AMADEUS [1984 / 2009] [Director's Cut] [Special Limited Edition DigiBook Package] [Blu-ray + CD] [USA Release] The Man! The Music! The Madness! The Murder! The Motion Picture!

‘AMADEUS’ is the incredible, mostly true story about the relationship between two composers in 18th century Vienna. Antonio Salieri, the successful court composer for Emperor Joseph II of Austria, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, a child prodigy who, while vulgar and irritating, writes the greatest music the world has ever heard. The film unfolds in a series of flashbacks, as Antonio Salieri is consumed with jealously by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's natural talent, and is unable to accept the knowledge that he will never possess the genius of a man he cannot stand. The film is presented in the Director's Cut, which features about 20 extra minutes of footage from the theatrical release.

FILM FACT No.1: Awards and Nominations: 1984 Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards: Win: Best Actor for F. Murray Abraham. 1984 Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards: Win: Best Picture. Win: Best Actor for F. Murray Abraham. Win: Best Director for Milos Forman. Win: Best Screenplay for Peter Shaffer. Nominated:  Best Music for Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart [Posthumously]. 1985 Academy Awards®: Win: Best Picture for Saul Zaentz. Win: Best Actor in a Leading Role for F. Murray Abraham. Win: Best Director for Milos Forman. Win: Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium for Peter Shaffer. Win: Best Art Direction-Set Decoration for Karel Cerný and Patrizia von Brandenstein. Win: Best Costume Design for Theodor Pistek. Win: Best Sound for Christopher Newman, Mark Berger, Thomas Scott and Todd Boekelheide. Win: Best Make-up for Dick Smith and Paul LeBlanc. Nominated: Best Actor in a Leading Role for Tom Hulce. Nominated: Best Cinematography for Miroslav Ondøíèek. Nominated: Best Film Editing for Nena Danevic and Michael Chandler. 1985 Golden Globes: Win: Best Director in a Motion Picture for Milos Forman. Win: Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture in a Drama for F. Murray Abraham. Win: Best Screenplay in a Motion Picture for Peter Shaffer. Win: Best Motion Picture in a Drama. Nominated: Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture in a Drama for Tom Hulce. Nominated: Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture for Jeffrey Jones. 1985 Amanda Awards, Norway: Win: Best Foreign Feature Film (Årets utenlandske spillefilm) for Milos Forman. 1985 American Cinema Editors: Win: Eddie Award for Best Edited Feature Film for Nena Danevic and Michael Chandler. 1985 British Society of Cinematographers: Nominated: Best Cinematography Award for Miroslav Ondøíèek. 1985 Casting Society of America: Win: Artois Award for Best Casting for Feature Film for Mary Goldberg. 1985 César Awards, France: Win: Best Foreign Film (Meilleur film étranger) for Milos Forman. 1985 Danish Film Awards: Win: Robert Award for Best Foreign Film (Årets udenlandske spillefilm) for Milos Forman (director). 1985 David di Donatello Awards: Win: Best Foreign Film (Miglior Film Straniero) for Milos Forman. Win: Best Foreign Director (Migliore Regista Straniero) for Milos Forman. Win: Best Foreign Actor (Migliore Attore Straniero) for Tom Hulce. 1985 Directors Guild of America: Win: DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures for Milos Forman (director) and Michael Hausman (first assistant director) (plaque). 1985 Golden Screen, Germany: Win: Golden Screen Award for ‘AMADEUS.’ 1985 Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists: Win: Silver Ribbon Award for Best Foreign Director (Regista del Miglior Film Straniero) for Milos Forman. Win: Silver Ribbon Award for Best Foreign Actor (Migliore Attore Straniero) for Tom Hulce. 1985 Joseph Plateau Awards: Win: Best Film. Win: Best Director for Milos Forman. Win: Best Artistic Contribution. 1985 Jussi Awards: Win: Best Foreign Filmmaker for Milos Forman. 1986 BAFTA Awards: Win: BAFTA Film Award for Best Cinematography for Miroslav Ondøíèek. Win: BAFTA Film Award for Best Editing for Nena Danevic and Michael Chandler. Win: BAFTA Film Award for Best Make-up Artist for Dick Smith and Paul LeBlanc. Win: BAFTA Film Award for Best Sound for Christopher Newman, John Nutt and Mark Berger. Nominated: BAFTA Film Award for Best Actor for F. Murray Abraham. Nominated: BAFTA Film Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for Peter Shaffer. Nominated: BAFTA Film Award for Best Costume Design for Theodor Pistek. Nominated: BAFTA Film Award for Best Film for Milos Forman and Saul Zaentz. Nominated: BAFTA Film Award for Best Production Design for Patrizia von Brandenstein. 1986 Awards of the Japanese Academy: Win: Best Foreign Language Film. 1986 Guild of German Art House Cinemas: Win: Guild Gold Film Award for Foreign Film (Ausländischer Film) for Milos Forman. 1986 Kinema Junpo Awards: Win: Best Foreign Language Film for Milos Forman. 2000 Online Film & Television Association: Win: OFTA Film Hall of Fame for ‘AMADEUS’ Motion Picture. 2019 National Film Preservation Board, USA: Win: National Film Registry for National Film Preservation Board for the film ‘AMADEUS.’

FILM FACT No.2: In his autobiography “Beginning,” Kenneth Branagh says that he was one of the finalists for the role of Mozart, but was dropped from consideration when Forman decided to make the film with an American cast. Mark Hamill, who replaced Tim Curry as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart towards the end of the run of the stage play on Broadway, recalled in an interview that he read with many actresses auditioning for Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's wife Constanze and after the reads, Milos Forman decided to not cast him because of his association with the character of Luke Skywalker, believing that the audience would not believe him as the composer. Tom Hulce reportedly used John McEnroe's  mood swings as a source of inspiration for his portrayal of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's unpredictable genius. Meg Tilly was cast as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's wife Constanze, but she tore a ligament in her leg the day before shooting started. Meg Tilly was replaced by Elizabeth Berridge. Simon Callow, who played Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in the original London stage production of “Amadeus,” was cast as Emanuel Schikaneder, the librettist of “The Magic Flute.” The film was shot on location in Prague and Kroměříž. Notably, Milos Forman was able to shoot scenes in the Count Nostitz Theatre in Prague, where Don Giovanni and La clemenza di Tito debuted two centuries before. Several other scenes were shot at the Barrandov Studios. Milos Forman collaborated with American choreographer Twyla Tharp.

Cast: F. Murray Abraham, Tom Hulce, Elizabeth Berridge, Roy Dotrice, Simon Callow, Christine Ebersole, Jeffrey Jones, Charles Kay, Kenneth McMillan (2002 Director's Cut), Kenny Baker, Lisbeth Bartlett, Barbara Bryne, Martin Cavina, Roderick Cook, Milan Demjanenko, Peter DiGesu, Richard Frank, Patrick Hines, Nicholas Kepros, Philip Lenkowsky, Herman Meckler, Jonathan Moore, Cynthia Nixon, Brian Pettifer, Vincent Schiavelli, Douglas Seale, Miroslav Sekera (Young Mozart), Cassie Stuart (2002 Director's Cut), John Strauss, Karl-Heinz Teuber, Rita Zohar (2002 Director's Cut), Miro Grisa, Helena Cihelnikova, Karel Gult, Zuzana Kadlecova, Magda Celakovska, Slavena Drasilova, Eva Senková, Leos Kratochvil, Gino Zeman, Janoslav Mikulín, Ladislav Kretschmer, Karel Fiala, Jan Blazek, Zdenek Jelen, Milada Cechalova, John Carrafa, Sara Clifford, Richard Colton, Shelley Freydont, Anne Glasner, Barbara Hoom, Mary Kellogg, Raymond Kurshals, John Malashock, Jennifer Rawe, Thomas Rawe, William Whitener, Hana Brejchová, Miriam Chytilová, Karel Effa, Radka Fiedlerová, Rene Gabzdyl, Karel Hábl, Atka Janousková, Marta Jarolimkova, Gabriela Krckova, Vladimir Krousky, Jirí Krytinár, Radka Kucharova, Jan Kuzelka, Jirí Lír, Lenka Loubalová, Dagmar Maskova, Ladislav Mikes, Jitka Molavcová, Jana Musilová, Vojtech Nalezenec, Pavel Nový, Jiri Opsatko, Jan Pohan, Therese Herz, Ivan Pokorný, Milan Riehs, Iva Sebkova, Zdenek Sklenar, Renata Vackova, Jiri Vancura, Dana Vávrová, Petra Vogelova, Josef Zeman, June Anderson (singing voice) (uncredited), Isobel Buchanan (singing voice) (uncredited), Michele Esposito (uncredited), Gillian Fisher (singing voice) (uncredited), Anne Howells (singing voice) (uncredited), Brian Kay (singing voice) (uncredited), Robin Leggate (singing voice) (uncredited), Felicity Lott (singing voice) (uncredited), Zdenek Mahler (uncredited), Suzanne Murphy (singing voice) (uncredited), Alexander Oliver (singing voice) (uncredited), Patricia Payne (singing voice) (uncredited), Samuel Ramey (singing voice) (uncredited), Deborah Rees (singing voice) (uncredited), Richard Stilwell (singing voice) (uncredited), Vladimír Svitácek (uncredited), John Tomlinson (singing voice) (uncredited) and Willard White (singing voice) (uncredited)                                      

Director: Milos Forman

Producer: Saul Zaentz

Screenplay: Peter Shaffer (original stage play), Peter Shaffer (original screenplay) and Zdenek Mahler (uncredited) 

Composers: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Antonio Salieri, Giuseppe Giordani and Giovanni Battista Pergolesi

Cinematography: Miroslav Ondøíèek (Director of Photography)

Image Resolution: 1080p [Technicolor]

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 (Panavision)

Audio: English: 5.1 Dolby TrueHD Audio
English: 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio
Spanish: 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio
French: 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio
German: 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio
Italian: 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio
English: 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo Audio

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, Português, Japanese, German SDH, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Italian SDH, Korean, Norwegian, Polish and Swedish

Running Time: 180 minutes

Region: All Regions

Number of discs: 2

Studio: Warner Home Video

Andrew's Blu-ray Review: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is a revered composer of all time, and Antonio Salieri, the once respected but long-since forgotten court composer of Emperor Joseph II in Vienna, Austria, in the latter years of the 18th century. The film ‘AMADEUS’ [1984] is a not your traditional historical drama in any sense of the term. Peter Shaffer's 1979 play and subsequent screenplay adaptation, partially inspired by a 19th century play by Alexander Pushkin and subsequent opera by Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov, takes the lives of these artists as a starting point for a highly fictionalised drama of envy and audacity; it's the anguished cry of a cultured artist with aspirations beyond his talents who declares war against a crude, boorish young man who has been graced with the genius he so desperately craves.

Their music may seem high-brow by contemporary standards, but back in the 18th and 19th centuries, popular classical composers were the rock stars of their day, often achieving great wealth and privilege and engendering the admiration of everyone from peasants to kings. Though many were serious, aloof, and square, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, perhaps more than any of his peers, embraced the role. He partied, spent frivolously, and died young under mysterious circumstances. ‘AMADEUS’ may perpetuate the legends and myths that swirl about this musical icon, but Milos Forman's film adaptation celebrates the composer's genius so completely, anyone who sees this Oscar® winning work will take away one emotion above all others.

The story of Antonio Salieri's pathological jealousy and scheming attempts to sabotage Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's reputation and career is historically dubious to say the least--historians have noted that their professional rivalry was also marked by mutual respect and they even collaborated on a (now lost) cantata and his "mediocrity" a matter of context. Salieri was an influential composer and teacher in his day, no genius but a consistent creator of popular works whose work (like those of so many of his contemporaries) fell out of favour while the undeniably magnificent work of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart became part of the classical canon. But it is  that contrast between the revered and the forgotten that makes the film ‘AMADEUS’ so compelling, with the aging artist living out his life in the shadow of the dead Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and recounting the story of how he killed Mozart (or so he says) to a dubious priest.

‘AMADEUS’ is largely fictitious, but it cleverly takes seeds of truth and grows them into a compelling, substantive narrative. Both Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and especially Antonio Salieri are well-drawn, complex creations, and Peter Shaffer (who won a Tony Award for his play and an Oscar® for his adapted screenplay) instils in them a multitude of conflicting qualities. We admire Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, but it's hard to like him; we can relate to Antonio Salieri, yet can't condone his reprehensible actions. What makes Antonio Salieri such a marvellous character is that despite all his ill will, it's impossible for him to temper his unabashed wonder over the perfection of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's music. Sure, Antonio Salieri takes glee in sabotaging Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, but he's also the composer's biggest fan. And tragically, the pure, simple beauty of  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's notes and phrases, music that elevates so many and plunges Antonio Salieri's soul into darkness.

All the acting is terrific, especially F. Murray Abraham as the tormented, conniving Antonio Salieri and the scenes with F. Murray Abraham as an elderly man recalling his relationship   with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and confessing his sins are riveting, and devoid of the affectations so many less talented performers employ when playing "old." Tom Hulce captures Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's randy playfulness and sly conceit, as well as his sober sense of purpose and enslavement to music. Tom Hulce’s silly laugh becomes grating over time, but, of course, that's the point. As Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's commoner wife, Elizabeth Berridge is far better than I remembered, and her no-nonsense, rough-around-the-edges personality nicely contrasts with the stuffy, fawning atmosphere of the emperor's court. (The Director's cut more completely develops her relationship with Antonio Salieri, and adds more depth to her character and performance.) And in a small supporting role, a teenage Cynthia Nixon (“Sex and the City”) makes a notable splash as a naïve servant girl Antonio Salieri hires to spy on the Mozart’s family.

On its surface, ‘AMADEUS’ may seem like a story of revenge and bitterness, but it's really about the transformative power of music, and how it can shape and twist fragile human psyches. It's a stirring, impeccably produced work and deserving of all the accolades it received.

Released in 1984, five years after the original stage production debuted in London, the film was a popular and critical hit and swept the Academy Awards® by winning eight Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director for Forman, Best Adapted Screenplay for Shaffer and Best Actor for F. Murray Abraham. In 2001, Forman (with the blessings of both Peter Shaffer and Saul Zaentz) prepared a longer "Director's Cut" for a new theatrical release, incorporating about 20 minutes of extra footage unseen in the original cut, which of course has been included in this Special Blu-ray release.

‘AMADEUS’ brought a new popular interest in the music of Mozart (the soundtrack recording became one of the best-selling classical albums of all time) and turned the classical composer into a pop-culture figure (which reached its height or perhaps it’s so called swan song, with the dance hit "Rock Me Amadeus" by Austrian singer Falco). The most surprising reverberation from the movie was the rediscovery of Antonio Salieri, all but forgotten for well over a century until the movie inspired orchestras to seek out his works and companies to revive his operas. But even with this minor resurgence of interest, it is the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart that makes this film sings with the voice of angels.


Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro), K. 492, Act IV, Ah Tutti Contenti (1786) (uncredited) (Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart) (Libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte) [Performed by The Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields] [Conducted by Neville Marriner]

Don Giovanni, K. 527, A Cenar Teco, Da Qual Tremore Insolito... (1787) (uncredited) (Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart) (Libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte) [Performed by The Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields] [Conducted by Neville Marriner]

Axur, Re d'Ormus: Finale (1788) (uncredited) (Music by Antonio Salieri) (Libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte) [Performed by The Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields] [Conducted by Neville Marriner]

Die Entführung aus dem Serail (Abduction from the Seraglio), K. 384, Marten Aller Arten (1782) (uncredited) (Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart) (Libretto by Christoph Friedrich Bretzner) [Performed by The Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields] [Conducted by Neville Marriner] [Sung by Suzanne Murphy] (Constanza)

Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), K. 620, Aria No. 14, Der Holle Rache Kocht (1791) (uncredited) (Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart) (Libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder) ) [Performed by The Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields] [Conducted by Neville Marriner]

Concerto for Piano in E Flat Major, K. 482, 3rd Movement, Allegro (1782 – 1786) (uncredited) (Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart) [Performed by The Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields] [Conducted by Neville Marriner] [Instrumental Soloist: Ivan Moravec]  

Concerto for Piano in D Minor, K. 466 (1782 – 1786) (uncredited) (Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart) [Performed by The Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields] [Conducted by Neville Marriner] [Instrumental Soloist: Imogen Cooper]  

Symphony No. 25 in G Minor, K. 183: 1st Movement (1773) (uncredited) (Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart) [Performed by The Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields] [Conducted by Neville Marriner]

Lacrimosa, Requiem Mass in D, K. 626 (uncredited) (Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart) [Performed by The Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields] [Conducted by Neville Marriner]

Harpsichord Piece in F Major, K. 33B (uncredited) (Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart) [Performed by Young Mozart on harpsichord and on violin when blindfolded]

Caro Mio Ben (uncredited) (Written by Giuseppe Giordani) [Performed by The Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields] [Conducted by Neville Marriner] [Sung by Michele Esposito]

Adagio and Rondo for Glass Harmonica, Flute, Oboe, Viola and Cello, K. 617 (1791) (Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart) [Instrumental Soloist: Thomas Bloch with The Brussels Virtuosi, Conductor: Marc Grauwels]

Confutatis, Requiem Mass in D, K. 626 (uncredited) (Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)

Serenade K. 361 Gran Partita for 13 Wind Instruments: Adagio (uncredited) (Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)

Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro), K. 492: Act 1 – Non Più Andrai (Overture) (uncredited) (Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)

A Little Night Music Serenade in G for Strings 'Eine Kleine Nachtmusik', K. 525, 1st Movement (uncredited) (Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)

Die Entführung aus dem Serail (Abduction from the Seraglio), K. 384: Turkish Finale (uncredited) (Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)

Mass in C Minor, K. 427: Kyrie (uncredited) (Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)

Concerto for Flute and Harp, K. 299 2nd Movement (uncredited) (Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)

Allegro Moderato from Symphony No. 29 in A Major, K. 201 (uncredited) (Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)

Concerto No. 10 for Two Pianos and Orchestra in E-Flat Minor (K. 365) 3rd Movement (uncredited) (Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)

Allegro Maestoso from Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Viola, and Orchestra in E-flat Major, K. 364 (uncredited) (Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)

Piano Concerto No. 15 in B-Flat, K. 450: III. Allegro (uncredited) (Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)

Ich Möchte Wohl Der Kaiser Sein (K539) (uncredited) (Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)

Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) Act 2 - Pa-Pa-Pa-Pa-Pa-Pa-Papagena! (uncredited) (Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)

Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) Act 2 – Ein Mädchen Oder Weibchen (uncredited) (Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)

Six German Dances, K. 509: No. 1 in D Major (uncredited) (Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)

Don Giovanni, K. 527: Overture (uncredited) (Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)

Axur, Re d'Ormus: Act IV: Son Queste Le Speranze (uncredited) (Written by Antonio Salieri)

Rex Tremendae Majestatis, Requiem, K. 626 (uncredited) (Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)

Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro), K. 492 / Act I: Duettino: Cinque...Dieci...Venti (uncredited) (Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)

Die Entführung aus dem Serail (Abduction from the Seraglio), K. 384 Act I, Singt dem Grossen Bassa Lieder (uncredited) (Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)

Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro), K. 492 / Act III: Finale: Amanti Costanti (Ecco la Marcia) (uncredited) (Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)

Die Entführung aus dem Serail (Abduction from the Seraglio), K. 384 Act II: Duet: Vivat Bacchus! Bacchus Lebe! (uncredited) (Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)

Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), K. 620 / Act I: Overture (uncredited) (Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)

Dies Irae, Requiem Mass in D, K. 626 (uncredited) (Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)

Introitus, Requiem Mass in D, K. 626 (uncredited) (Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)

Don Giovanni, K. 527: Act II, Commendatore Scene (uncredited) (Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)

Don Giovanni, K. 527: Act I, La Ci Darem La Mano (uncredited) (Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)

Bubak and Hungaricus (uncredited) (Early 18th-Century Gypsy Music)

Stabat Mater; Quando Corpus Morietur and Amen (uncredited) (Written by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi)

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Blu-ray Image Quality – ‘AMADEUS’ makes a fairly solid 1080p image transition to Blu-ray, especially when one considers its age. Many scenes are slightly on the soft side, but there's a healthy complement of sharp, well-defined images that burst forth with excellent contrast and vibrant colour. Noticeable grain preserves the film-like feel and suits the period setting well, but never garners undue attention, even in dimly lit scenes. There's a lot of colour on display like reds are especially lustrous and rich and the transfer handles the faint variances with ease. Though primaries shine, I was extremely impressed by the delicate pastel tones, powder blues, sea greens, and lavenders, all of which are exceptional. Many costumes flaunt intricate patterns and lots of adornment, but there's never any shimmering or breakup. Blacks possess appropriate depth and the tone really stands out in the gentlemen's jackets, shadow delineation is quite good, and fine details, such as wood grain and the weave of paper documents, can be striking. Close-ups aren't as crisp as those in new releases, but they're revealing enough to catch beads of sweat glistening on the brows of many actors, especially Tom Hulce. Stable, true flesh tones predominate, and F. Murray Abraham's heavy makeup as the elderly Antonio Salieri looks, for the most part, very natural, even in high-definition. Some digital doctoring has been applied to spruce up the image, but it's subtle enough to keep critical characteristics intact. A few close-ups look a bit smooth, but the effects are never so blatant that I felt distressed or annoyed. Without question, 'Amadeus' has benefited enormously from this 1080p encoded image upgrade, but the image still can't rival the perfection of its subject's artistry.

Blu-ray Audio Quality – The artistry of course is Mozart's glorious music. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn't really matter if dialogue is intelligible, surrounds kick in, or effects are distinct on this 5.1 Dolby TrueHD audio sound track; the music needs to be damn near perfect. Without proper dynamic range, tonal depth, and a broad sound field, the impact of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's melodies on Antonio Salieri personally and the audience at large would not be nearly as great, and the story would suffer. Now, some may say Warner's penchant for 16-bit audio compromises Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's musical canon, but I can't imagine a better sonic treatment. From delicate strings to bombastic bursts of brass, from a soprano's trills to a robust basso aria, the track provides exceptionally pure, full-bodied tones with wonderful texture and shadings. Both symphonic and operatic sequences fill the room, immersing the listener in Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's playful, elegant, and passionate strains. Close your eyes and you'll swear you've been transported to a cavernous concert hall. During dramatic scenes, the audio is anchored up front, but noticeable separation enlivens the action, while subtle ambient effects occasionally grace the rears. Dialogue is very well prioritized, so we rarely miss a word of Peter Shaffer's Oscar-winning adaptation, and details such as the palace's squeaky wood floors and the ruffling of the layered period clothing are all vividly rendered. Aside from a few potent rumbles during the Don Giovanni segment, the subwoofer is almost silent, but low end bass is gorgeous whenever the music dips into that register, and conversely, even the highest soprano notes resist distortion. Again, say what you will about the 16-bit, Warner Home Video deserves kudos for this 100% brilliant audio.

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Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:

Audio Commentary by Director Milos Forman and Writer Peter Shaffer: Milos Forman and Peter Shaffer settle in for a substantive 180 minutes chat that covers many topics. Milos Forman and Peter Shaffer discuss the making of this film, and pepper it with lots of titbits on how the stage play differs from the film, trivia on the characters and actors, as well as other urban myths surrounding the lives of Mozart and Salieri. The two men obviously like and admire each other and create a comfortable rapport, and their lively banter keeps the track moving. Peter Shaffer insists that even though the story itself is pure invention, "there was a basis of truth in everything I did." A Mozart scholar, Peter Shaffer imparts a wealth of fascinating titbits about both composers that adds a great deal to the film; most notably, his belief that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died of kidney failure brought on by ingesting too much mercury, which he used to ease the effects of syphilis. He says "a piece of gossip led to a disputed truth" that Antonio Salieri poisoned Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and this controversial nugget inspired him to write the original play. Forman points out where deleted scenes have been reinserted and both men criticise a few of their own creative choices. They also cover also a bit too much ground from the excellent documentary, but they still deliver a breezy, affable audio commentary with endless details, insights, and anecdotes. This is an essential audio commentary track for anyone whose interest has been piqued by the people, events, and subject matter of the film. The only problem that lets is down sometimes is the fact that there are times of dead silence between Milos Forman and Peter Shaffer, despite this, it is still a very enlightening audio commentary listen.

Special Feature: The Making of ‘AMADEUS’ [2002] [480i] [1.37:1] [61:00] This riveting film takes a look behind the  scenes at one of the 20th Century's cinema classics and at one of contemporary cinema's most maddeningly brilliant directors, Milos Forman. Using never before seen materials, from original costume and set sketches to an innumerable collection of intimate on-set photography, blended with vibrant and revealing new interviews of the cast and crew, The Making of ‘AMADEUS weaves a spellbinding tale, filled with drama and humour. And at the centre of it all is the indisputable creative genius of Milos Forman and a cast of characters behind the lens as unique and idiosyncratic as that of the fictional world of in front of the lens. From start to finish, The Making of ‘AMADEUS’ takes an unblinking look at the trials and tribulations of this mammoth production effort. From the conflicts as Forman goes head-to-head with the world-renowned playwright Sir Peter Schaffer as they take Amadeus from stage to screen, to the seven months of on location filming in communist era Czechoslovakia. With sets crawling with undercover secret police, Milos Forman returns to his native land from exile for the first time in 20 years. He discovers that in order for the film to succeed he must put all his personal emotions aside. In a world in which communist inefficiency reigns supreme and logic seemingly does not apply, the cast and crew embark on a voyage filled with some of the most memorable filmmaking experiences of their lives as east meets west. The Making of ‘AMADEUS’ provides a riveting glimpse at a world most never get to see. Executed with a tenderness and craft rarely seen in other "making of films," and The Making of ‘AMADEUS’ is a film that can hold its own against the power of the work it seeks to chronicle. Putting it in a nutshell, this documentary is a memorable insight into how ‘AMADEUS’ was being made, provides facts, emotions as well as true desire for tribute, artists' tribute to genius of geniuses, Wolfgang Ama Deus Mozart. Contributors include: Milos Forman [Director], Peter Shaffer [Writer], Saul Zaentz [Producer], Sir Neville Marriner [Music Director], Tom Hulce [Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart], Jeffrey Jones [Emperor Joseph II], Vincent Schiavelli [Antonio Salieri Valet], F. Murray Abraham [Antonio Salieri], Michael Hausman [Executive Producer / AD], Patrizia von Brandenstein [Production Designer], Elizabeth Berridge [Constanze], Twyla Tharp [Choreographer] and Theodor Pistek [Costume Designer].

Theatrical Trailer [2001] [480i] [1.37:1] [2:00] This the Originally Theatrical Trailer for the film ‘AMADEUS.’ What a shame they could not have found the proper aspect ratio trailer.

Special Compact Disc Compilation [57:00] An audio sampling of eight Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart pieces from both the  symphonic and operatic realms, performed by the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields under the direction of Sir Neville Marriner, who supervised the music in the film. Liner notes connect each piece to its place in ‘AMADEUS,’ as well as provide critical context and background. For those new to Mozart, this Compact Disc is a fine introduction, and should whet the appetite for further exploration.

BONUS: Beautiful Production Booklet: Inside the DigiBook is a stunning gorgeous 36 page colour booklet with beautiful pictures, drawings and information about the film. It also has articles about the following: INTODUCTION; F.MURRAY ABRAHAM; TOM HULCE; ELIZABETH BERRIDGE; SAUL ZAENTZ [Producer]; PETER SHAFFER [Writer]; MILOS FORMAN [Director]; DID YOU KNOW? and TRANSLATION – BELOVED OF GOD. There's also a heavy stock paper insert describing the ‘AMADEUS’ Special Compact Disc's contents.

Finally, if you've never seen ‘AMADEUS,’ then shut down your computer and Order this Special Limited Edition DigiBook Package ASAP. It is wonderfully acted, beautifully shot, and meticulously designed period classic that still holds up today. The Blu-ray edition is a great place to start. While its video transfer could have been more faithful to its source, it still offers a substantial upgrade over previous releases. Add to that an immersive audio track, an engaging collection of special features, and an attractive brilliant DigiBook that includes a 57 minute audio Compact Disc that is sure to please newcomers and long-time fans alike. What more are you waiting for? Like Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's immortal music, ‘AMADEUS’ hasn't lost its lustre. The performances, direction, and production values of this absorbing epic film continues to impress a quarter century after its initial release. Though the 1080p encoded image transfer may not be reference quality, it's still a worthy upgrade, and the crystalline quality of the high-definition audio allows us to truly feel Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's music as well as hear it. Not all Best Picture winners deserve a spot on your Blu-ray shelf, but ‘AMADEUS’ does 100%, and this handsome Blu-ray Collector's Edition will please fans and newcomers alike. That is why I was so pleased to receive this wonderful package, as I have always wanted to see this film and now I have got round to seeing it at last and I was not disappointed and you will also get so much pleasure out of this stunning Blu-ray package. Not only have you got a cracking script, brilliant talented acting, but you also get to hear all of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri stunning classical music and to hear it in the awesome 5.1 Dolby TrueHD audio, will be definitely beautiful sweet music to your ears. Highly Recommended!

Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Aficionado 
Le Cinema Paradiso 
United Kingdom

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