Posted by Craig Kessler on August 20, 2009 at 2:30 am
Notable cast members: F. Murray Abraham
Notable Awards: Oscar, Best Picture (1984)
Oscar, Best Director (Milos Forman)
Oscar, Best Actor (F. Murray Abraham)
Oscar, Nomination, Best Actor (Tom Hulce)
Many of our readers will associate this title with a well-known 1986 single, “Rock Me, Amadeus”
by Australian pop sensation, Falco. Sorry to disappoint, mate. Our title is actually derived from the name of a certain classical composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. If you already knew Wolfgang Mozart’s middle name, it’s highly probable that you have already seen this movie. If you didn’t know his middle name and wouldn’t tag yourself as a classical music lover, then you, my friend, are in for a treat.
Has anyone ever asked you, “What’s your favorite movie of all-time?” -Impossible to answer, right? I wholeheartedly agree it would be extremely difficult for anyone to come up with an answer. I liken it to the difficulty Hugh Hefner would have if you asked him to choose his favorite all-time playmate. That being said, if there was ever a situation where I was forced to answer, the odds on favorite would have to be Amadeus. I guess you could say this movie was a part of my life from the very beginning. While stowed away in my mother’s womb as she was reluctantly being taken to see Amadeus by my father, all it took was the opening scene depicting the depressed, guilt-stricken Salieri (Abraham) putting his remorse on display followed by the sheer power of the first opening credit for all of us to surrender our senses. What followed was 160 minutes of the most powerful filmmaking I can trace back to in my vast personal archive of film. What is ironic about this movie is that its power is being driven by two actors whose combined motion picture careers don’t hold a candle to the enormity of their performances in Amadeus
. This is one of those cases where the movie would have never come close to achieving its potential had any other two actors played the roles of Salieri and Mozart (Hulce).
Similar to the on-screen chemistry put on display by Redford and Newman, Abraham and Hulce deliver in much the same fashion. But the dissimilarity between these two chemistries is the deep, robust hatred that exists between Salieri and Mozart that ultimately becomes the undeniable theme for the film’s duration. It’s unfair to say that this hatred travels on a two-way street, however. Mozart is God’s musical gift to humanity, sent to Earth complete with a music-loving father and the infinite talent that would make him the most famous composer in history. Salieri, on the other hand, is the antithesis to Mozart. He was not God’s musical gift to humanity, he did not have a father that cared for music, and he would not be remembered for his compositions. Salieri curses God for his decision to bestow these gifts upon Mozart, a man who unashamedly squanders them right under his nose. It is this hatred that drives Salieri into unreserved madness, stopping at nothing until he personally observes the destruction of his fellow, unsuspecting composer. For as much as our two composers don’t have in common, what they do share is an unbounded love for music and the obsession with achieving their listeners’ approval. This attribute they share will be the part of themselves that brings them to their greatest triumphs as well as their eventual demises.
Best Line: WOLFGANG: “Oh they’re all so beautiful. Why can’t I have three heads?”