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Serge
10-28-2000, 07:31 AM
I'm sure that every Beethoven fan has seen the 1994 movie Immortal Beloved. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and consider one of my favorites, despite some glaring errors in the plot, script, etc. It was no doubt one of the finest period pieces ever filmed.
I am curious to find out others' opinions about the film, as none of my friends care about the film. Do you find the errors hard to ignore? Do you think it rose awareness of Beethoven to the public consciousness once again (or rather, more so)? Any issues with the movie? Personally, In think it did Beethoven a great service, esp. by not over-glorifying him; by making him very human. Any thoughts?

Peter
10-28-2000, 11:14 AM
Well, I'm sorry that I have to totally disagree with you Serge - I think the errors, particularly the ridiculous notion that Johanna Van Riess (Beethoven's sister-in-law)was the Immortal Beloved are impossible either to forgive or ignore. So now a lot of people who know little about Beethoven have the idea that he was having an affair with his sister-in-law thanks to this film! Neither do I think the film made for good entertainment (which apart from being educational is surely a primary function of a film). When compared to Amadeus (which also had its share of historical inaccuracy - though at least there was fact in the rivalry between Salieri and Mozart, and Salieri did at least claim to have poisoned Mozart),Immortal beloved falls down miserably. Amadeus achieved a sort of cult status (especially in Italy) - I bet you that more people have heard ,seen and remember Amadeus than is the case with Immortal beloved.
I'm afraid a decent film about Beethoven has yet to be made - one that is both historically accurate and entertaining at the same time.
For more accurate information on the 'Immortal beloved' see that page on this site.

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'Man know thyself'

Serge
10-28-2000, 08:58 PM
Perhaps the part involving his sister-in-law was a little hard to swallow, but still, I think the movie did a lot to bring awareness of Beethoven up again, at least here in North America. The people I know who've seen the movie did not know a lot about Beethoven before, and, truth be told, would not learn much more after seeing the movie, but at least they got an idea of what it was like for someone like him. If anything, the movie gave B. a visible personality, something people in our short-attention-span and tv-jaded continent could latch onto when they heard the name Beethoven.
For purists, the film was probably an abomination, but I find it damn fortunate we even got a movie about him in the first place here! Even after I tell people about the errors in the movie, their new opinions about Beethoven don't change-- that he was an inspired person, a volatile man, coming off rough, but at heart a good man. And surely anything that helps raise the profile of a great composer in this country is a good thing, even in spite of all its problems.
As for Amadeus, that movie was almost as prone to errors as I.B.!! Salieri never tried to kill the guy, first of all, and I'm sure Mozart never sounded that crazy! (Do you HEAR his laugh?!?!?)

Peter
10-28-2000, 09:14 PM
Firstly re. Amadeus, I admitted it had its share of blunders, but at least it was good entertainment with first class acting , particularly from F.Murray Abraham. Salieri did actually confess to poisoning Mozart in old age whilst in an asylum - there is an interesting reference to this in Beethoven's conversation books as well - (we now know of course that Salieri did not kill Mozart !) If you've read Mozart's letters you'll realise also that they didn't get his personality that far wrong !
I remember watching Immortal Beloved on boxing day a couple of years back, and I was full of high expectations (and a little hungover from Xmas !)- probably why I was so disappointed with it - apart from historical blunders, I felt that it did not portray B's character very well - he seemed totally moody and morose throughout the film (in fact the whole film seemed morose and gloomy!) - yet this was not the case - he was often in very good humour. I simply think that had the film been done more along Amadeus lines, it would have a done a lot more to raise B's profile.

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'Man know thyself'

Kevin
10-29-2000, 05:18 PM
The director of IB and the actors could not capture the spirit of LvB and his life. I doubt there is a film maker today who really understands the genius of Beethoven and his music. It did not have the critical or popular acclaim of Amadeus becuse it did not deserve it. It was produced and marketed as a "chick flick", primarily as a romance. Therefore, you a clueless Gary Oldman(Sid Vicious from the film "Sid and Nancy")portraying Beethoven as some hapless Romeo from a bad soap opera script. Hollywood films are all about marketing and commanding market share, they have precious little to do with art.
The great director Abel Gance("Napoleon" and "I Accuse")made a film entitled "Beethoven" around 1936. It's interesting and has its moments but still falls short of the mark in my view.

"Music is a higher revelation than philosophy"

Originally posted by Peter:

Firstly re. Amadeus, I admitted it had its share of blunders, but at least it was good entertainment with first class acting , particularly from F.Murray Abraham. Salieri did actually confess to poisoning Mozart in old age whilst in an asylum - there is an interesting reference to this in Beethoven's conversation books as well - (we now know of course that Salieri did not kill Mozart !) If you've read Mozart's letters you'll realise also that they didn't get his personality that far wrong !
I remember watching Immortal Beloved on boxing day a couple of years back, and I was full of high expectations (and a little hungover from Xmas !)- probably why I was so disappointed with it - apart from historical blunders, I felt that it did not portray B's character very well - he seemed totally moody and morose throughout the film (in fact the whole film seemed morose and gloomy!) - yet this was not the case - he was often in very good humour. I simply think that had the film been done more along Amadeus lines, it would have a done a lot more to raise B's profile.

Serge
10-29-2000, 08:04 PM
You guys and my father have a lot in common about this movie! He disliked it as much as you did, more or less for the same reasons. I always thought that he was being a little harsh; now I'm wondering if I'm being too forgiving.

Susan
11-02-2000, 12:54 AM
I agree that Amadeus was a far superior film, but I also enjoyed Immortal Beloved for what it was; perhaps 'chick flick' is accurate, but hey, sometimes we 'chicks' need movies like that http://www.gyrix.com/~cgraye/ubb/tongue.gif . I think perhaps that comparing the two films is a mistake. Amadeus is destined to be a classic, and IB is just a beautiful, emotional film. I also know several people (ok, all chicks), who purchased the soundtrack to IB, and now have some knowledge and appreciation of his music, which they didn't have proir to seeing the movie. And that's a good thing.

Susan

cheetoprincess
11-08-2000, 12:27 AM
I thought "Immortal Beloved" to be a quite accurate portrayal of Beethoven's life. I even came to the same conclusion on the Immortal Beloved as the movie did. Three years ago I did a paper on Beethoven and then watched "Immortal Beloved" afterwards. It was very accurate and showed Beethoven as a dirty old man, which he certainly was, but wrote great music. My mother has many music and music history degrees and has extensive knowledge in Beethoven. She came to that same conclusion forty years ago while studing in Europe, so I find it very amusing that people are still ignorant in saying Johanna was not the Immortal Beloved, when, from mine and my mother's research proves otherwise.

Chris
11-08-2000, 03:36 AM
I don't think the movie itself was suggesting that any such thing is true. It was in there only because the makers thought it was more interesting. That's what we have been discussing here. If you think this is true, perhaps you'd like to share your reasoning? I, for one, was never aware of you and your mother before!

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"Wagner's music is better than it sounds." - Mark Twain

Peter
11-08-2000, 11:22 AM
Originally posted by cheetoprincess:
I thought "Immortal Beloved" to be a quite accurate portrayal of Beethoven's life. I even came to the same conclusion on the Immortal Beloved as the movie did. Three years ago I did a paper on Beethoven and then watched "Immortal Beloved" afterwards. It was very accurate and showed Beethoven as a dirty old man, which he certainly was, but wrote great music. My mother has many music and music history degrees and has extensive knowledge in Beethoven. She came to that same conclusion forty years ago while studing in Europe, so I find it very amusing that people are still ignorant in saying Johanna was not the Immortal Beloved, when, from mine and my mother's research proves otherwise.

This is very interesting - I do think that you should provide the evidence to back up your claims - I for one have seen no evidence to suggest this - I agree with Maynard Solomon (who perhaps you should present your evidence to prior to the updated version of his Beethoven biography being released shortly) - the most likely candidate for 'Immortal beloved' is Antonia Brentano.Interesting that your mother came to her conclusion 40 years ago - there has been a lot more research done since then.

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'Man know thyself'

Bernadette
01-10-2001, 09:09 PM
I feel "Immortal Beloved" was a great film,although at times very inaccurate. Of course,whenever Hollywood makes a film based on a true story,they always distort it to make it sound & look better.(Although I think what really happened between Beethoven & his many lovers was fine the way it was.) But filmakers always change true stories to make the script jucier or whatever. From a critique point of view,"Immortal Beloved",in my opinion,was a 4 star film. It was well-written,well shot,it had excellent locations,& the acting was top-notch.What does everyone else think?

amadeus
01-11-2001, 01:43 AM
Well since were talking about my movie I thought I should add my two cents. Amadeus is easily one of my favorites, yet I still have much to learn when it comes to myself. I mean exactly how accurate is this movie? Did I(oke I'll give it up) did Mozart really act that nutty. And why did they cram so much into his final night alive. I mean you had the premiere of the magic flute, then Wolfgang and Salieri attempt to finish the Requiem all in the same night. More importantly did he really act that nutty????

Anyway about IB, I for one thought the movie was great, UNTILL I learned about how damm inaccurate it is. Yet I do believe that Gary Oldman did a pretty good job of portraying the great one, and it does give you a good idea of how the man lived, but why did they make it so inaccurate. Why is there not even any mention of Brentano, or Brunswick or Brunsvick(not sure on the spelling), the two most likely candidates for the infamous letter. That in itself just bugs the hell out of me.

Another thing about IB, first off it wasnt long enough. But then again with it being so inaccurate maybe thats for the better. Also in the scene where his sister in law comes to his bed and he signs over the right to her son Karl, he rights on a piece of paper something like "Must it be? and she repliys It must be? for the longest time I was trying to figure what the hell this really meant, then I finally read that throughout B's life these to statements were part of an inside joke that he shared with many of his friends. Dosent tell you that in IB. Among this there are obviously other problems just like Amadeus has.

Again was he really that nutty? Did Costanze and Leopold really dislike one another? Isnt it a mystery of who the requiem was supoosed to be written for, Does Salieri have anything to do with it?

To conclude, despite the problems with Amadeus(not knowing exactly how big they are)It is still a great film and one of my favs. Cant say the same for IB. We are still waiting for the Great film based on the life of Beethoven, and I mean everything. From his child hood, to his adolescence studying with Neefe, to Haydn, to the scene of him on his death bed trying to compose the tenth. EVERYTHYING. Spare no detail and make it three hours if you have to.Get Gary Oldman again, I think he did a dam good job with IB. I mean why is Hollywood waiting on this one, you have the makings of an enormous blockbuster:
1. Lifestory of the greatest composer to ever live.
2. Same guy who composes the most beatiful music ever written also cant hear, for a good portion of his life. Quite IRONIC.
3. One of the most truly romantic stories to have ever exist. obviously the IB letter.
4. TRUE STORY. If what youre watching actually happened at some point of time it makes it all much more interesting. Titanic perfect example of this. Do you think it would still be the all time biggest money maker in the theaters if the viewers weren't watching a piece of history?

Anyway I cant wait for someone over there to wake up and get this sucker moving, Its something I reall y look forward to, just hope its not to far away.

P.S. Am I the only one who really wanted to see a scene In Amadeus that had the encounter of Mozart and Beethoven. I mean how often can the two greatest musical minds in history be together in the same room at the same time, let alone the fact that supposedly Beethoven really impressed Mozart with his skills, especially his improvisational skills. Its just something I think they could've added to the film.

~Leslie
01-11-2001, 11:16 AM
amadeus:
Did I(oke I'll give it up) did Mozart really act that nutty?.


You mean did he really have that incessant giggle? <g>



Also in the scene where his sister in law comes to his bed and he signs over the right to her son Karl, he rights on a piece of paper something like "Must it be? and she repliys It must be? for the longest time I was trying to figure what the hell this really meant, then I finally read that throughout B's life these to statements were part of an inside joke that he shared with many of his friends.

Amadeus,ye got me there, I thought it was a direct reference to the 3rd letter:

"- Yes, I am resolved to wander so long away from you until I can fly to your arms and say that I am really at home with you, and can send my soul enwrapped in you into the land of spirits - Yes, unhappily it must be so - "


Did Constanze and Leopold really dislike one another?

Leopold did not approve of Mozart's marriage to Constanze Weber. After reading Marcia Davenport's biography of Mozart, I'd have to say Leopold was a bit of a control freak.

We are still waiting for the Great film based on the life of Beethoven, and I mean everything. From his child hood, to his adolescence studying with Neefe, to Haydn, to the scene of him on his death bed trying to compose the tenth.

Be sure to read this forum's input on our imaginary film, Beethoven, The Movie.


P.S. Am I the only one who really wanted to see a scene In Amadeus that had the encounter of Mozart and Beethoven?.

No, you're not. #:^ )


~Cheers

Rod
01-11-2001, 12:37 PM
Originally posted by ~Leslie:


We are still waiting for the Great film based on the life of Beethoven, and I mean everything. From his child hood, to his adolescence studying with Neefe, to Haydn, to the scene of him on his death bed trying to compose the tenth.



The only way this could be done well is not via a movie, but rather a TV mini-series. I saw such a series about Schubert made by Austrian TV in Vienna. The whole thing was very convincing, better than Amadeus or IB by a long way.

Rod


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"If I were but of noble birth..." - Rod Corkin

Peter
01-12-2001, 04:52 AM
Originally posted by Rod:
The only way this could be done well is not via a movie, but rather a TV mini-series. I saw such a series about Schubert made by Austrian TV in Vienna. The whole thing was very convincing, better than Amadeus or IB by a long way.

Rod




Good idea - It would be impossible to give a proper account of B from childhood to death in a mere 2 or 3 hour film - I suggest 12 one hour episodes.

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'Man know thyself'

Suzie
01-12-2001, 10:22 AM
I mean exactly how accurate is this movie?

I have a nice article from "American Scholar" about the movie "Amadeus".E-mail me if you're interested.

S

Suzie
01-12-2001, 10:28 AM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by cheetoprincess:
[B]I thought "Immortal Beloved" to be a quite accurate portrayal of Beethoven's life.

Oh, brother.

WestVaMtneer
01-12-2001, 03:47 PM
Thank you Serge. I quite agree not only with the regrettable and even unimaginative siter-in-law solution to the immortal beloved mystery. It did provide a finale, and was supported by his seemingly disproportinate custody pursuit of his nephew. But since the Immortal Beloved was the movies' title. I think it should have been left a mystery. After all it is the uncertainty and mystery that makes this relationship so fascinating.

My indignation during the opening scenes of the movie gradually warmed as the character of Beethoven was revealed. The dramtaic conclusion when after the performace of the 9th symphyony, Beethoven was directed to face the crowd which stood in ovation as one, had me applauding as well. My criticisms are quite subsidiary to the thrill of having a glimpse of that moment.

The Immortal Beloved the movie did serve to enhance my appreciation for the romance and passion which hitherto had existed only as a sidebar to Beethovens' biography.

Hearing Beethoven referred to as "Luie" was endearing as well

WestVaMtneer

Serge
01-15-2001, 01:26 AM
I appreciate your comments, WVM and Bernadette. I.M. was a beautiful film and anyone who's about to nitpick over the details of the characterization of Schindler or the resolution of the addressee should not be allowed near another historical picture! Who could ever expect 100% accuracy, esp. when the most glaring "problems" derive from events that will never get resolved anyway?

The idea of creating a miniseries of Ludwig's life is intriguing, though.

Peter
01-15-2001, 10:22 AM
Originally posted by Serge:
I appreciate your comments, WVM and Bernadette. I.M. was a beautiful film and anyone who's about to nitpick over the details of the characterization of Schindler or the resolution of the addressee should not be allowed near another historical picture! Who could ever expect 100% accuracy, esp. when the most glaring "problems" derive from events that will never get resolved anyway?

The idea of creating a miniseries of Ludwig's life is intriguing, though.

I can cope with a few historical inaccuracies Serge - but implying that Beethoven had an affair with his Sister-in-law , a woman who in reality he loathed is just plain unacceptable rubbish, and an insult that would make Beethoven turn in his grave, not to say 'box the ears' of the film's director.

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'Man know thyself'

Martha
02-07-2001, 06:58 PM
Hi,Just wanted to add my 2-cents worth! I took my husband & mother to the movie,hungry for a "great movie showing the genius and torture" of Beethoven's life! When I left, I felt like a person who sat down to an expected banquet and was left HUNGRY!
It had so many mistakes,so many chances at greatness BUT missed them all! I am still "hot" about the mistakes and that period they showed as him not writing ANYTHING was NOT DRY! They left out so much if OMISSION is a crime---they are guilty.
"on this I am unanimous"!!
They had a chance to open the mind of some people to classical music and missed some of the most beautiful!

Peter
02-07-2001, 09:34 PM
Originally posted by Martha:
I am still "hot" about the mistakes and that period they showed as him not writing ANYTHING was NOT DRY! They left out so much if OMISSION is a crime---they are guilty.
"on this I am unanimous"!!
They had a chance to open the mind of some people to classical music and missed some of the most beautiful!

My sentiments exactly Martha.

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'Man know thyself'

Joy
02-07-2001, 10:55 PM
My sentiments too. Here was a movie, (IB), that had such a great chance on telling the actual life of Beethoven but failed to do so. The costumes were good, the location, the acting, (Gary Oldmen did do a fine job). Too bad Hollywood always thinks they have to fudge on the real events as if real life isn't interesting enough. Is there any video tapes or movies out there that is more a documentary of this man's life? We do need a mini-series or a special, at least, to really detail the life of this composer. I, for one, think his "real life" is very interesting.
Joy