On this day in Film History: Viva Mozart!!

On this day in film history, a certain person by name of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg, Austria.


You might be wondering, what does a Classical-era composer have to do with the history of film, or film music, since neither were invented until close to a hundred years after his untimely death. The answer? Mozart has plenty to do with film music, his works have influenced hundreds (if not thousands) of film scores. And in the silent era of film, Mozart’s works were adapted (as many others were) to be played by silent film orchestras as hundreds of films played overhead on the screen.


Credit to Peter Sis

Sometimes Mozart’s work becomes the entire basis of a film score, especially when that film explores his life, like Amadeus in 1984. The film purports to recount the life of Mozart (Tom Hulce) as told by his rival Antonio Salieri (F. Murray Abraham). The film is noted for using the myth that Salieri attempted (or in some versions succeeded) to murder Mozart, because he was jealous of his success (of course this is not true). At the link below is one of my favorite scenes, because it breaks down Mozart’s melody and then puts it back together, the better to highlight the genius that he was. And what hurts me the most? The piece they’re working on, the Requiem, was never finished (not by Mozart anyway), and so I hear this beautiful melody and I can hear my mind screaming “But how was it to end??”

Amadeus- Composing the Confutatis

More recently, Mozart’s work was quoted in Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (not in the opera house or the opera itself, that’s Giacomo Puccini), right as Benji finds he’s “won” a ticket to the opera. The music you hear is from Le nozze de Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro). The same piece of melody is quoted in The King’s Speech (2010).

I hope this wasn’t too out of left field, but I saw that his birthday was today and I couldn’t resist. Enjoy! -Bex

For more “On this day” posts, see here


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