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Amadeus Reviews

Milos Forman's brilliant, Oscar-winning adaptation of Peter Shaffer's hit play, AMADEUS is a fictionalized retelling of the final days of Antonio Salieri. Salieri (F. Murray Abraham, who won the Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal), a famous composer in Mozart's day but now incarcerated in an insane asylum, begins his final confession to a young cleric. He tells the story of his relationship with Mozart (Tom Hulce), in a 30-year flashback to when he first met the 26-year-old prodigy. Furious that this boor can produce such beautiful music, Salieri determines to keep Mozart's talent from continued recognition. The discerning but less talented Salieri has great influence in Vienna, being court composer to Joseph II of Austria (Jeffrey Jones), who realizes he knows little about music and therefore allows Salieri to decide what he should hear and whom he should be patron to. After Mozart manages to get the Emperor's ear, his career is launched, and we see him writing and conducting several of his best pieces. Then his friends, health, and resources waste away. He works most feverishly on his "Requiem," commissioned by a masked stranger who is actually Salieri. The effort proves the final stroke against the greater composer's weakened constitution, and he is buried in a pauper's grave. Milos Forman's direction is flawless, Neville Marriner's musical direction is superb, and the film is a feast for the eyes and ears. Although Forman concentrates on Mozart's more popular works, the prodigious output of Mozart's short life is clearly conveyed. AMADEUS is a must for any music lover, any film lover, or anyone who reveres excellence.