Paul Dietrich, at almost 30 years old, is a fading piano prodigy. Heidi Schoonover is a talented young pianist with a promising future. When Paul hears of an upcoming competition that could make his career, he dedicates himself to winning.
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 link between music and temperament determined the six concerti which the finalists would perform. The selection, including Concerto #5 in E Flat Major, Opus 73, "The Emperor" by Beethoven (Dreyfuss), Piano Concerto #3 in C Major, Opus 26 by Prokofiev (Irving), Concerto 4f1 in E Flat Major by Lizst (Stern), Concerto #1 in E Minor, Opus 11 by Chopin (Henderson), Concerto #1 in D Minor, Opus 15 by Brahms (Kreigler) and Concerto #2 in G Minor, Opus 22 by St. Saens (Cali), was made by musical director Lalo Schifrin who then took on the monumental task of abridging each work. See more »
Greta, a legendary pianist, mentions the "una corda" pedal, but pronounces it "yoo-na kor-da". This is not the proper way and any musician knows it is "oo-na", not "yoo-na". See more »
Nobody looks that good in direct sunlight, so it's not like you're such a knockout.
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ABC edited 31 minutes from this film for its 1985 network television premiere 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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