The straw that broke the camel's back and pushes
Antonio Salieri over the top is when Katerina Cavalieri (Christine
Ebersole), a student of Salieri whom he had feelings for, not
only sings in Mozart's new Opera about a Turkish Harem, but sleeps
with Mozart as well. Salieri tells Father Vogel, "That creature
had had my darling girl."
For the first time, his bitterness and envy turn
to hatred, violent thoughts entered his mind. However, he doesn't
start on his mission to hurt Mozart anyway he can, until the newly
married Mrs. Constanz Mozart comes to see him, with sample of
Mozart's original work, hoping to get her husband a job, teaching
the Emperor's niece the piano.
As Salieri reads the breath-taking notes, the
audience hears the music written there. He is overwhelmed by its
brilliance, ion awe of its absolute beauty. This music was like
the voice of God; the kind and quality of music that he himself
had long dreamed of writing, but never had the talent to do so;
only the talent to recognize such genius.
From this moment on, he became an enemy to Mozart,
and loses his faith in God, burning his crucifix in the fire.
""Because you choose for your instrument a boastful, lustful,
smutty, infantile boy; and give me for reward only the ability
to recognize the incarnation; because you are unjust, unfair,
unkind; I will block you".
Antonio Salieri couldn't get over the fact that
God gave such an incredible talent to such a buffoon, a party
animal, a vulgar creature, such as Mozart. In contrast, Salieri
doesn't understand why God gave him such a mediocre talent, but
yet he had the ability to see real genius.
Salieri blames himself for Mozart's death, because
of his venomous schemes that he initiated, taking advantage of
opportunities that pop up, cleverly exploiting Mozart's psychological
While acting on his hatred and jealousy of Mozart
helps to lead to the final ruin of Mozart's health, it is Mozart's
drinking problem and party life-style that is the ultimate killer.
It becomes clear to the priest and the audience that not only
is Salieri suffering from enormous guilt, but also by the fact
that even when Mozart was long dead, his music lives on, while
Salieri's music is now completely forgotten.
In the present, will Father Vogel be able to help
Salieri find relief from his ocean of bitterness, guilt, lost
faith in God and find peace that only God can now give him, or
will he retreat into his own madness, still blinded by his bitterness,
guilt and wounded pride?
Amadeus is a classic because of its superb screenplay,
its gifted direction, the clever way Mozart's music flows through
the script, its wonderful production values and its talented cast
of actors and actresses. "This film is a gem, a majestic combination
of music, acting and direction combining sometimes ridiculous
comedy with deep tragedy. " - Alec Shaw.
In this marvelous screenplay, written by Peter
Shaffer, who also wrote the play, does a masterful job developing
the various characters, intermingling Mozart's music with the
storyline, and blending humor with poignant moments and tragedy.
There are no wasted scenes or dialogue. The storyline is a fabrication
of Shaffer's creative mind, but gives an interesting scenario
that is entertaining and thought-provoking. It explores how human
weaknesses and the darker side of human nature can create consequences
for all involved, that can overpower our natural gifts meant for
good. In this story, both Mozart and Salieri were born with gifts,
but were overcome by personal weaknesses leading to misery.
The marvelous, inspired direction was by the great
Milos Foreman, who won an Oscar for his work in ONE FLEW OVER
THE CUCKOO'S NEST. He directed his two main actors, Hulse and
Abraham, into nominated/ Oscar winning performances.
F Murray Abraham gives a phenomenal performance
as Antonio Salieri who unfairly compares his own talent to that
of a genius with huge character flaws, causing his own bitterness,
hatred and jealousy of Mozart, and anger against God. Abraham
won the Best Actor Oscar, an award he truly deserved. His ability
to show different emotions without saying a word is remarkable.
His ability to talk sanely one moment, and insanely the next is
flawless. His delivery of his lines and his timing all bring this
tortured character to life.
Tom Hulce also gives a fantastic performance as
Amadeus, giving a sympathetic portrayal of this musical fun-loving
genius which earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. This
musical genius could've told Salieri that being one isn't all
what it is cracked up to be. His marvelous gift, while bringing
joy, personal fulfillment and acclaim, also dominated his whole
life, warping his childhood and causing psychological problems
between his stage-mother like father and himself; all which contribute
to his bad choices and early death.
A favorite sequence of scenes is when Mozart is
welcomed by Emperor Joseph II, who is struggling to play the welcome
song written by Antonio Salieri, in honor of the occasion. After
pleasantries, Mozart sits down and plays Salieri's march to prove
to the Emperor that he had it in his memory after hearing it one
time. He then proceeds to add improvements to the march, winding
up with a much better piece than originally written.
Jeffrey Jones gives a delightful performance as
the music-loving king, Emperor Joseph II.
Quote: "It's about genius, it's about love, it's
about hate, it's about tragedy. It'll make you laugh, gasp, and
cry." - Iain Watson
Antonio Salieri: "All I wanted to do my whole
life is to sing for God. Why did God plant this desire, and then
deny the talent?"
AMADEUS (1984) is rated PG. The director's cut
of AMADEUS is rated R.