It's a Glittering Guest List, Not Mostly Mozart, That Makes Amadeus a Hollywood Hit

updated 09/24/1984 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/24/1984 AT 01:00 AM EDT

That impish pair, Mr. and Mrs. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, made their entrance hand in hand, as a 12-piece string orchestra featuring an antique harpsichord played and a crowd of partygoers shouted, "Bravo! Bravo!" Then the stars of Amadeus, Tom Hulce and Elizabeth Berridge, strolled triumphantly past statues of gilded cherubs and tables overflowing with oysters, caviar and tiered cakes, while crystal chandeliers sparkled above.

The occasion was the film's premiere gala on Sept. 6; the setting was an enormous tent, set up in an L.A. parking lot and decorated like a Viennese palace. Before the $50,000 party, the movie was screened for a
star-studded audience that included Amadeus director Milos Forman, Jane Fonda, Barbra Streisand, Cher, Neil Diamond and Shirley MacLaine. Most reviews were raves. "The film was even richer, more resonant and extraordinary than the play," declared Michael York, as a waiter in a powdered wig and blue velvet knickers sidled up with a tray of sloshing champagne. Even such non-noted music lovers as Susan (Emerald Point N.A.S.) Dey loved it. Like some stars, she saw the story of Antonio Salieri, the moderately talented, jealous court composer who tries to kill Mozart's career—if not Mozart himself—as a metaphor for Hollywood greed. Noted Dey grimly, "It is absolutely the story of this town."

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