Writer: Peter Shaffer
Director: Milos Forman
Major Stars: F. Murray Abraham, Tom Hulce, Elizabeth Berridge, Roy Dotrice, Jeffrey Jones
Year released: 1984
Some people have heard his name. Some people have heard his music. However, how many people actually know the man behind the fame? Travel back in history to a time where classical music and operas were the stars of queens, emperors, and where popes and royalty’s needs were hardly never denied. In this film, claiming to have murdered the composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the elderly composer, Antonio Salieri, confesses to a priest that he killed the greatest composer ever known. Watch the humble beginnings of a rilvalry where Salieri was court composer when Mozart and he first met. Through his own words, Salieri recounts how he first encountered a young Mozart thinking he was a gift of God, then later in years when Dalieri viewed Mozart as childish, arrogant, annoying, vulgar, yet brilliantly gifted while being simultaneously in awe of Mozart’s genius. As his anger grows towards God in Him using this vulgar man as his instrument of salvation instead of himself, Salieri uses Mozart’s difficult relationship with his father and his guilt over being a bad son to drive him over the edge of exhausting madness and into a downward spiral of ill health that ultimately leads to Mozart’s death.
In this film, Amadeus is presented in a non-linear fashion in which, according to the authors Bill Goodykoontz and Christopher Jacobs, describes this type of visual storytelling as a a time-shifting tale that travels back and forth from the present to the past and back again in order to connect the audience into that frame of the movie (Goodykoontz & Jacobs, 2014). This choice ultimately became the best choice to tell the tale of Mozart through that of Salieri, the man who admired and despised Mozart at the same time. Through this style, audiences were instantly brought into the time where people only knew Mozart by either name or having heard bits of his work in the past. This non-linear storytelling also greatly contributed to the acclamation of the audience into Mozart’s world because it helped introduce them to those who interacted with Mozart where many people never knew existed, or in some cases, were never remembered by history itself. The non-linear way of showing this movie was also quite important because if the chronological facts of Mozart’s life were told from the time of his birth to that of his death in subsequent order, then the means of Mozart’s musical genius would have been wasted on possible plot boredom to those in the audience whose attention span may not have been captured fully.
Amadeus movie trailer. (1984). Amadeus [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3qikgX4rlG4
Forman, M. (Director). Shaffer, P. (Writer). (1984). Amadeus. [Motion picture]. United States: Warner Bros.
Goodykoontz, B., & Jacobs, C. P. (2014). Film: From watching to seeing (2nd ed.) [Electronic version]. Retrieved from https://content.ashford.edu/