Essay on The Play ' Amadeus ' And Sunday Night Fever

Essay on The Play ' Amadeus ' And Sunday Night Fever

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The role of music in film can be critical to telling the story. The music is used by directors in various methods to help the viewer glimpse a full picture of trends and beliefs of a particular time, to understand the psychology behind a particular character, and to set a mood in a film. Competition in Amadeus (1984) and Saturday Night Fever (1977) are depicted in different ways using numerous musical techniques which are important to analyze in order to understand their role in the films. Although mutually united by having music as a core concept of these films, they are differentiated by the use to which music is put in each one. This paper will describe how music in film, as defined by Aaron Copland, is used in films such as Amadeus and Saturday Night Fever. I will discuss how Amadeus defines the rivalry between Mozart and Salieri and how the Bee Gees’ music in Saturday Night Fever was used in combination with dance to contrast Tony Manero’s mindset in and out of the studio, especially as he transitioned to adulthood.
The role of music in film is important to help create a particular mindset in the viewer. Academy Award winning composer, Aaron Copland, wrote an article for the New York Times outlining his view of the five major purposes of music in motion pictures. According to Copland, the first purpose is to “Create a more convincing atmosphere of time and place” (Copland). This is especially important in Amadeus, a film taking place during the lifetime of the subject of the film, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The film is about the story of Mozart as told by his rival, Antonio Salieri, a distinguished composer who developed Dementia and was placed in an insane asylum in his old age. Salieri was one of Mozart’s greatest fans and c...


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...t’s cause of death is still uncertain but there is evidence pointing to natural illness. (Sederholm)
Early on in the film, Salieri looks up at a fixture of Jesus on the cross after successfully composing a piece of music in Mozart’s honor and verbally expresses his thanks to Jesus by saying, “Grazie, Signore.” In the following scenes, the emperor decides he wants to play the march for Mozart and does not play it as well as Salieri could have. Soon after, the emperor invites Mozart to play the piece which he claimed to be able to do from memory. Mozart excels and then improves the march by turning it into a set of theme and variations and drawing the attention of all those within earshot to listen. The scene ends back in Salieri’s chambers as he is looking back at the fixture of Jesus on the wall with an angry look on his face sarcastically saying, “Grazie, Signore.”

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