Monday, November 12, 2018

Blogging Amadeus

One of the greatest movies ever made about a composer--which is not really about the life of a composer at all--is the movie "Amadeus." Based on a play by Peter Shaffer, directed by Milos Forman, it was released in theaters in 1984, and is now available on DVD in a "director's cut" in which some scenes that were cut for time in the theatrical release were restored in what is now a three-hour run time. Since you don't have to watch it all at once this is more than justified, although if you have a young audience, some of the deleted scenes might better be passed over. In one of them we see a little more of Mrs. Mozart than the film review board might be comfortable with.

I've recently taught a course on this movie, and thought it would be worth trying to translate some of it into a blog series, partly to help teachers who want to use the movie in their classrooms, as well as general film buffs who wondered about the historical authenticity of the film and other matters. And if any of my students would like to use this blog to continue the conversation--or if anyone else wants to jump in--you are welcome.

This blog series will take place on Mondays. (Mondays=Mozart). I plan to follow the general outline of the class, which began with a lengthy prologue in which we discussed the film as history or not, and if not, what it actually is and how we might appreciate it even if we find fault with it, then got into the actual history of the people involved, found out where Peter Shaffer got his ideas for the film by tracing a Viennese rumor through a poem by Pushkin and an opera by Rimsky-Korsakov, and then dove into the film itself, not entirely in score order, taking on various big topics as the occasion warranted.

See you back here on Monday!

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