AmadeusWarner Bros. (Blu-ray)
Gripping human drama. Sumptuous period epic. Glorious celebration of the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. This marvelous winner of eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, portrays the rivalry between the genius Mozart and the jealous court composer who may have ruined Mozart's career and shortened his life.
I’ve always been on the fence as to whether this was my favorite film by esteemed director Milos Forman or if it was One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Both are so rich in characters but I love how he covered this period and the performance by Tom Hulce as Mozart. This film gives a fascinating look at the legendary composer and is told from the man who confesses to killing him because of his jealousy. Everything about this film is brilliant; from the production design to the acting. If you’ve never had a chance to see it before, there’s never been a better time.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a “great” presentation of this film. The photography lends to a rather back and forth quality with some scenes being very soft and nearly out of focus. This Blu-ray transfer has a rather processed look at times with some detail having a swimmy appearance and I did notice some faint traces of ringing here and there. The dimensionality is good but not in the league of the better HD transfers out there. Detail is considerably better than the previous DVD releases and there is plenty of fine detail in backgrounds that provides rich backdrops throughout. I was honestly hoping for a bit more from this one in the picture department but I honestly wonder how much better it could actually look given the production style.
The Dolby TrueHD soundtrack does a marvelous job with the film’s rich score but I did think the dialogue could be a bit bright at times. It wasn’t overly distracting but I noticed it more often than I’d like. Spatial design is solid and the front soundstage has a very nice open quality to it. Obviously the score is the highlight and the lossless mix makes the most of the material though the dynamics aren’t quite in the same league as some of the newer soundtracks we’re getting today.
Warner delivers this one in digi-book form with great notes on the production, talent involved and history of Mozart all in a nicely packaged book. You also get a digital copy of the film and a standalone CD with eight selections from Mozart’s works. Included on the disc is a feature commentary with the director along with a documentary on the film’s production that gives lots of insight into the filming along with interviews. The trailer is also included.