Which Amadeus?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Greg_S_H, Apr 17, 2004.

  1. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    I've never seen Amadeus, and I see there are two discs out there: theatrical (anamorphic, flipper) and director's cut. Which would be best as far as the movie goes for a newcomer? I've seen mixed user comments on Amazon, with some saying the inserted scenes don't hurt the film and others saying they make the film drag and even change the tone to some extent. I assume the director's cut will be easier to find and probably has the edge in A/V quality. Plus, it ain't a flipper! [​IMG] But, none of those concerns will matter if the cut is inferior and will damage my first impressions of the film. Thoughts?
     
  2. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    I actually enjoyed the longer cut.

    I would opt for the 2-disc edition. The
    transfer is greatly improved and it's a
    hell of a Special Edition.

    In fact, I did a review on it here:

    Click Here
     
  3. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    Wow! I'm truly honored to receive a response from the HTF's fearless leader! Thanks, Ron. And, thanks for pointing me to your review. I'll definitely seek out the director's cut later today.
     
  4. Douglas Bailey

    Douglas Bailey Second Unit

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    I'll offer a contrary opinion: for all that the newer two-disc edition has superior video quality, I think the much-vaunted "director's cut" adds nothing but length to the film, and takes away some of the elegance and perfection of the original cut.

    The added material feels largely like filler to me: it's only sporadically interesting, and in a couple of places it spoils the transitions in the story (back and forth between the "present" in the asylum and the "past" at court in Vienna).

    In particular, there's one addition that truly grates on me because it makes Salieri (through whose narrative we experience the story) out to be much less intelligent than the theatrical cut does. It's the scene after Mozart's early opera, in the singer's dressing room. In the theatrical cut, when present-day Salieri says he suddenly realised that Mozart and the singer had been having an affair, he's ahead of the audience: we haven't been given much more than a few looks between the two. In the director's cut, it's all been spelled out for us, so that when Salieri comes to his sudden realisation, he's lagging behind the audience, who already caught this.
    The re-editing lessens the threat of Salieri as an enemy of Mozart, and to me, it weakens the entire film.

    The two-disc edition is worth having for academic value, but the original cut is far superior IMO, and is the only version I would show to someone who hasn't seen the film. I wish Warner would remaster that cut to the same standards as the director's cut.

    Just my $0.02.
     
  5. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Producer

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    I also prefer the theatrical cut. The longer one's the better DVD - good extras, higher quality presentation - but not as good a movie...
     
  6. Haggai

    Haggai Producer

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    For people who prefer the older cut, what about the extended scene between Salieri and Stanzi? I thought that was quite strong, and added the element of resentment between those two characters. It doesn't really come back in until right near the end, but I thought it was pretty good.
     
  7. Seth--L

    Seth--L Screenwriter

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    It was a good scene, but still not needed. As you noted, it only pays off at the very end of the film (for a brief moment). If there were more interactions between the two characters, then the scene would have had more of a reason to be in the film.

    The picture quality of the Director's Cut is so superior though, that it's almost worth owning both.

    The extras on the DC are also just so-so. The commentary track has a lot of dead spots, and the documentary is mostly the cast and crew's anecdotes about working in a communist controlled city.
     
  8. I've got a used copy of the 'flipper' version.

    For those who want a copy of the film for around $8, the PQ on this version is up to Warner's usual standards (good enough).

    I'd like to have the best version of this and Unforgiven, but can't see dropping $40 on movies I already have.
     
  9. Haggai

    Haggai Producer

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    Gotta disagree on the extras, Seth-L (and I'm fine with the director's cut of the movie). I really like the documentary, and while the commentary does have some dead spots and some repetition, there's A LOT of great stuff in it. Absolutely worth listening to, I've played it twice since I got the disc back when it first came out.

    Also, regarding the extra scene with Stanzi and Salieri: although, as you say, it doesn't pay off between the two of them until the very end, and then only quite briefly, it is followed by a scene with Stanzi and Mozart that I liked a lot. It emphasized how far she was willing to go to support him in composing his music, and that's the real payoff of the scene where Salieri humiliates her.
     


  10. Funny how added content can sometimes spoil the mix.

    Redux nearly sank under the weight of unneeded and downright strange extra scenes.

    Abyss benefited at the end, but lost some intensity along the way (I always loved the 'ring flush' sequence, but now a talky scene has been added before the 'flush', robbing most of the intensity).
     
  11. Dick

    Dick Producer
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    For me it's simple: the first version (theatrical) released on DVD is soft...almost to the point of being blurry. This was also true of a few other early Warners titles such as WITCHES OF EASTWICK and the original DIRTY HARRY. I cannot stand images that aren't sharp - gaining additional clarity and detail is supposed to be one of the major advantages of DVD.
     
  12. Frank Grimes

    Frank Grimes Second Unit

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    I felt the extras were worthwhile, if just just to see how conceited F Murray Abraham is...
     
  13. Douglas Bailey

    Douglas Bailey Second Unit

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    never felt particularly unmotivated to me, so I didn't feel that the earlier scene extension was solving a long-standing mystery.

    The more I think about Amadeus, the more I wish Warner had used branching on the two-disc edition to give us the option to see the theatrical cut with the improved picture quality.

    On the plus side, though, seeing the film with the extra material cut back in makes me appreciate all the more the efforts of the Oscar-nominated editors, Nena Danevic and Michael Chandler: when the 160-minute cut is this much stronger than the 180-minute version, the editors are doing good work.
     
  14. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    I found the 2-disc set today at Barnes and Noble, but I held off because of the high price. I'm sure I could find it cheaper elsewhere.

    I know Amazon has both versions, but does anyone know if the original is readily available at brick-and-mortar stores? If it's really as cheap as $8, it would probably not be a bad idea to watch the original first with the aim of getting to the director's cut in the future if I like the movie.
     
  15. Michael Harris

    Michael Harris Screenwriter

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    The original DVD release does have one thing the 2 disc doesn't and that is an isolated score track. Good way to hear the music if that's important for you.

    I personally like the longer cut but I have both.
     
  16. Mark Bendiksen

    Mark Bendiksen Screenwriter

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    For what it's worth, in general I do prefer the original theatrical cut. However, that didn't stop me from purchasing the current two-disc set. It's really great, IMHO.

    I have mixed feelings about that scene being included. However, one amusing note: The addition of that scene (with its nudity) changed the MPAA rating of the film from PG to R. Is that wacko or what? Plenty of other PG and PG-13 movies have shown breasts and yet Amadeus automatically gets slapped with an R? More wonderful consistency from Jack Valenti & Co.
     
  17. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    I think the R might have been applied because of the quick shot of the naked inmate in the asylum near the opening of the film.

    (Add: So, this shot probably wasn't enough to give the film an R in 1984, since PG-13 hadn't been invented yet, but this combined with the added nudity in the DC probably got it. I actually think PG-13 would have been more than enough, though)
     
  18. Michael Costa

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    I believe the quick shot of the naked guy in the asylum was in the theatrical cut. That's the only one I have and I remember seeing it.
     
  19. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Producer

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    Yup, that shot's already been there. Not graphic enough - ie, no willy on display - to warrant an "R". (At least I don't THINK you see his privates - I never wanted to look!)
     
  20. BarryS

    BarryS Second Unit

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    I've seen both versions of Amadeus and I think I prefer the director's cut. The added scenes in my opinion don't really help or hurt the film particularly, but they help to flesh it out a bit and I had no problem with them.

    The 180-minute version is supposedly the way the film was originally intended to be. I remember reading that the film's producers (or maybe the studio) was worried that no one would want to see a three-hour film about opera, so they cut the running time back to a "safer" 160 minutes. So, the director's cut is actually the original version.

    Plus, there's the fact that the 2-disc DVD is vastly superior to the old "flipper".
     

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