Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is a remarkably talented young Viennese composer who unwittingly finds a fierce rival in the disciplined and determined Antonio Salieri. Resenting Mozart for both his hedonistic lifestyle and his undeniable talent, the highly religious Salieri is gradually consumed by his jealousy and becomes obsessed with Mozart's downfall, leading to a devious scheme that has dire consequences for both men.
_**Lively costume biography about Mozart’s last nine years in Austria**_
Antonio Salieri (F. Murray Abraham) is a competent but mediocre composer in Vienna, Austria, in the late 1700s. He recognizes the God-given genius of the younger Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Tom Hulce) and struggles with bitter envy. The story is told in flashback as Salieri shares it with a cleric decades later at an asylum.
“Amadeus” (1984) is an entertaining costume drama that successfully takes you back to Vienna from 1783-1791. Mozart was basically the rock star of the era and some of his dynamic music even evokes certain modern rock styles. Giving the main characters personality helps bring the events alive and the flashback structure makes for compelling storytelling.
On the feminine front, Elizabeth Berridge plays Amadeus’ cute & feisty wife, Constanze, while Christine Ebersole is on hand as a ravishing opera singer, sorta reminiscent of Tina Root of Switchblade Symphony (albeit taller).
The original Broadway play concentrated on character motivation with music in the background while the movie focuses a little too much on it. Unless you’re an opera aficionado, the extensive scenes of Mozart's and Salieri's operas being performed become tiresome after a while and unnecessarily bloat the film, somewhat muting the story. When the Emperor yawns during a performance of “Figaro” I could relate because a lot of opera music sounds the same to me.
Nonetheless, this is an informative and amusing biography of Wolfgang’s last nine years; very well done.
The movie runs 2 hours, 40 minutes and was shot mostly in the Czech Republic.
AMLF, The Saul Zaentz Company by Milos Forman, Peter Shaffer, Zdenek Mahler.
Stars: F. Murray Abraham, Tom Hulce, Elizabeth Berridge.
Genres: Biography, Drama, History
Keywords: italy austria composer opera talent emperor musician marriage crisis mozart god murder vienna, austria envy 18th century
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