Richard Burton as Richard Wagner.
Gary Oldman as Beethoven
If Amadeus is the only great composer movie, what about some others that are good? I’m not sure there are any that are good-to-great but there are a few that are okay-to-good.
Immortal Beloved comes up as an okay-to-good movie. The problem is that its central theme is trying to figure out which woman Beethoven didn't end up with.
Who cares? He didn't end up being with any of three women concerned. Who was his Immortal Beloved? No one cares. It's his music that we care about and love.
In Amadeus, Salieri tries to block Mozart's music, the one thing we love Mozart for. That gets us involved.
Trying to track down some mystery woman that history has forgotten using Beethoven's music as a soundtrack is not a great movie. You see, the thing about Beethoven is his music.
The one scene that works beautifully in the movie is the representation of Beethoven's sublimation of the pain and suffering of his childhood into the Ode to Joy, but it comes almost as an afterthought.
Another okay movie is Wagner, the four-part miniseries starting Richard Burton as Richard Wagner. The problem here is that Richard Burton is terrible. Not just terrible, but boring. It’s a very uncomfortable performance to witness at times.
Both Beethoven and Wagner were overbearing, somewhat nasty, and yet immensely charismatic. Wagner had Nietzsche as one of his disciples. Think about that. One of the most fiercely independent minds in history spent a good amount of time worshiping at the church of Wagner. This charisma is in Wagner’s music but it’s not in this 10-hour movie.
The movie uses Wagner’s music completely out of sequence, and oftentimes uses music to underscore a scene that Wagner wasn’t to compose until 30 years later. I get that the director is trying to show that the seeds of Wagner's music were in his political and personal life. However, using the conclusion of The Ring, in the movie timeline, before Wagner had composed Tristan, is silly.
Wagner didn’t have the ability to conclude The Ring until he completed Tristan. Wagner took 12 years off from writing The Ring during which time he composed Tristan and Meistersinger.
Through out the movie, Wagner’s music is presented in “bleeding chunks” with no relationship to when the music was composed and no relationship between what the music is about versus what is happening in the movie.