Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA, 1984. AMLF, The Saul Zaentz Company. Screenplay by Peter Shaffer, based on his play. Cinematography by Miroslav Ondricek. Produced by Saul Zaentz. Music by Neville Marriner. Production Design by Patrizia von Brandenstein. Costume Design by Theodor Pistek. Film Editing by Michael Chandler, T.M. Christopher, Nena Danevic. Academy Awards 1984. Golden Globe Awards 1984.
The difficult, jealous relationship between genius Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and little-known composer Antonio Salieri is the basis of this fascinating costume drama by Milos Forman. Tom Hulce plays the gifted young musician, a womanising cad for whom producing sublime symphonies and operas was a matter of very little effort on his part. His tale is told by Salieri (F. Murray Abraham in a role that should have ignited a much more impressive film career), who watched from the shadows with unsuppressed envy as Mozart got all the glory without ever putting in the effort to be a good human being. The spectacle is production values at their finest, while the intelligent screenplay brings Peter Shafer’s play to life without compromising the theatrical intimacy that made it so good. Those not inclined towards the material are likely to find it dull, while fans of classical music and/or serious artistic filmmaking will be thrilled.