HTF REVIEW: "Amadeus" Special Edition (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Sep 9, 2002.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein

    Amadeus Director's Cut

    Studio: Warner Brothers
    Year: 1984/2002
    Rated: R
    Film Length: 180 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (2.35:1)
    Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

    "Why would God choose an obscene
    child to be his instrument?"

    Perhaps the greatest movie made on the subject of
    music, Amadeus is full of costume drama and
    stunning music and performances from its first-rate
    cast, in particular, F. Murray Abrahan and Tom Hulce.
    This 1984 smash about the rivalry between Mozart
    and Solieri were the toast of the Academy Awards,
    capturing Best Picture, Best Director (Milos Forman),
    Best Screenplay Adaptation (Peter Shaffer), and
    Best Actor (F. Murray Abraham).
    The film opens long after Mozart's death, when the
    aged Salieri (F. Murray Abraham) -- once the most
    popular composer in Vienna of the 1780s -- is
    incarcerated in a madhouse after a recent suicide
    attempt, claiming he had killed Mozart. As he
    confesses his sins to a priest the movie flashes
    back to tell the strange story of how he early
    on recognizes the genius of the childlike Mozart
    (Tom Hulce), but is so appalled by the man's
    moral unworthiness that he does everything he can
    to secretly destroy the composer's career.
    Throughout the story we are treated to the
    haunting, beautiful sounds of Mozart in the film's
    extensive musical score, performed by Sir Neville
    Marriner. It's a glorious testament to a productive
    talent the likes of which the musical landscape
    has never again witnessed.
    Amadeus arrives in a brand new two-disc
    special edition. A cardboard slipcover contains
    a pull-out that opens to a 3-pane gatefold. Two
    DVDs (labeled A and B) sit in plastic hub housing
    that sit above a 2-pane photo of a scene from
    The Magic Flute. On the far left pane
    resides the complete Scene Index of Disc A.
    A back pane panel lists the Scene Index from the
    documentary that resides on Disc B.
    How is the transfer?
    To truly appreciate how good this new digital
    transfer is, one needs only to pop in the original
    1997 DVD release. You can instantly see how dingy
    and blurry the original release is. The transfer
    is littered with video noise and colors that are
    way oversaturated. Even flesh tones take on more
    of a purplish hue than looking normalized.
    This new transfer is a sight to behold. This
    transfer is brilliantly bolder and cleaner with
    whites that exhibit absolutely no noise. Colors
    come across a little too vividly, bordering on
    oversaturation, but staying within the reasonable
    limits. Picture is well detailed with nice black
    levels that give it texture. My only complaint
    (and this may be a matter of preference) is that
    the flesh tones, while looking more accurate than
    the original release, still tend to look more red
    than they should. Again, this may be due to the
    enhanced color levels.
    The new 5.1 digital mix sounds terrific. Salieri's
    narration stays firmly in the center channel with
    the front channels providing vibrant and robust
    audio. I was a bit disappointed by the lack of
    substance of this new audio mix as the rears and
    LFE channel provided only a minuscule amount of
    support. I had hoped for more clarified surround
    through all the channels, immersing me in the
    sounds of Mozart. Unfortunately, the mix fell
    just short of expectation.
    Special Features
    Disc One contains the entire Director's
    of the film. This is an entirely new
    cut that bears a new set of opening credits that
    announce its new stature.
    There are 20 minutes of never-before-scenes cut
    right back into the film. Most of meat of these
    additions come in the first hour of the film,
    showing Salieri as being more cunning and sinister
    toward Mozart. The above screen shots show some
    of the removed sequences. The most memorable
    additions include Mozart's wife visiting Salieri,
    begging him to get her husband work. Salieri
    promises to do so in exchange for a sexual favor.
    She returns later, undressing herself for the
    composer. Another scene takes place in a dressing
    room with Katrina scoffing after learning that
    Mozart has a bride-to-be. Another scene has
    Salieri praying beneath a cross that Mozart goes
    back to Salzburg. Another scene involves Mozart
    begging Salieri for a loan. Salieri suggests
    someone he can go to and this leads to a scene
    where Mozart gives lessons to a shy student only
    to get feedback from a group of canines.
    The disc features a full-length commentary
    by Director Milos Forman and Writer Peter Shaffer.
    Milos is in rare form, starting off with a rather
    funny comment about his feline cast that received
    little critical attention. The two talk about
    (among many other things) the selections of music
    used in this film and how it was used to accent
    its scenes. There's an interesting comment
    made about Mozart's hideous laughter -- something
    which has been documented. Peter talks about
    Costanze's nude scene and why it was cut. He feels
    it works rather well after all these years of being
    omitted. What I found remarkable to hear was that
    Hulce performed many of the tricky piano pieces.
    You can tell how proud Milos was of his cast and
    the fact that they grew into their parts so well.
    Schaffer comments how well the faces in the movie
    integrate with the central European theme. The
    great thing about listening two individuals talk
    is that they know Mozart so well, and they really
    attempted to achieve authenticity with how they
    portrayed the composer in this film. An excellent
    A rather simplistic cast and crew area only
    lets you select amongst a few choice actors and
    filmmakers filmographies. I think you'll be quite
    impressed by the seven pages that are dedicated to
    the many Awards this film has earned.
    The meat of the Special Features resides on
    Disc B. Let's take a look...
    Making of Amadeus begins with an absolutely
    incredible story about a day of shooting at an
    Opera house in Prague, Czechoslovakia. It was
    when the cameras were supposed to roll on a major
    operatic moment that the American flag unfurled
    to a chorus of the American National anthem. It
    was one of those odd moments that defied logic.
    Director Milos Forman recalls when in 1979 he
    saw this fantastic London stage play about
    Mozart written by Peter Shaffer. Forman was so
    impressed that he contacted Producer Saul Zaentz
    to put a film in motion. Shaffer and Forman
    spend months together hammering out the script,
    often fighting with each other in the process.
    The advantage of writing the screenplay was that
    the music was already there, becoming the foreground
    of the film. Music Director Sir Neville Marriner
    was immediately flattered to be chosen to perform
    the film and his only requirement was that this
    film not turn into a Hollywood spectacle. This
    documentary contains new interviews with actors
    F. Murray Abraham, Jeffrey Jones (The Emporer),
    Vincent Schiavelli (Salieri's Valet) and Tom Hulce
    who all recall their auditions. This documentary
    is full of great stories. An interesting story is
    told from the perspectives of Milos Forman and
    F. Murray Abraham about the audition for the part
    of Salieri. Another great story about coming to
    Prague, a soviet-block country, is told by actor
    Vincent Schiavelli. Still another interesting
    story about how the part of Constanze was played
    by Meg Tilly. She was involved in a soccer accident
    while in Prague, and had to be quickly replaced by
    actress Elizabeth Berridge. Perhaps the greatest
    moment in this entire documentary comes with
    footage of a feather in an actor's hat causing a
    flaming disturbance in the midst of performing
    Don Giovanni. This documentary also touches
    upon the 18th century costumes and the postures of
    the characters. An extraordinary look at how an
    extraordinary film came to be.
    (length: approx. 60 minutes)
    Finally, the film's original theatrical trailer
    full of whispers is presented on this DVD.
    Final Thoughts
    No doubt, Amadeus is a remarkable piece
    of film entertainment that help introduce
    new generations to one of the greatest musical
    geniuses of all time.
    Warner has done an exceptional job with this
    new transfer that runs circles around the
    original DVD release. At an on-line price of
    just above $20, the purchase of this 2-disc set
    becomes an obvious choice.
    Release Date: September 24, 2002
  2. Allan Mack

    Allan Mack Supporting Actor

    May 26, 2001
    Likes Received:
    I'm glad I didn't buy the old release. I'm looking forward to this one! Great review, Ron.
  3. Jay W

    Jay W Supporting Actor

    Oct 5, 1999
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    Wonderful news, one of my favorite movies - I cannot wait to get my hands on this release. I am also glad to read the stuff about the commentary, looks to be a good one!
  4. Iain Jackson

    Iain Jackson Second Unit

    Nov 22, 2001
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    Is the documentary really 60 minutes long? Everything I've heard so far has mentioned this as being 37 minutes long - or is this actually the original documentray that was on the laserdisc?
  5. Matthew_S

    Matthew_S Second Unit

    Jan 11, 2001
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    Thanks, Ron. I only wish the original cut was also included...[​IMG]
  6. John Berggren

    John Berggren Producer

    Jun 17, 1999
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    I can't wait. I've never seen Amadeus, though friends tried to loan me their flipper. I'll definitely see it now.
  7. Enrique B Chamorro

    Enrique B Chamorro Supporting Actor

    Sep 2, 1999
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    Is an isolated music track available?
    That was a very nice feature on the old disc.
    If not, I will probably keep both versions.
  8. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

    Apr 15, 2002
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    Thanks for the review, Ron
    I had not seen this before and 3 weeks ago they showed at a local cinema Amadeus The Director's Cut. I was completely mesmerized by the experience, and the musical scenes really do stand out.
    F Murray Abrahams is Salieri and I for one grew to dislike him throughout the movie, simply because of his actions. He is brilliant. I will be picking this up the moment I can
  9. ed_josef

    ed_josef Auditioning

    Aug 28, 2001
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    "Amadeus" along with "Blade Runner" were the first DVDs I bought in '98 and I'm happy they've revisited this wonderful movie with this new DVD release. I just wish they had included the original cut and included an isolated music score. I'm still excited about getting this new DVD though. Thank you Ron for the review!
  10. Derek Duncan

    Derek Duncan Stunt Coordinator

    Mar 17, 1999
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    I know this is a crazy question, but in the new version, does the film have that great modern WB opening logo, or does it still sport that stupid Orion logo from the original DVD. That has been a wonder for me since it was announced.

  11. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder

    Jul 3, 1997
    Likes Received:
    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein
    To answer questions...

    The movie begins with the new Warner Brothers
    anniversary logo with the shield coming in over
    the sound stages of Burbank.

    The DVD does not feature an isolated music
    track as far as I could see here.
  12. Scott Bigbee

    Scott Bigbee Auditioning

    Sep 6, 2002
    Likes Received:
    Great Review -- I also wish the theatrical cut was included. I guess I'll hold onto my original disc.
    (But I'm still going to buy this one.)
  13. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

    May 19, 2002
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    Thanks for the review, Ron.
  14. Steve Spin

    Steve Spin Extra

    Nov 4, 2001
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    Just ordered the original and the new 2 disk set!
    I just want you to know that your reviews are costing me money!!![​IMG]
    My DVD Collection
  15. MikeEckman

    MikeEckman Screenwriter

    Jan 11, 2001
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    I knew this would be wishful thinking, but considering True Romance was getting a DTS track on the same day, I thought this movie would be one of the few movies that would actually be deserving of a DTS track. Oh well, it wont stop me from replacing my flipper with this 2 disc SE. Excellent movie, indeed, highly recommended as a blind purchase to anyone who hasnt seen it.
  16. Mark Bendiksen

    Mark Bendiksen Screenwriter

    Mar 16, 1999
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    I literally got chills by simply reading this review. I can't imagine what it's going to be like when I get this disc in my hands. I guess we should just go ahead and declare September 24th as "Milos Forman" day.
    Thanks for the informative review, Ron.
  17. John_Berger

    John_Berger Cinematographer

    Nov 1, 2001
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    Two words: ME WANT!!!
  18. JonZ

    JonZ Lead Actor

    Dec 28, 1998
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    One of my 10 favorites of all time. Cant Wait!!!!
  19. NickFoley

    NickFoley Stunt Coordinator

    May 5, 2002
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    Two 2-disc WB DVD reviews in one day for Ron. One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest & Amedeus.

    What a great day the 24th will be.
  20. Scott David

    Scott David Stunt Coordinator

    Oct 9, 2001
    Likes Received:

    Since this doesn't include the original cut or seamless branching, do the chapter stops on the box indicate which scenes are the "director's cut" scenes, a la "Apocalypse Now Redux"?

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