HiT Amadeus

Amadeus combined music, drama, hagiography and a spot of crime mystery. It won 8 awards. Has it stood the test of time, and how faithful to history was it in its glory?

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The Scores

Here’s how Amadeus scored with the critics. They were, you know, OK with it. And all-important HiT scores for the previous episodes…

Score August 12



Your verdict on Master ad Commander

And here are your verdicts on the films so far… I forgot to ask the ‘seen but not interested’ question for Master and Commander. Sorry.

HoE FB Aug 12


Favourite scene?

My favourite scene (this is David speaking), was the one where Salieri helps Mozart compose and record his Requiem Mass. Here it is explained by Peter Schaeffer (the writer of the play), Abraham and Tom Hulse.





12 thoughts on “HiT Amadeus

  1. Such a romp! How could you come away from the film, and not LOVE Mozart’s composition?

    You both were quite right, of course. The film was about Salieri’s battle with God and the languor of mediocrity when confronted by unworthy, giggling genius. But the music, the sets, the costumes, the scenery…! All that transports you to 18th century Vienna. And wasn’t the Emperor Joseph engaging and special? (“Is it modern?” “There it is…”) I’ve watched it over and over.

    1. I was immediately impressed how well the film had lasted – every bit as sumptuous as though it had been made yesterday, very different to A Man for all Seasons as it happens. And it was such a perfect way to become drawn into the genius of his music, and understand it just a little more. Like you, I have watched it over and over!

  2. Awful awful awful. Oh wooolfie! Ughhhh. The only good thing about it was the music (God bless the Academy of St Martin in the fields who I believe recorded most of the music) which doesn’t need an excruciatingly bad movie to assist in its enjoyment. Historically it’s pretty inaccurate, there was no great rivalry between Sallieri (whose music is far better than the movie indicated https://www.theguardian.com/music/2003/dec/19/classicalmusicandopera.italy?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other) and Mozart, his incredibly talented sister Nannarel has been expunged, and the story of the mysterious stranger who commissioned the requiem appearing in a swirling cape sadly untrue https://www.britannica.com/topic/Requiem-in-D-Minor

    Mozart’s music is unquestionably sublime. Just as an historical reconstruction of Shakespeare’s life adds nothing to the majesty of his writing, a poorly researched and badly acted movie adds little to our understanding and appreciation of the music of this genius

    1. I confess have never heard of his sister; and I did note by the way, that several children were removed from the narrative – but then children are no good for movies! Initially the Wolfe thing drove me up the wall too, but I reflected in the end that it’s entirely possible they had nicknames. I felt that the accuracy was like I Claudius and the idea that Livia was a serial poisoner; unlikely but not disprovable. I would seriously take issue with you about the acting; though accept that while I think its a great movie, it doesn’t really add to our understanding of Mozart.

  3. Love the podcast! With your two ratings (quality and accuracy), you could plot each movie on a little x-y plot. Points near the upper right would score high in both, points closer to an axis would score well in one rating, but not the other. When we get a few more movies under our belts, I’ll try this out and see what it looks like. We could even use color to distinguish the two people: look for clustering, and all that!

  4. I only discovered this podcast yesterday, so I hope my comment doesn’t come too late to be relevant (or read…), but I remember talking with a guy—this must have been more than 25 years ago—who was preparing a book or an article on… the historical accuracy of ~Amadeus~. The one thing I remember he said was that the first run of ~Don Giovani~ was, in fact, seven nights. But this was expected and completely typical: that was the lifespan for an elaborate and high-falutin’ piece of opera. (So the whole “composition doesn’t pay” sequence, elsewhere in the film, was more or less correct.) Thus the screenplay was historically ACCURATE (i.e. DJ ran for 7 nights) but also highly MISLEADING (i.e. this was not a failure, Salieri had no role in it, the audience would not have been sparse, bemused, and nonplussed). — Anyway, Wolf and David, carry on: I’ll be listening to ~Master and Commander~ next.

    1. Hi Richard, and thanks, I love the comment. Yes I think Wolf brought this didn’t he? Or at least it came up somewhere, that the opera runs were entirely normal. Obviously they are building a sense of failure and decline in the film – I think the burial scene is a bit similar. It was entirely normal to use a public grave at the time. Hope you like Master and Commander…

  5. I am loving this new (to me) podcast. I do love historical movies. I also love Mozart, so this was an entertaining podcast. I am still chuckling to myself at your comment – The Lime!! The Lime!! As soon as you said that I exclaimed “Thank you!” So glad there wasn’t anyone around to hear me. I agree with you 100%. There needs to be a lid on that thing.

    Thanks for the laughs….

    1. Thanks Debbie. The thing that also makes me laugh is that there is a group of us around the world, watching one of the great movies of all time – and worrying about the lime barrel. We should form a society – the Wet Lime society or something like it!

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