Amadeus returning to screens

The 1984 Miloš Forman film will play in a digital version

The director's cut of Miloš Forman's 1984 film Amadeus will play at Prague's Dlabačov cinema March 2, and then go to select theaters across the country. The screenings will be a new digital version of the 180 minute cut that Forman introduced in 2002 at the Berlin film festival and also in Prague. The film was largely shot at Prague locations and at Barrandov Studios.

Amadeus is a costume drama based on Peter Shaffer's play about the alleged conflict between Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri. The original 161-minute cut won eight Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director. The American Film Institute in 1988 ranked Amadeus 53rd on its 100 Years 100 Movies list.

The longer version adds scenes that Forman originally thought made the film too long, as distributors wanted shorter films in the 1980s, Forman said when he was in Prague in 2002. Times changed, and he saw the opportunity to use deleted scenes to flesh out some characters and add more to the plot.

The new scenes also changed the film's rating in the US from PG, which mean parental guidance, to R, which means restricted and strongly cautions parents that the film has adult themes.

Forman, a driving force of the Czech New Wave in the 1960s, had relocated to Hollywood after the end of Prague Spring in 1968. He did not return until he came to shoot Amadeus, but he had to give some assurances to state security that he would not cause disturbances. Nevertheless, he did meet with dissidents and he also secretly met with film students at FAMU. The filming of the big-budget movie brought much needed hard currency to Czechoslovakia.

While the film had a largely American cast, several Czechs worked on it as well. Theodor Pištěk won an Oscar for his costumes and Karel Černý shared an Oscar for art direction. Miroslav Ondříček was nominated for his cinematography. Several Czech actors including Karel Fiala and Hana Brejchová appeared in small roles.

Prague locations in the film include the Estates Theatre, the Archbishop's Palace next to Prague Castle, the Palace of the Grand Prior of the Knights of Malta in Malá Strana, the exterior of the French Embassy, and the exterior and interior of Invalidovna as well as several streets in Malá Strana. A palace in Kroměříž was also used.

The rivalry between Mozart and Salieri is a bit overstated in the film. In February 2016, the sheet music for a short composition jointly written by the two composers was found in Prague in the archives of the Czech National Museum. It had long been considered lost, and was known only from an advertisement describing it. Scholars say it proves that the two composers had a cordial working relationship.

The film will be shown in English with Czech subtitles. For more information visit www.facebook.com/events or pannonia-entertainment.cz/amadeus.

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