Downey wouldn’t have been ablle to flesh out the character as well as Hulce; his si a talent more suited to roles like Chaplin.
This movie never grows old. It is like eating good food or fine wine, and one never tires of it’s brilliance.