Amadeus producer dies

Amadeus producer dies


norman lebrecht

January 04, 2014

Saul Zaentz, who won fistfuls of Oscars with One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Amadeus, both directed by Milos Forman, has died aged 92. Amadeus, the most successful composer biopic of all time, is founded on the fantastical premise that Mozart was murdered by Salieri.




  • Actually, the film is based on the *play*, which in turn is founded on the premise that Mozart was murdered by Salieri.

    • robcat2075 says:

      Actually… the film (haven’t seen the stage version) is based on the premise that Salieri wants someone to THINK he murdered Mozart. The film is Salieri’s retelling of his conflict with Mozart and implying that he had reason to kill him but ultimately confessing that he didn’t do it.

  • Julia says:

    Those of us who love rock and roll will remember Zaentz as the center of a contentious lawsuit by John Fogerty, who was sued by Zaentz for putting out an LP that sounded too much like Fogerty’s previous band, Creedence Clearwater Revival. (Zanentz owned CCR’s rights). Ultimately, the judge ruled in favor of Fogerty, who responded with the snarky song, “Zaentz Kant Danz.” Another lawsuit erupted, and “Zaentz” was changed to “Vanz.” Proudly, I own the original Zaentz pressing.

  • Pamela Brown says:

    “fantastical premise”? No. Debatable, perhaps.

  • Gonout Backson says:

    Debatable it isn’t, because there is nothing to debate (there are around 150 theories of how Mozart left this world), so fantastical it is. Anyway, much more serious is a huge, musical mistake right in the middle of the movie.

    • Pamela Brown says:

      Really? In order not to be debatable, wouldn’t one have to ignore the historical record? Did not Mozart himself say he thought he was being poisoned?

      • Gonout Backson says:

        Absolutely, and Salieri said, first, that he didn’t do it, and then, that he did. This is all the “historical record” we have. Even less than for Tchaikovsky…

        • Pamela Brown says:

          Have you so little curiosity? There seem to be a couple of issues worth debating. Was Mozart, as he said, actually poisoned? What was Salieri’s main concern, guilt over feeling he had contributed (directly or indirectly) to Mozart’s early demise, or concern that the rumours were flying all around Vienna that he was responsible — even to the point of Beethoven’s putting in his two cents worth? How did these rumours (if they were that) contribute to Salieri’s breakdown?

          • Gonout Backson says:

            Curiosity – about what? Rumours? To debate, you need at least some facts. The only facts we have – are these rumours. It’s not even certain Mozart actually said he thought he was poisoned, since we didn’t hear it from him, but from Constanze. Two levels of doubt : Constanze could have lied, and Mozart could have imagined it. Salieri’s state of mind is interesting as such, but it doesn’t teach us anything about Mozart’s death.

            I’d much rather wonder about the mistake in the movie…

  • Roberto Gonzalez says:

    Zaentz stole CCR blind, and the lawsuit was justified… He was also a producer behind the Lord of the Rings films…