Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Mozart i Salieri / Mozart and Salieri

Моцарт и Сальери / Mozart ja Salieri / Mozart och Salieri. SU 1962. PC: Rigas kinostudija. D+SC: Vladimir Gorikker – based on the one act opera (1898) by N.A. Rimsky-Korsakov – based on the one act tragedy (1830) by A.S. Pushkin. DP (bw): Vadim Mass. AD: U. Pauzers. Makeup: V. Kuznetsovoj. ED: J. Tselms, M. Tsharbyninoj. S: G. Korotejev. M: N.A. Rimski-Korsakov, excerpts: "Voi che sapete" played by the blind beggar, and Requiem by Mozart. M advisor: N. Avenarijs. Conductor: S. Samosud. C: Innokenti Smoktunovski (Mozart, singing voice: S. Lemeshev), Pjotr Glebov (Salieri, singing voice: A. Pirogov), A. Milbret (the blind violinist). Helsinki premiere 1.3.1974 Capitol, distr: Kosmos-Filmi, Finnish / Swedish subtitles Ulla-Liisa Heino / Jutta Leffkowitsch – VET 68458 – S – 1275 m / 47 min. A KAVA print viewed at Helsinki, Cinema Orion (50 Years Ago), 6 June 2012.

Revisited a top opera film adaptation with a superior performance by Innokenti Smoktunovsky as Mozart.

The film begins at the grave of Pushkin and proceeds from a wintry aerial establishing shot of 18th century Vienna to the house of Salieri. The other major location is the restaurant The Golden Lion.

As we all know, this interpretation is a veritable character assassination of Salieri who in reality was not at all like this.

In the Pushkin (and Shaffer) versions Salieri is the lethally envious colleague of the infinitely talented genius. Pushkin's Salieri realizes that he has killed music in his belief in the harmony of algebra.

Mozart as interpreted by Smoktunovsky is a Rococo figure, shallow and frivolous at first sight. Salieri reproaches him that "you are not worthy of yourself". "There is deity in you although you don't realize it yourself". "Like a cherub he has brought us songs from Paradise".

Mozart starts to play the piano in a light-hearted way, but suddenly there is something much more profound. "What depth, courage, concentration".

A black-clad man has ordered a Requiem, and that man haunts Mozart day and night.

"Genius and evil are incompatible", says Mozart, and that sentence haunts Salieri after he has poisoned Mozart. Even in death Mozart will be overwhelming.

Mozart belongs to the great roles of Smoktunovsky, along with Prince Myshkin, Hamlet, and Porfiri Petrovich (the police prosecutor in Crime and Punishment). Smoktunovsky's Mozart is startlingly childish and nice, yet with a sense of bottomless depth.

The print is good and it has been little used.

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