Reviewer's Rating 5 out of 5  
Amadeus - Director's Cut (1984)
PG

Millions of Academy Award viewers were baffled when F Murray Abraham beat the likes of Jeff Bridges and Albert Finney to the best actor award in 1984. However, this 'special edition' of "Amadeus" proves that Abraham's Oscar triumph was no fluke.

The former stage star brings a magnetic intensity to the role of Antonio Salieri, the embittered court composer who brings about the destruction of his rival, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Hulce).

It's hard to imagine anyone playing the part better - praise indeed when one considers Paul Scofield and Sir Ian McKellen created the character on stage.

That said, one should not overlook Hulce, who was also Oscar-nominated for his punkish portrayal of the titular genius. Indeed, his vivacity almost justifies producer Saul Zaentz's decision to Americanise Peter Shaffer's original play.

The extra footage in the director's cut brings even more pathos to Mozart's tragic fall, notably by restoring a harrowing scene where his body is dumped in a pauper's grave.

Other welcome additions include a sub-plot involving Kenneth McMillan as a patron more interested in his dogs than Mozart's melodies, and an excerpt from a bawdy burlesque by the composer's contemporary, Emanuel Schikaneder (Callow).

Such inclusions lend added texture to director Milos Forman's epic, which becomes a richer, grander experience as a consequence.

If you haven't yet witnessed this cinematic marvel, now's your chance. If you've seen it already, it's even better the second time around.

End Credits

Director: Milos Forman

Writer: Peter Shaffer

Stars: Tom Hulce, F Murray Abraham, Elizabeth Berridge, Jeffrey Jones, Simon Callow, Roy Dotrice, Charles Kay, Christine Ebersole

Genre: Drama

Length: 180 minutes

Original: 1984

Cinema: 26 July 2002

Country: USA

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