Monday, January 18, 2010

A review of details from the movie Amadeus

Amadeus, the story of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, review questions -

1. How does Mozart propose to Constanza?
He says it backwards. 'Em yrram.' Mozart finds speaking backwards very amusing, especially when obscenities are involved.
2. What does Salieri NOT include in his promise to God?
The virtue of charity. he said, 'In return I give you my chastity, my industry, my deepest humility- every hour of my life.'
3. How do the Mozarts secure extra money?
They pawn household objects. Gold snuffboxes to be exact.
4. How many times is the opera Don Giovanni played in Vienna?
Five. Salieri said, 'Through my influence, I saw to it Don Giovanni was played only five times in Vienna - but in secret I went to every one of those five, worshipping the sound that I alone seemed to hear.'
5. The first time we see Mozart as a child, for whom is he performing?
For the Pope. He plays the harpsicord blindfolded, then repeats the same tune on the violin.
6. The first time we see Mozart as an adult, for whom is he performing?
The Archbishop of Salzburg. He makes an embarrassing late appearance, because he's fooling around with Constanza.
7. What is the first of Mozart's operas we hear parodied in the common theater? Don Giovanni. The ghost of Don Giovanni's father is played by a midget.
8. How many years pass between Mozart's death and Salieri's attempted suicide? 32. '...and he kept me alive to torture! Thirty-two years of torture, thirty-two years!'
9. What is Constanza's 'penalty' for losing a round of musical chairs? To show her legs. A very risque' act for the day!
10. What is the name of the Mozarts' maid? Laurel. She's hired by Salieri, who uses her as a spy.
11. How old was Mozart when he composed his first symphony? Age seven. 'This man had written his first Concerto at the age of four, his first symphony at seven, a full-scale opera at twelve!'
12. How many Italians serve as the Emperor's musical advisors? There are three. All musical idiots, according to Mozart.
13. Where does Constanza go to get her health back? The spa. She was sent away by her mother, after Wolfgang's drinking and erratic behavior took their toll on her.
14. Who from the cast was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar? Both
principal actors were. Abraham won, but graciously remembered Hulce in his speech.
15. What did Salieri's father call the child Mozart? Old man Salieri called him "A trained monkey." Salieri the child wanted to make music. His father asked him if he wanted to be a trained monkey like the young Mozart. Throughout his youth, Mozart and his sister Nannerl toured the palaces of Europe as child prodigies. Other detractors also referred to the child Mozart as a trained monkey. More of a reflection upon the father than the child?
16. What did Salieri call Mozart? "The creature." In fact, Mozart had a very puerile and off-color sense of humor. He enjoyed speaking backwards and had a high, strange laugh.
17. Who is Mozart's employer when the movie begins? The Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg. Mozart was unhappy working under the patronage system of his day. His employment with the prince archbishop was frustrating and stifling. The last 10 years of his life (age 25-35) Mozart strove to be a successful independent musician. If he had lived longer, he might have been the first composer to triumph over the patronage system. As it happened, Beethoven is credited with being the first.
18. Although Constanze and Mozart had six children, only two lived to adulthood. How many were shown in the movie? One. Only Karl Thomas is shown in the movie, and the child never says a word! In truth, Constanze gave birth to a son, Franz Xaver Wolfgang, in July 1791, 5 months before Mozart died. This pregnancy/child was never shown or mentioned in the movie! (There has been some speculation about the paternity of Franz Xaver.) Of the six children, Karl Thomas and Franz Xaver Wolfgang were the only two who survived into adulthood. Salieri actually taught Karl Thomas as a composition student after Mozart's death. He taught him for free.
19. In 1984 "Amadeus" won eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor. Who won the Best Actor award? Salieri: the actor F. Murray Abraham. Ironically, Salieri (Abraham) finally beat Wolfgang (Hulce) at something! Sam Waterston was also nominated for Best Actor in "The Killing Fields" and Simon Callow is the actor who played Schickaneder (not nominated). Maurice Jarre, who won the 1984 Oscar for original score ("A Passage to India") remarked that he was glad that Mozart was not eligible for nomination!
20. Who was Emperor Joseph's famous sister? (The child Mozart asked her to marry him.) Marie Antoinette. Emperor Joseph mentions her several times in the movie. He references the time that the child Mozart asked her to marry him and he later mentions that his dear sister Antoinette "is beginning to fear her own people"... smart girl. (Her own people finally guillotined her.) Maria Theresa was Joseph's and Antoinette's mother and Elizabeth was Joseph's niece.
21. What mask does Leopold choose for the costume party scene? Tragedy/comedy. This is the mask that is resurrected for Salieri's harrassment of Mozart in the movie. In truth, the strange circumstances surrounding the "Requiem" commissioning are thought to be the work of Count Walsegg, a nobleman who was notorious for commissioning compositions and trying to pass them off as his own.
22. What did Count Orsini-Rosenberg remove from "The Marriage of Figaro" score? The dance scene. Count Orsini-Rosenberg was the Italian born master of opera in the court of Emperor Joseph II. Viennese composers were required to get his permission before beginning work on a new opera.
23. "The Magic Flute" is classified as "singspiel". What does Schickaneder call it in the movie? He calls it a vaudeville. "Singspiel" is very much like musical comedy. Vaudeville describes it well. In the hands of a genius such as Mozart, however, the resulting "Magic Flute" transcends the genre and becomes a masterpiece. Recommended: ...a fascinating comparison of "The Magic Flute" and "Star Wars".
24. According to the movie, from whom does Mozart get his inspiration for the Queen of the Night's famous aria? Frau Weber (his mother-in-law). I don't know if this scene has any historical basis, but it is a rich moment in the film! Originally, Frau Weber was Mozart's landlady. He fell in love with her older daughter who did not return his affections. Then he turned his attention to Constanze, the younger. Maria Magdalena Hoffdeml is the focus of great rumor and speculation concerning Mozart. Although she is never seen or mentioned in the movie, Maria was Mozart's piano student and alleged mistress. One of the Mozart death theories has Maria's angry husband attempting to murder her, poisoning Mozart, and committing suicide. Maria was pregnant during all this, supposedly with Mozart's child.
25. Whom does the movie portray as the commissioner of Mozart's "Requiem"? Antonio Salieri. The rumor mill of the day was filled with stories of Salieri's poisoning of the great Mozart. These rumors are actually mentioned in Beethoven's conversation books. The entire movie is based on the assumption that Salieri's old age confession and alleged letter is truth. In fact, no proof exists to support the idea that Salieri murdered Mozart. Proof does exist that he resented him, was very jealous of him, and sabotaged his work, but no proof of murder. Facts: Salieri was frequently at Mozart's deathbed and attended his funeral. The "Requiem", however, was eventually completed by Mozart's composition student, Franz Xaver Sussmayer (recognize the youngest child's name?) who often accompanied Constanze to the spa at Baden Baden.
26. What "miracle" made it possible for Salieri to pursue music in Vienna? His father choked to death. Salieri's father was a businessman who forbade his son from following in Mozart's footsteps. His death made it possible for Salieri to fulfil his dream... or at least to try.
27. When preparing to meet the Emperor in Vienna, how many wigs does Mozart try on? " Mozart tries on three wigs, one of which is a decidedly unorthodox shade of pink. Indecisive, he asks his hairdresser, "Why don't I have three heads?" and then erupts in his annoying, high-pitched giggle.
28. After Mozart hears Salieri's march of welcome, how does he humiliate Salieri in front of the Emperor? He corrects and embellishes the march. After pointing out that a phrase "doesn't really work," he improves the phrase, and then plays variations on the march's theme. Salieri's face is wonderful as he seethes with rage while trying to look composed for the others in the room.
29. When Emperor Joseph suggests that Mozart would make a good music teacher for his niece Elizabeth, what protest does Salieri offer? Choosing Mozart might look like the Emperor is playing favorites. Salieri tells the Emperor he wants to protect him from any appearance of showing favoritism. Princess Elizabeth rolls her eyes at this, seeing the truth much more clearly than her uncle. In the director's cut, Salieri also suggests that Mozart has taken advantage of female music students in the past.