Link: The Magic Flute
Summary: Mozart’s famous opera as a film.
Thoughts: This famous opera of Mozart features some of Mozart’s best music, melodic and fantastical, even though it accompanies Shikaneder’s lame boring story (if the guy was alive today, there’s no way he’d make it as a fantasy writer, and if it weren’t for Mozart’s music in this opera, he’d be mostly forgotten). It was interesting to hear the lyrics in English, which made the story easier to follow.
Unfortunately, the fantastical story seems to make even less sense in whatever strange World War I setting the director was going for, and the end result is just bizzarre. The film is complete with wacky visuals, including a marching orchestra playing the overture on a battlefield, a closeup of a singer’s mouth to make it look as if the tanks in the background are being created by her voice, floating giant woman lips in green fields to which Papageno sings, and sandbags of the trench walls singing an English version of the second act’s “Der, Welcher Wandelt Diese Strasse”. But, as strange as it all may sound, this is better than most visual stage interpretations of this wild opera, especially any version that features Papageno in a feather costume, because that’s just disturbing (for which I blame hack-librettist Emanuel Shikaneder, who obviously wrote Papageno’s role so that he had an excuse to dress up in feathers).
Overall, this was a very weird film. But really Mozart’s genius score makes everything OK.