Amadeus - The Director's Cut

DVD Rating: ****

Reviewed by: Keith Hennessey Brown

Read Angus Wolfe Murray's film review of Amadeus - The Director's Cut

The film is presented in 2.35:1 letterboxed format and is enhanced for widescreen televisions. It looks good, with well-defined, sharp bright colours and solid blacks, fulfilling Foreman's demand of his cinematographers that "black is really black [and] human flesh is human flesh." No scratches or damage are evident.

Audio is, if anything, even better. Presented in a choice of 2.0 and 5.1 Dolby Digital, its clarity is remarkable, letting the full range of the music shine through.

Copy picture

The extras are split across two discs. Disc one contains a full-length commentary track, disc two an new hour-long documentary.

The commentary from Foreman and Schaffer is interesting and informative. Amusing anecdotes about the trials and tribulations of the production - especially of the difficulties of shooting in Communist-controlled Prague - intermingle with solid insights into the craft of the writer and the director. Schaffer draws attention to the differences between the stage and screen, pointing out sequences that are purely cinematic, while Foreman emphasises the small, near subliminal details that make all the difference.

Both men are also surprisingly critical of the film, highlighting moments that they feel do not work as well as they might or which they would do differently given the chance.

The making of documentary is good, as these things go. The problem is there is too much overlap with Foreman and Schaffer's commentary: We hear of run-ins with the authorities; problems with the weather; the actress originally cast as Constanze sustaining an injury and having to drop out of the production days before shooting commenced, and more.

On the plus side there are also contributions from F Murray Abraham, Tom Hulce, Elizabeth Berridge, Jeffrey Jones and others.

Other extras include the original theatrical trailer, filmographies of Foreman, Schaffer, Abraham, Hulce and producer Zaenetz - the brevity of which feels somewhat desultory given the quality of the rest of this package - and a long listing of the various awards Amadeus scooped.

All in all, Amadeus looks and sounds great and is nicely rounded out by some quality extras. Recommended.

Reviewed on: 14 Oct 2002
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Superior biopic of the Austrian composer.
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Product Code: D037464

Region: 2

Ratio: 2.35:1 letterbox

Sound: Dolby Digital 2.0 and 5.1

Extras: Disc One: Feature length commentary by director Milos Forman and writer Peter Shaffer. Disc Two:

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