Sunday, November 19, 2006

He did no harm to anyone

This article discusses movies about Beethoven and ponders why none have ever been made that approach the popularity of Amadeus.

Well, I neither know nor care anything about that, but I find it interesting that Beethoven's music has been used by characters in at least two of the more interesting films about violence to help put them in the mood for mayhem. Most famously, little Alex in A Clockwork Orange uses Beethoven's music to get up for a bit of the old ultra-violence.

And in a pivotal scene in Gus Van Sant's Elephant, a different violence obsessed Alex plays a haunting version of Fur Elise that serves as a surreally appropriate soundtrack for a killing spree.

So what is it about Ludwin Van that causes great filmakers to associate his music with violence? Beethoven looks like a maniac. There's some weirdness in his biography, particularly regarding his nephew Karl. Maybe there is something real there? Maybe that's the hook soemone needs to make a great Beethoven movie? Make him a psychotic killer, call it A Score for Violence and dig up Steve Railsback to play him.