Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)

Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)
Oh, to be in England...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Amadeus 1984

Amadeus The Film 1984
I cannot believe that it has been almost 30 years since this wonderful film was released. How is that possible? I watched this with my husband, affectionately known on this blog as The Squire, over the holidays. We try to watch it about once a year, and it never, ever disappoints. It has aged as beautifully as Mozart's music.

F. Murray Abraham as Antonio Salieri

A story told almost entirely in flashback, it is the account from a contemporary of Mozart, Antonio Salieri of how jealousy of Mozart's musical talent drove him to try to destroy our beloved Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Of course the story is not factual, but is adapted from the stage play Amadeus by British playwright Peter Shaffer. It is certainly not inconceivable that other composers of the time would have harbored jealousy toward this talented man, and it moves the narrative extraordinarily well.

Salieri: All I wanted was to sing to God. He gave me that longing... and then made me mute. Why? Tell me that. If He didn't want me to praise him with music, why implant the desire? Like a lust in my body! And then deny me the talent?

Young Salieri- F. Murray Abraham
Salieri: He was my idol. Mozart, I can't think of a time when I didn't know his name.

Tom Hulce as Mozart
Mozart: Sire, only opera can do this. In a play if more than one person speaks at the same time, it's just noise, no one can understand a word. But with opera, with music... with music you can have twenty individuals all talking at the same time, and it's not noise, it's a perfect harmony! 

Roy Dotrice as Leopold Mozart
Salieri: So rose the dreadful ghost from his next and blackest opera. There, on the stage, stood the figure of a dead commander. And I knew, only I understood that the horrifying apparition was Leopold raised from the dead! Wolfgang had summoned up his own father to accuse his son before all the world!

Tom Hulce as Mozart
Salieri: That was not Mozart laughing, Father... that was God.

Jeffrey Jones as Emperor Joseph II
 Emperor Joseph II: Well, there it is.

Elizabeth Berridge as Constanze Mozart
Constanze Mozart: Is it not good?
Salieri: It is miraculous.

Milada Chechalova as Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute
Salieri: I heard the music of true forgiveness filling the theater, conferring on all who sat there, perfect absolution. God was singing through this little man to all the world, unstoppable, making my defeat more bitter with every passing bar.

This amazing little film won 8 Oscars including Best Actor for F. Murray Abraham, which was one time I truly agreed with the Academy of Motion Picture. He is awe inspiring. Director Milos Forman and writer Peter Shaffer also won Oscars and it was Best Picture of the year.

So, if you have never seen Amadeus, or if you haven't seen it in a while...what are you waiting for?


  1. Lovely photos. Where do they take us in our estimation of Jane Austen the novelist.

  2. It is fun to recognize the actors so much younger.

    Am I the only one who found this movie so very sad, that I have been unable to watch it again? Wonderfully done, but oh so very sad.

  3. @Mom Walds Place-Oh, but it is soooo beautiful. If it helps you to know, when I was researching for this post, Mozart was in better financial shape in the last year of his life, possibly being helped out by wealthy patrons in Amsterdam and Hungary.
    "Mozart was buried in a common grave, in accordance with contemporary Viennese custom, at the St. Marx Cemetery outside the city on 7 December. If, as later reports say, no mourners attended, that too is consistent with Viennese burial customs at the time; later Jahn (1856) wrote that Salieri, Süssmayr, van Swieten and two other musicians were present. The tale of a storm and snow is false; the day was calm and mild."-from Wikipedia quoting The New Grove

    I guess we just have to be glad that he lived a full life in his 35 years and that he was able to produce so much wonderful music in so short a time. To paraphrase Tom Lehrer, "It is sobering to consider that when Mozart was my age he had already been dead for 12 years!"

  4. This is one of my favourite films ever! Unforgettable. Thanks for this beautiful reminder :-)

  5. It actually was storming

  6. Apparently there is controversy about the weather at Mozart's funeral. If there was a storm, it would be more in line with the feelings of his friends and admirers, that's for sure.

  7. I hate the ending for Mozart, but love that Salieri comes to the conclusion that God killed Mozart rather than be allowed to share in Mozart's glory. XD

    Just saw it today, it has been on the list for ages but when the music hall put it on live we just had to see it!




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