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movie reviewmovie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Amadeus

Starring: Tom Hulce, F. Murray Abraham
Director: Milos Forman
Rated: PG
RunTime: 158 Minutes
Release Date: September 1988
Genres: Classic, Drama, Music

*Also starring: Elizabeth Berridge, Simon Callow, Jeffrey Jones, Roy Dotrice, Christine Ebersole, Charles Kay

Review by Steve Rhodes
4 stars out of 4

The music. The acting. The writing. The sets. And let's not forget, the wigs. There are so many wonderful things to remember about Milos Forman's great comedic drama, AMADEUS, which is being rereleased to the big screen in a director's cut that includes twenty minutes more of the classic film that swept the 1984 Academy Awards. Its biggest loss on Oscar night came when Tom Hulce lost in the best actor category. Competing against him was none other than his on-screen rival F. Murray Abraham. The Academy chose Abraham, who played Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's rival, Antonio Salieri. Hulce, who played the forever famous Mozart, has been rarely heard from since, whereas Abraham, who played the long since forgotten Salieri, seems to get plenty of work on stage and screen.

"Everyone liked me," the old Salieri tells a priest at a mental institution in which he has gone to live out his last few years. "I liked myself. Everything was wonderful until he came." The "he" of course is Mozart -- "Wolfie," to his wife Constanze Mozart (Elizabeth Berridge), a petite woman whose large breasts seem always about to explode like her husband's loud, uncontrollable laughter.

Salieri, who thought Mozart's music was "the voice of God," resented his rival so much that he dedicated his life to Mozart's downfall. The two competitors could not have been more different. Mozart was a fun loving dandy. An extrovert, he was a musical genius whom Salieri's father ridiculed as a "trained monkey." In contrast, the reserved Salieri was the picture of piety and seriousness.

From the palace intrigue -- "too many notes" was a frequently heard complaint about Mozart's music by those jealous of his incredible talent -- to the great musical numbers to the many hilarious scenes, AMADEUS is a wonderfully entertaining picture. Is three hours of it better than two and a half? Probably not, but who cares? Don't miss a chance to see and hear it on the big screen. (I would, however, like to issue a challenge to directors thinking about bringing out a director's cut of their most famous films. Try to see if you can produce a cut that actually cuts. Now, there's a real challenge: a shorter version that's better than your original masterpiece.)

The director's cut of AMADEUS runs 2:58. It is rated R for "brief nudity" and would be acceptable for teenagers.

Copyright 2002 Steve Rhodes

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