Monday, March 1, 2010

Why Amadeus Rocks

Those who have seen this older post know that I am quite the fan of Amadeus. Recently I was on IMDB looking up fun facts about the movie, which was adapted from the play by the same name, and they just confirmed the fabulosity of the film. Let me share!

Sets and costumes for the operatic productions were based on sketches of the original costumes and sets used when the operas premiered.

The entire film was shot with natural light. In order to get the proper diffusion of light for some scenes, the DPs covered windows from the outside with tracing paper.

The performance of "Don Giovanni" in the movie was filmed on the same stage where the opera first appeared.

Prague was ideal as a stand-in for Vienna, as modern television antennas, plastic and asphalt had rarely been introduced under Communist rule.

Only four sets needed to be built: Salieri's hospital room, Mozart's apartment, a staircase, and the vaudeville theater. All other locations were found locally.

Several professors of music stated, after studying all of the musical keys struck on pianos throughout the film, that not one key is struck incorrectly when compared to what is heard at the exact same moment. In other words, what you see is exactly what you hear.

During the opening scene, where Salieri is carried through the snowy streets, he is carried past a large extravagant mansion-like building where a party is in progress. According to Milos Forman, this building is, in reality, the French embassy in Prague.

The screen-writer and creator of the play, Peter Shaffer shares his name with the original set designer (for the premier) of Mozart's opera Die Zauberfloete (The Magic Flute).

When shooting the scene in which Salieri is writing down death mass under Mozart dictation, Tom Hulce was deliberately skipping lines to confuse F. Murray Abraham, in order to achieve the impression that Salieri wasn't able to fully understand the music he was dictated.

Meg Tilly originally was cast as Stanze but tore a leg ligament in a street soccer game the day before she was to film her first scene. Elizabeth Berridge replaced her.

Now go watch the movie with your friends and impress them with your knowledge of the film!


  1. Interesting facts! I started rewatching it the other day trying to determine if a friend would like it. I think it's my duty to introduce her to this great film!

  2. FANTASTIC film! I don't think any other movie has made me like two people so wholley obnoxious and selfish as Mozart and Salieri. It always boggles my mind when my Mum tells me that she 'Doesn't care for it'. She can never give me a specific reason why though...

  3. This is my favorite film! Thank you for sharing the interesting facts!

  4. "Amadeus" is my favorite movie ever!! It started my life long love of Mozart (and the 18th Century in general). Of course, lots of it is fictionalized, but what's interesting is the more I've studied Mozart through the years, the more little truisms I find in it. Certain quotes and scenes are based on facts, albeit out of context but still. Wonderful film!

  5. I also love this movie, and can't figure out why I don't own it! My kids would love it too :)

    One of the things I love about it is that it doesn't portray Mozart as a saint on a pedestal--I love how realistically this movie portrays his feelings about his genius, and by extension his father and Salieri.

    Interesting post.

  6. This is my favorite film! I know all of the lines! I adore the Mozart pieces they selected for the film as well. They went perfectly:)

  7. How ironic that you posted this, as I just bought the movie yesterday. Having seen it before I'm not sure why I hadn't owned it until now; truly a treasure!

  8. Yeah, like I said it's one of my favs to yet I finally got around to owning it just this Christmas! Why is it taking us all so long to buy this film!

  9. OMG I just bought this film about 3 weeks ago myself. It's also one of my favorite movies, I don’t know why it took me so long to buy it either. I'm glad to know that there are many other fans like myself, but then again, we are on an 18th century lovers blog lol ;-)

    I remember the first time I ever saw this movie. It was in elementary music class. I was probably 9 or 10. The scene that stuck with me the most and started my love of the time period was in the beginning when Salieri first spots Mozart and Castanze goofing off in the dinning room, under the table! To this day, it's still my favorite part. I remember watching it and thinking how pretty everything was. The rooms, the food, the clothes, the hair, the woman’s breasts sticking out of their dress practically up to their chin. Amazing! I wanted to be there.
    Now that I think about it, I wonder if it was an appropriate movie to show young children. I doubt an elementary school would be allowed to show that now. lol

  10. Squee! I LOVE this movie. It was one of the first DVD's that we invested in when we upgraded. Prague and Vienna were put on my life list because of this film.

  11. Ed and I were watching Stranger Than Fiction last year when Ed suddenly realized one of the characters was Tom Hulce, who we hadn't seen in years. If you haven't seem him since Amadeus, leave it alone and save the magic.
    I have a great original lobby poster for the first Broadway show of Amadeus, with Ian McKellen as Salieri, Tim Curry as Mozart, and Jane Seymour as Constnaze. I just looked up the play to see more about it and found out that Simon Callow played Mozart in the original London production on stage. WTF?

  12. Tom Hulce was also of the frat boys in Animal House! But it's hard to see him in anything other than Amadeus.

    The original movie poster you say? That is pretty fabulous! One of the facts I didn't include was the people who tried out for Mozart and Tim Curry was one of them. I think Mick Jagger was too!

  13. Now that just makes the movie all the more awesome!