The movie centers on a piano competition whose winner is assured of success. It is Paul's last chance to compete, but newcomer Heidi may be a better pianist. Can romance be far away? Will ...
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The movie centers on a piano competition whose winner is assured of success. It is Paul's last chance to compete, but newcomer Heidi may be a better pianist. Can romance be far away? Will she take a dive despite the pressure to win from her teacher, Greta, or will she condemn Paul to obscurity?Written by
"The genesis for the film took place when [producer William] Sackheim and I almost simultaneously got the idea for a love story set against the background of a world class piano competition said director Joel Oliansky. Sackheim said: "It occurred to me that at that level, winning involved more than talent. It required dedication, fire, selfishness, tunnel vision, inexhaustible reserves of energy, perhaps most of all, competitive drive. It seems like rich source material for a movie". Oliansky agreed and characteristically began doing his homework. He spent months traveling extensively, visiting music schools and conservatories, talking with students, and attending concerts and festivals. See more »
Music for piano four-hands, that is two pianists playing at the same piano, is often printed with the two parts on different pages. The "primo" (top) is on the right pages, and the "secondo" (bottom) is on the left pages. So the two players of that Mozart sonata would not be looking at the same place. See more »
Glorious music as pianists vie for first prize in a competition
Amy Irving, Richard Dreyfuss, Lee Remick, and Sam Wanamaker star in "The Competition," a 1980 film, written and directed by Joel Oliansky. The story concerns pianists gathering for the semifinals of a competition in San Francisco. Paul Dietrich (Dreyfuss) has one last shot at a career as a pianist, given his age, and the fact that his parents have been supporting him, and his dad is in bad shape. Heidi (Irving) knew Paul from a summer program. She studies with a top teacher, Greta Vandeman (Remick) and is there basically to see how far she can go. Despite Paul's attempts to put off the smitten Heidi, he finally admits his feelings, and the two fall in love. Greta isn't happy - she's afraid Heidi is going to lose her competitive edge and take a back seat so that Paul can win.
This very good movie is just about overshadowed by the brilliant music and the magnificent fingerings and look of the actors as they're playing. They obviously had the benefit of great coaching.
The film gives a realistic look at the tension of competitions, and the various states of mind that people have going into them. For Paul, it's his last shot; the Joseph Cali character wants to use it as a steppingstone to Vegas and a Liberace-type act; Heidi has nothing to lose. There is a lot of psychoanalysis throughout the film, which some may find off-putting. It does go on.
Amy Irving is an excellent actress, and she does a beautiful job here. Dreyfuss is also excellent, coming off as desperate, arrogant, and sad. Lee Remick is the ultimate piano teacher who knows too well the pitfalls of being a woman, particularly a woman in love.
If you like classical piano, don't miss "The Competition."
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