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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 25, No. 4. 1962.

Mock Mozart

Mock Mozart

The projectionist played a record of "The Marriage of Figaro" overture at the wrong speed during interval; an unhappy omen, as it turned out, for the film proper, Mozart, purports to be the story of the last period of the composer's life, during rehearsals for "The Magic Flute" and the composition of the requiem, in 1791.

When his wife goes to the spa at Baden for a few months, he has an affair with the girl singing Pamina in the production of the opera supervised by Schikaneder— or so the film would have us believe. Actually, the whole thing is completely preposterous, reducing its story to a treatment of the show-must-go-on formula.

With Oskar Werner as an effiminate-looklng Wolfgang and, surprisingly enough, Nadja Tiller somewhere in the cast (I still don't know which one she was) and with a Schikaneder who looks as though he were a fugitive from Powell and Pressburger's "Tales of Hoffman" the film doesn't have much chance of even looking convincing. The colour is very murky; all the greens and blues come out as a similar shade of aquamarine and the print has been knocked around quite badly. The Vienna Symphony Orchestra (conducted by Hans Swarovsky) has little opportunity of showing what it can do and it is impossible to tell, within this context, just how well Gottlieb Trick, Anton Dermota, Hilda Gueden and Erich Kunz are singing.

There are a couple of fine images at the end (of Mozart's coffin being taken to a pauper's grave) which show some of the artistic sensibility that has been missing from the preceding mess.