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Scott Ventura >> Movie Commentary >> September 1998 >> Amadeus


Movie Commentary by Scott Ventura


Scott's Rating:
5 / 5
Times Seen:
Viewing Date:
September 1998
IMDB Name:
Amadeus (1984)
Milos Forman
MPAA Rating:


I recently attended a presentation by Douglas Hofstadter in which he commented on categorizing people based on their feelings about music. He placed those for whom music is an essential, powerful, and inspirational part of their lives in one category. Amadeus is a movie for these people. Tom Hulce and F. Murray Abraham make magic playing two men for whom music is everything. Both show the rapture that music can bring, in creation, in performance, in listening. Both show the heights and depths to which music can take the human soul almost flawlessly. I found both performances superb.


I will not testify to the accuracy of the historical aspects of the movie. The costumes by Theodor Pistek are beautiful. The scenery possessed a magic that really transported me back to the time. It's rare that I see a movie that dazzles me with set design like this one did. Many of the spaces, like the Emperor's residence, Salieri's cell, and Mozart's apartment are still vivid in my mind, even after not having seen the movie in ages.


I'm not generally crazy about Mozart. I know he's only one of the most revered composers of all time, but I often find his music laying flat. It's all delightful in precisely the same, boring way. I think I finally understand why I feel this way! I watched Amadeus several times when I was very young, and the score selections by the inscrutable Neville Marriner are the most potent of all! Nothing I heard afterward matched the power, the presence, and the excitement of the performances in this movie! Seeing it on laserdisc was a revelation, because it was Mozart that reached into me. I didn't think Mozart could do that to me.

Copyright 1998-2001 by Scott Ventura. All rights reserved.