Amadeus – Peter Shaffer (script)

1 INT. STAIRCASE OUTSIDE OLD SALIERI ‘S SALON – NIGHT – 1823 1
Total darkness. We hear an old man’s voice, distinct and in distress. It is OLD SALIERI . He uses a mixture of English and occasionally Italian.
OLD SALIERI Mozart! Mozart! Mozart. Forgive me! Forgive your assassin! Mozart!
A faint light illuminates the screen. Flickeringly, we see an eighteenth century balustrade and a flight of stone stairs. We are looking down into the wall of the staircase from the point of view of the landing. Up the stair is coming a branched candlestick held by Salieri’s VALET . By his side is Salieri’s COOK, bearing a large dish of sugared cakes and biscuits. Both men are desperately worried: the VALET is thin and middle-aged; the Cook, plump and Italian. It is very cold. They wear shawls over their night-dresses and clogs on their feet. They wheeze as they climb. The candles throw their shadows up onto the peeling walls of the house, which is evidently an old one and in bad decay. A cat scuttles swiftly between their bare legs, as they reach the salon door.
The VALET tries the handle. It is locked. Behind it the voice goes on, rising in volume.
OLD SALIERI Show some mercy! I beg you. I beg you! Show mercy to a guilty man!
The VALET knocks gently on the door. The voice stops.
VALET Open the door, Signore! Please! Be good now! We’ve brought you something special. Something you’re going to love.
Silence.
VALET Signore Salieri! Open the door. Come now. Be good!
The voice of OLD SALIERI continues again, further off now, and louder. We hear a noise as if a window is being opened.
OLD SALIERI Mozart! Mozart! I confess it! Listen! I confess!
The two servants look at each other in alarm. Then the VALET hands the candlestick to the Cook and takes a sugared cake from the dish, scrambling as quickly as he can back down the stairs.
2 EXT. THE STREET OUTSIDE SALIERI’S HOUSE – VIENNA – NIGHT 2
The street is filled with people: ten cabs with drivers, five children, fifteen adults, two doormen, fifteen dancing couples and a sled and three dogs. It is a windy night. Snow is falling and whirling about. People are passing on foot, holding their cloaks tightly around them. Some of them are revelers in fancy dress: they wear masks on their faces or hanging around their necks, as if returning from par-ties. Now they are glancing up at the facade of the old house. The window above the street is open and OLD SALIERI stands there calling to the sky: a sharp-featured, white-haired Italian over seventy years old, wearing a stained dressing gown.
OLD SALIERI Mozart! Mozart! I cannot bear it any longer! I confess! I confess what I did! I’m guilty! I killed you! Sir I confess! I killed you!
The door of the house bursts open. The VALET hobbles out, holding the sugared cake. The wind catches at his shawl.
OLD SALIERI Mozart, perdonami! Forgive your assassin! Pietˆ! Pietˆ! Forgive your assassin! Forgive me! Forgive! Forgive!
VALET (looking up to the window)That’s all right, Signore! He heard you! He forgave you! He wants you to go inside now and shut the window!
OLD SALIERI stares down at him. Some of the passersby have now stopped and are watching this spectacle.
VALET Come on, Signore! Look what I have for you! I can’t give it to you from down here, can I?
OLD SALIERI looks at him in contempt. Then he turns away back into the room, shutting the window with a bang. Through the glass, the old man stares down at the group of onlookers in the street. They stare back at him in confusion.
BYSTANDER Who is that?
VALET No one, sir. He’ll be all right. Poor man. He’s a little unhappy, you know.
He makes a sign indicating ‘crazy,’ and goes back inside the house. The onlookers keep staring.

CUT TO:
3 INT. LANDING OUTSIDE OLD SALIERI’S SALON – NIGHT 3

The Cook is standing holding the candlestick in one hand, the dish of cakes in the other. The VALET arrives, panting.
VALET Did he open?
The Cook, scared, shakes his head: no. The VALET again knocks on the door.
VALET Here I am, Signore. Now open the door.
He eats the sugared cake in his hand, elaborately and noisily.
VALET Mmmm – this is good! This is the most delicious thing I ever ate, believe me! Signore, you don’t know what you’re missing! Mmmm!
We hear a thump from inside the bedroom.
VALET Now that’s enough, Signore! Open!
We hear a terrible, throaty groaning.
VALET If you don’t open this door, we’re going to eat everything. There’ll be nothing left for you. And I’m not going to bring you anything more.
He looks down. From under the door we see a trickle of blood flowing. In horror, the two men stare at it. The dish of cakes falls from the Cook’s hand and shatters. He sets the candlestick down on the floor. Both servants run at the door franti-cally – once, twice, three times – and the frail lock gives. The door flies open.
Immediately, the stormy, frenzied opening of Mozart’s Symphony No. 25 (the Little G Minor) begins. We see what the servants see.
4 INT. OLD SALIERI ‘S SALON – NIGHT 4
OLD SALIERI lies on the floor in a pool of blood, an open razor in his hand. He has cut his throat but is still alive. He gestures at them. They run to him. Barely, we glimpse the room – an old chair, old tables piled with books, a forte-piano, a chamber-pot on the floor – as the VALET and the Cook struggle to lift their old Master, and bind his bleeding throat with a napkin.
5 INT. BALLROOM – NIGHT 5
Twenty-five dancing couples, fifty guests, ten servants, full orchestra.
As the music slows a little, we see a Masquerade Ball in progress. A crowded room of dancers is executing the slow portion of a dance fashionable in the early 1820’s.
6 EXT. STREET OUTSIDE SALIERI’S HOUSE – NIGHT 6
As the fast music returns, we see OLD SALIERI being carried out of his house on a stretcher by two attendants, and placed in a horse-drawn wagon under the supervi-sion of a middle-aged doctor in a tall hat. This is DOCTOR GULDEN. He gets in beside his patient. The driver whips up the horse, and the wagon dashes off through the still-falling snow.
7- MONTAGE: 7- EXT. FOUR STREETS OF VIENNA AND 11 INT. THE WAGON – NIGHT 11
The wagon is galloping through the snowy streets of the city. Inside the conveyance we see OLD SALIERI wrapped in blankets, half-conscious, being held by the hospital attendants. Doctor Gulden stares at him grimly. The wagon arrives out-side the General Hospital of Vienna.
CUT TO:
12 INT. A HOSPITAL CORRIDOR – LATE AFTERNOON 12
A wide, white-washed corridor. Doctor Gulden is walking down it with a priest, a man of about forty, concerned, but somewhat self-important. This is Father VOGLER , Chaplain at the hospital. In the corridor as they walk, we note several patients — some of them visibly disturbed mentally. All patients wear white linen smocks. Doctor Gulden wears a dark frock-coat; VOGLER , a cassock.
DOCTOR GULDEN He’s going to live. It’s much harder to cut your throat than most people imagine.
They stop outside a door.
DOCTOR GULDEN Here we are. Do you wish me to come in with you?
VOGLER No, Doctor. Thank you.
VOGLER nods and opens the door.
13 INT. OLD SALIERI ‘S HOSPITAL ROOM – LATE AFTERNOON 13
A bare room – one of the best available in the General Hospital. It contains a bed, a table with candles, chairs, a small forte-piano of the early nineteenth century. As VOGLER enters, OLD SALIERI is sitting in a wheel-chair, looking out the window. His back is to us. The priest closes the door quietly behind him.
VOGLER Herr Salieri?
OLD SALIERI turns around to look at him. We see that his throat is bandaged expertly. He wears hospital garb, and over it the Civilian Medal and Chain with which we will later see the EMPEROR invest him.
OLD SALIERI What do you want?
VOGLER I am Father VOGLER . I am a Chaplain here. I thought you might like to talk to someone.
OLD SALIERI About what?
VOGLER You tried to take your life. You do remember that, don’t you?
OLD SALIERI So?
VOGLER In the sight of God that is a sin.
OLD SALIERI What do you want?
VOGLER Do you understand that you have sinned? Gravely.
OLD SALIERI Leave me alone.
VOGLER I cannot leave alone a soul in pain.
OLD SALIERI Do you know who I am? You never heard of me, did you?
VOGLER That makes no difference. All men are equal in God’s eyes.
OLD SALIERI Are they?
VOGLER Offer me your confession. I can offer you God’s forgiveness.
OLD SALIERI I do not seek forgiveness.
VOGLER My son, there is something dreadful on your soul. Unburden it to me. I’m here only for you. Please talk to me.
OLD SALIERI How well are you trained in music?
VOGLER I know a little. I studied it in my youth.
OLD SALIERI Where?
VOGLER Here in Vienna.
OLD SALIERI Then you must know this.
He propels his wheelchair to the forte-piano, and plays an unrecognizable melody.
VOGLER I can’t say I do. What is it?
OLD SALIERI I’m surprised you don’t know. It was a very popular tune in its day. I wrote it. How about this?
He plays another tune.
OLD SALIERI This one brought down the house when we played it first.
He plays it with growing enthusiasm.
CUT TO:
14 INT. THE STAGE OF AN OPERA HOUSE – NIGHT – 1780’s 14

We see the pretty soprano KATHERINA CAVALIERI, now about twenty-four, dressed in an elaborate mythological Persian costume, singing on stage. She’s near the end of a very florid aria by Salieri. The audience applauds wildly.
15 INT. OLD SALIERI ‘S HOSPITAL ROOM – LATE AFTERNOON – 1823 15
OLD SALIERI (taking his hands off the keys)Well?
VOGLER I regret it is not too familiar.
OLD SALIERI Can you recall no melody of mine? I was the most famous composer in Europe when you were still a boy. I wrote forty operas alone. What about this little thing?
Slyly he plays the opening measure of Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. The priest nods, smiling suddenly, and hums a little with the music.
VOGLER Oh, I know that! That’s charming! I didn’t know you wrote that.
OLD SALIERI I didn’t. That was Mozart. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. You know who that is?
VOGLER Of course. The man you accuse yourself of killing.
OLD SALIERI Ah – you’ve heard that?
VOGLER All Vienna has heard that.
OLD SALIERI ( eagerly)And do they believe it?
VOGLER Is it true?
OLD SALIERI Do you believe it?
VOGLER Should I?
A very long pause. Salieri stares above the priest, seemingly lost in his own private world.
VOGLER For God’s sake, my son, if you have anything to confess, do it now! Give yourself some peace!
A further pause.
VOGLER Do you hear me?
OLD SALIERI He was murdered, Father! Mozart! Cruelly murdered.
Pause.
VOGLER (almost whispering)Yes? Did you! do it?
Suddenly OLD SALIERI turns to him, a look of extreme innocence.
OLD SALIERI He was my idol! I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know his name! When I was only fourteen he was already famous. Even in Legnago – the tiniest town in Italy – I knew of him.

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