1984 • Amadeus

Amadeus, 1984 Best PictureThe project has fallen a little out of order thanks to Netflix sending us a broken Terms of Endearment disc and not replacing it, so Lauren and I marched ahead with the project Sunday night as we watched 1984’s Amadeus, the Best Picture winner from Lauren’s birth year. We originally figured to give the project a break over the summer months with Twins baseball occupying our TV time, but Sunday night we both agreed we were up for another movie.

I had seen Amadeus once before, about 13 years ago in high school as the chorus watched it over the span of several class periods. I had pretty much forgotten the story though.

The movie is based in Austria in the late 1700s as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart rises to become the world’s greatest young composer. A bit of a wild man, Mozart gets himself into plenty of trouble chasing women and drinking, but all the while the music continues to come to him so naturally that he perfects every piece on the first try, never needing to so much as make a correction to a note.

Austria’s Court Composer, Antonio Salieri, is a fellow composer who is ravenously jealous of Mozart’s natural talent, but lets Mozart think he’s a supportive, caring friend. When Mozart becomes ill and faints while conducting an opera, it’s Salieri to the rescue—or so Mozart is led to believe.

I always liked this movie and quickly remembered why as I rewatched it Sunday. The acting of F. Murray Abraham in the role of the sinister Salieri was unforgettable. The lead acting of Tom Hulce was also outstanding. Hulce never really did anything else quite as big as Amadeus, and a quick comparison of Hulce from 1984 to 2010 shows he aged very poorly.

The music was of course a main part of the movie and the many scenes dedicated to showing the productions on stage reminded me of 1936 winner The Great Ziegfeld, only much more interesting. I imagine this movie was up for many sound and costume awards with the elaborate sets and musical numbers.

The most memorable moment of the movie for me was the closing scene after Mozart collapses and is taken back to his home by Salieri, where he wakes Mozart and “assists” him in writing his final opera, which Salieri intends to steal shortly thereafter and pass off as his own. But would he get the chance to do so?

Overall Amadeus gets high marks from me. The 2 hours, 40 minutes went by pretty fast. Check my Rankings page to see where this movie landed on my overall list to this point. Next, we’ll try to either get to Terms of Endearment or move on to 1985’s Out of Africa.

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1 Comment

  1. thats cause thats ryan carnes, not tom hulce


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