Dir. Milos Forman; writ. Peter Shaffer; feat. F. Murray Abraham, Tom Hulce, Elizabeth Berridge, Simon Callow, Roy Dotrice (R)
Yes, it's kind of about classical music - but only in the way that Raging Bull is about boxing or Citizen Kane is about the newspaper business. In other words, you don't have to be an egghead to be enthralled by Peter Shaffer and Milos Forman's passionate tale of jealousy, duplicity, and genius.
The film revolves around the envy a popular but untalented composer, Antonio Salieri, feels for the newcomer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, whose brilliance is especially obvious to the second-rate tunesmith. As Mozart's fame grows, Salieri longs to sabotage his career; his love for Mozart's work, though, competes with his distaste for the young composer's rock-star-like lifestyle.
In some strange centuries-late irony, Salieri gets some compensation here by being played by F. Murray Abraham, who steals the film from newcomer Tom Hulce. It's not quite the same as having written "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik," but at least his name will live beyond the world of classical music scholars. Amadeus is an enjoyable enough film to carry Salieri's iffy fame through a few more decades, at least.
A note about the rating: When the film was originally released, it was rated PG. The newly incorporated footage includes a brief shot of a woman's breasts, for which the prudes at the MPAA changed the film's rating to R. Parents, please use these breasts as a way of convincing any reluctant children that they should see this film. •
Amadeus screens Tuesday, June 24 as part of Texas Public Radio's "Cinema Tuesdays" series. 7:30pm at AMC Huebner Oaks, admission $10 members/$12 non-members, 614-8977 or tpr.org for reservations.
Dir. Emilio "Indio" Fernández; writ. Fernández, Mauricio Magdaleno; feat. Dolores del Río, Pedro Armendáriz, Alberto Galán, Margarita Cortés, Miguel Inclán (NR)
The Instituto's second offering from the legendary Mexican filmmaker known as "the Indian," Maria Candelaria is a love story revolving around one of Mexico's most famous silver screen couples, Pedro Armendáriz and the legendary Dolores del Río. Shot near the start of Indio's career as a director, it's one of the films that helped the successful actor move behind the camera, where he worked for decades. •
Maria Candelaria screens at the Instituto de Mexico, 600 Hemisfair Park, at 4pm on Sunday, June 22. Info: 227-0130.