So here’s a question that I was surprised not to find. Which do you prefer, the theatrical or director’s cut?
I grew up with the theatrical cut, so that’s what I’m used to of course. My feeling had always been that it was one of the “perfect” films, in the sense that it was all just so perfectly scripted, acted, set (costumes, locations), filmed. The pacing and structure just. so.
Now that I’ve seen the “director’s” cut (I use quotations because I have no idea of it is really Forman’s intentions or not, the term is so often misapplied for marketing purposes), I feel that the longer form makes the film better, and at the same time less perfect. Great little details are added, and yet, diminishment. I was absolutely sold on the “director’s” when I finally got the subtext of the line “I regret we have no servants to show you out, Herr Salieri.”
But, at the same time, I feel that it flaws the film in someway. It’s just less tight, less focuses. All the little details make for a new enjoyment of the film, but they mar it all the same.
I’ve avoided the director’s cut because I’ve gotten the impression that the consensus is that the original is superior and the “director’s” is just a marketing ploy to re-release and cash in (Scott has said the same about the ALIEN re-release). Which is a bummer, because then those inferior cuts become the more widely available or most recently remastered, better looking versions.
I’ve seen the Director’s Cut twice (thus far) on the big screen and the film really is a better experience at the theatre. I have a copy of “Amadeus” on DVD that is the shorter version and I must say I prefer the longer edition (that I have experienced at the cinema). I’m not just saying that because you get a sweet slice of Elizabeth Berridge baring her torso, either. The whole thing just sees to flow better and is more easily digestible in the longer format. What’s really weird is that “Amadeus” is a “forgotten” Best Picture Oscar winner, much in the same way you could easily stump people with the question ‘Who won the Best Actor Oscar for his role in “Amadeus”’? (It was of course F. Murray Abraham).
The film is nowhere nearly as revered and beloved as “Cabaret”, “The Sound of Music” and “West Side Story”, significantly older films. It’s strange that the Astor did not have a big turn-out for its revival season of “Amadeus” The Director’s Cut” last September, but hey, that’s Melbourne’s supposedly enlightened “art scene” for you. I guess they’d rather spend twenty dollars on some shitty, pretentious pap at the Fringe Festival than witness a classic film (for less money!) at the best cinema in the country!
By the way, I find the scene below, like much else in the film, absolutely beautiful to behold…
I swear this isn’t the sole reason why I prefer the Director’s Cut (although it certainly doesn’t hurt, either).
That scene was magnificent, particularly in its use of music. I love how for a brief moment it looks as if Salieri is moving in, and then he rings the bell. Chilling.
“Amadeus” also holds the distinction of having one of the best closing lines in cinematic history. This is one of those rare films where you feel strangely at ease with (perhaps even supportive of) the villain’s manipulation of those around him. Mozart was (portrayed in the movie as) a smart alec who saw fit to mock Salieri. Looking back, I’m glad F. Murray Abraham got the Oscar, as Jeff Bridges (who missed for “Starman”) got an Oscar many years later anyway with “Crazy Heart”. Chances are that F. Murray wouldn’t have received a second bite of the cherry like Bridges did.
That’s as good as any reason, Mark. I don’t recall that scene in the theatrical release. I may have to check out the Director’s Cut ; )
I liked the movie when I first saw it back in the 80s, but was annoyed by Hulce’s grating laugh. Seemed like Foreman decided to play Mozart as a musical “idiot savant.” Not sure what basis, if any, he had for portraying Mozart like this. Foreman greatly played up the differences between the child prodigy and Salieri for obvious dramatic effect. It works fine as a movie, but alas Salieri is now seen as this evil hack composer who could never get over how God would “channel” his music through an urchin like Mozart. Nevertheless, I thought Abraham was wonderful in the role. It was his shining moment.
“Not sure what basis, if any, he had for portraying Mozart like this.”
According to most classical fans i know, he had none whatsoever
I’m a huge fan of tatas but the extended cut is dreadful. I love the original but the extended version looks more like many of the scenes are the making of and not actual final cuts.
The extended scenes also often lack the driving music which urges the film forward and makes ordinary scenes sublime.
I would gladly pay $30 for a theatrical cut BR edition of Amadeus. Usually I prefer a director’s cut but this and blade runner are an exception to the rule.