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Mozart lies dead of unknown causes. Austrian police chief Count Pergen (Armin Mueller-Stahl) locks the six major suspects—his wife, Konstanze (Catarina Runcke), and the infamous court composer Salieri (Winifried Glatzeder) among them—in the dead man's chambers. No one will leave until the killer is identified. West German director Slavo Luther's sophomoric grafting of this hoary mystery scenario onto Amadeus actually bears some niggardly fruit. Each of the interrogated characters flashes back Rashomon-style to key moments in the composer's life, and Luther renders them into gold-tinged rococo scenes verging on the grotesque. Interesting also is Luther's attempt to link Mozart, the Freemasons, and the imperial court into some kind of illuminating statement about genius and society; his conclusion, however, is a sour platitude: “We all murdered Mozart,” the count mutters in lame triumph at the end. The music, of course, steals the show. The composer's later, darker works are emphasized: the C-sharp minor Fantasia and the Requiem. Their somber sublimity adds depth to the film's superficialities. In Forget Mozart, only the Mozart remains memorable.

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