This is the edition to get...
Michael Behuniak | Seattle, WA United States | 01/31/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I first saw "Amadeus" around 1984 when it was first released. Besides being a visual and musical masterpiece of film making, it kick-started my life-long love of and appreciation for classical music.I won't repeat the story synopsis as it's already been thoroughly described both by Amazon.com's critical review and multiple customers here already. I will say though that this edition, 'The Directors Cut', is a major improvement over the first DVD release. First, (and finally!!), the movie is now a single-side DVD...gone is the annoying 2 sided 'flipper' that the first release was. You can now watch "Amadeus" from start to finish without having to get up and turn it over. For my money, that's reason enough alone to own this new version.Secondly, 'The Directors Cut' now adds about 20-30 minutes of previously deleted scenes, placed back into where they were originally intended. Personally I find some of the newer stuff enhances the story overall and fills in some details that were left vague in the original theatrical release. I won't give away any details, but there is a new scene between Mozart's wife, Constanza, and Salieri, Mozart's chief musical rival (and secret arch-enemy) early in the movie that puts an whole new perspective of Salieri's twisted and battered psyche.As for the DVD itself, the picture and sound quality are both exemplary. Included is a second disk with bonus material including interviews and making-of extras.If you loved the original, you owe it to yourself to pick up this version. If you're new to classical music and Mozart, this is the best place to start.lr** Jan 30,2003
Theatrical version vs. "Director's Cut"
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 04/06/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you're a fan of the original theatrical cut of "Amadeus" you'll have mixed feelings about the "Director's Cut". While I perfer the latter for a number of reasons, the feeling and flow of the original theatrical version differs somewhat from the "Director's Cut". The most important part are extended scenes that include Salieri agreeing to help Constanze if she has an affair with him. He ends up rejecting her when she shows that she so loves her husband that she would be willing to do so. A number of the opera scenes are extended as well with more business after the show between Mozart and his leading lady. There's also a longer sequence involving Salieri's visit to Mozart comissioning the "Requiem". Most of the material adds to the power of the film while a few sequences just give additional back story on various characters. The original theatrical version which won an 8 Oscars runs about 25 minutes shorter than the 3 hour "Director's Cut". Forman also provide a fascinating commentary track for the film along with writer Peter Shaffer ("Equus").
The image quality for the "Director's Cut" is superior to the original theatrical version. The film was restored to its original luster for re-release resulting in much more natural flesh tones and a sharper visual image as well. The colors which play in important part in conveying the themes of each sequence are more robust and vivid. The theatrical version looks quite good although it was first issued on DVD as a "flipper" (meaning you had to flip it over) DVD after roughly two hours to watch the last third of the movie. The big advantage for the theatrical version is Neville Mariner's score on an isolated track.
The second disc of the "Director's Cut" has one terrific extra, a brief talent list and the original theatrical trailer. The marvelous behind-the-scenes documentary covers the highlights and difficulties that Forman faced in translating Shaffer's stage play to the screen. At nearly 40 minutes it could have provided more background including outtakes, rehearsals and auditions but it's quite a few documentary as it is. There was plenty of room on the second disc to include Mariner's isolated score but the documentary is really all we get.
As to which is better--it's a toss up. Both versions of the film work extremely well although I prefer the "Director's Cut" for the added footage, the sharper more robust image quality and the higher definintion anamorphic transfer. I do miss the isolated Marriner score of Mozart's music that appeared on the original disc in 5.1. Given the capacity of the second disc, it could easily have been transferred and would have added value to this special edition.
A story of envy, lust and anger "Amadeus" focuses on the brief life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Mozart (Oscar nominee Tom Hulce giving a terrific performance) was a child prodigy who composed his first piece at the age of 4 and produced a remarkably large body of work for such a brief life. His nemesis is court composer Antonio Salieri (Oscar winner F. Murray Abraham in a remarkable performance). This is really Salieri's story as his jealousy drives him to destroy Mozart. Salieri is so consumed with his jealousy, that while recognizing the beauty and originality of Mozart's music, he can't help but want to destroy its creator. Salieri's quaint compositions can't hold a candle to Mozart's complex, original and brilliant pieces.
Featuring inspired supporting performances by Christine Ebersole, Jeffrey Jones, Simon Callow ("Three Weddings and a Funeral"), the only performer that doesn't do anything for me is Elizabeth Berridge as Constanze. She replaced Meg Tilly just prior to shooting. The stunning production design, cinematography and sharp direction make "Amadeus: The Director's Cut" an experience worth savoring. This deluxe edition features a running commentary by director Milos Forman, writer Peter Shaffer ("Equus"), a great 30 minute documentary on the making of the movie and a terrific 5.1 Dolby Digital remastered soundtrack. Restored from the original film elements, the film hasn't looked this robust and colorful in quite some time. The digital anamorphic transfer looks marvelous and almost rich enough to eat. This version doesn't replace the original theatrical version but is more of an enhanced experience for those who loved the first film. Since this version runs roughly three hours, be prepared for a long evening.
Highly recommended, this examination of the destructive power of jealousy still resonates with power, passion and wonderful music. If you're not an opera buff, I'd suggest skipping this for, while the film is powerful, part of the power comes from appreciating the music that Mozart wrote. We see a lot of excerpts from a variety of Mozart's operas throughout the movie. Whichever version of the movie you choose, you'll sure to be delighted. I'd give the "Director's Cut" a slight edge for better picture."
Inferior to the original
Wayne Klein | 12/03/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I'm going to be harshing on the director's cut of Amadeus here, so if you're not interested in this issue, read no further.The original Amadeus is very economical. It tells a complex story using the fewest elements possible and its characterization and plot development are perfect. Simply put, it's one of the most well-edited American films, ever.The new Amadeus adds footage which clutters up the plot. I know that many people see these new things as enhancing the story, and I've tried to agree with them. However, in this case the new things just don't make a lot of sense.The major new addition is a scene where Salieri humiliates Mozart's wife by making her disrobe (she's willing to sleep with him if it will advance Mozart's career) and then throwing her out. This scene turns Salieri into the villain much earlier in the film and gives him too active a role. In order for the film to work, he has to remain more of a passive observer until his hate for Mozart has had time to develop. The flawless buildup of the first film is disrupted and Salieri's character loses some of its coherence. Also, the brilliantly tuned response of the wife in the death scene becomes odd and incoherent. Wouldn't she be much more angry at Salieri, given what he put her through?Some other added scenes show Salieri sabotaging Mozart's chances for work as a music teacher, and Mozart trying out a job opportunity Salieri has given him, only to find the position untenable. Again, Salieri is given too active a role, and Mozart is given too strong a hint that Salieri dislikes him. Mozart's naivete about Salieri's real feelings is made less believable. Surely no one is that stupid?The transfer and soundtrack are marvelous here (three cheers for Dolby Digital!) but as a work of art the film goes from classic to merely fine. I like many director's cuts and I'm always willing to try them out. Sometimes genius is left on the cutting room floor and sometimes not. In this case, not."
Great movie - horrible mastering of dvd
B. Wicklander | Michigan | 11/15/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"the movie is stellar, the people who mastered this dvd should be ashamed. This is for the 1997 & Jan 08 re-release of this movie. I owned the 1997 release and they split the movie half on side 1, the other on side 2. I thought the re-release, which I repurchased, would have the movie on 1 side, as technology has improved immensely, it was just the same horrible sub VHS copy as my original dvd. Having the movie as a "flipper" is impractical. I hope the blue-ray release will be remastered and for those who purchase won't be subjected to a grainy pixelated version.
Very sad to see this movie put out this way. Again brilliant movie! Horrible DVD."