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    This is being billed as "The untold love story of Ludwig Van Beethoven." What we are not being told is that the story is pure fabrication, written and directed by Bernard Rose.

    Over the years I've seen a number of films about the life of probably the greatest composer of all time, from Abel Gance's (1937) (the same Gance who did the memorable NAPOLEON) to the 1985 BETHOVEN'S NEPHEW but never has anyone taken the liberty, the licence to invent a biography such as IMMORTAL BELOVED.

    No place does it say it is a documentary but to throw in unsubstantiated nonsense as part of a biography is shameful. No one knows to whom Beethoven dedicated several of his pieces but director- writer Rose let his imagination soar so that Beethoven's nephew (his brother's son) turns out to be Ludwig's son. Hah! That's a new one on me.

    That is not my only complaint. There is lots of great music and with Sony Digital Sound it is great. But no one seemed to relate the visual portion of the film to the music being played. When Ludwig, who had dedicated his third symphony (Eroica) to Napoleon and then eradicated the honor when he discovered Napoleon was just another military dictator on a land grab, the music playing in the background is the 5th Symphony, not the 3rd, or my ears have also gone deaf.

    When the wonderful 9th is soaring, some of the visuals show kids punching at each other on a dark street. Was that Rose's interpretation of Heine's lyrics?

    I cannot believe any of the above and will force myself to see it again. But the inane story and the poor choice of the visuals accompanying the music are simply awful. Maybe when I've had time to see it again I'l review it to be sure everything I've written above is true.

    Gary Oldman is subdued as Ludwig. Others in the cast include Jeroen Krabbe who tries to find out to whom Beethoven left a dedication "To My Immortal Beloved"; also Isabella Rosselini, Johanna Ter Steege and Velerina Golino.

    Copyright 1994 Ben Hoffman

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