AFI Classic Amadeus stages return to big screen

Amadeus, Milos Forman’s 1985 film that won eight Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director, is back in theaters with an added bonus.

After the film’s original 1984 release, producer Saul Zaentz and Academy Award-winning director Milos Forman discussed several scenes they had reluctantly left out. They worked with film editor Tom Christopher and original re-recording mixers Todd Boekelheide and Mark Berger to put together a new version of the film, which opened at the 2001 Telluride Film Festival.

The Oscar-winning screenplay depicts Amadeus Mozart’s (Tom Hulce) story in flashback form through narrator Antonio Salieri (F. Murray Abraham, Finding Forrester). Salieri is in an insane asylum as the result of his association with Mozart, where his confusion and disgust come from Mozart’s genius. Salieri also laments that such inspired music comes from Mozart, who is crude, vulgar and pretentious. Mozart and Salieri compete in the court of the Emperor Joseph II (Jeffery Jones, Sleepy Hollow), and while Salieri’s music is never more than mediocre, the self-indulgent young Mozart is able to compose masterpieces with little effort. Both men scum into madness as Salieri decides that he would avenge his plight and destroy his rival, whom he believed to be blessed by God.

This film is not only beautiful to watch, but amazing to listen to. It will enchant anyone who loves music. Salieri’s jealousy of Mozart along with his love of Mozart’s music, allows the audience to both love and hate Salieri.

The additional 30 minutes changes the ending, which will delight some and annoy others. The film now has a longer d?nouement, with a more distinct conclusion. It also allows Hulce to further emphasize the madness that has encompassed him.

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