Tag Archives: Simon Callow

The Set of 400: #9 – My Favorite Excessive Display of Notes

Today, because I speak for all mediocrities in the world. I am their champion. I am their patron saint –

 

Amadeus (1984)

Directed by Milos Forman (x2)

Starring F. Murray Abraham (x5), Tom Hulce (x3), Elizabeth Berridge, Jeffrey Jones (x6), Simon Callow, Roy Dotrice, Christine Ebersole (x2), Kenny Baker (x6), Cynthia Nixon, Vincent Schiavelli (x6), Charles Kay

We didn’t sit around the television watching a lot of 18th century Viennese epics as children, but perhaps because of when it was made and how often WPIX was willing to air this four hour (with commercials) biopic, a lifelong love affair sprung up with Amadeus. I mean, it’s basically a perfect movie – the leanest 160 minute film you’ll ever see – full of marvelous performances and dazzling set decoration, and even if you aren’t a particularly big fan of classical music, the combination of filmmaking expertise on display and riveting soundtrack make for an always engrossing audience experience. But for a kid? How and why did this movie catch?

I think having such a basic conflict is easy to understand at any age. Mozart – loads of raw talent, kind of an immature asshole. Salieri – marginally achieved skills through hard work, bitter at the very existence of Mozart, in a position to screw him up. Even years before you get into serious schooling and/or the workplace and you encounter people who basically fit either of these categories, the concept resonates – jealousy, yearning for acceptance/friendship, speaking backwards as a way of impressing potential romantic partners. A lot of basic human desire is evident out there! Plus, vibrant settings and fun costumery and terrific location shoots and the make-up! Again, it’s a perfect movie. I’ve used this description periodically on this list, but there’s always like one weird thing even in the best of movies to kind of rankle you, right?

Ahem

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