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What exactly is it that a conductor does?

I'm watching the movie "The Hidden Face". (seriously great movie). The primary actor is a conductor. What exactly is it that a conductor does? All of the orchestra has the music, so each should know their part. I'm confused as to why the conductor is considered such a genius, unless he/she is the author of the music and has a certain way of interpreting it. Even so, I don't get it. Forgive my ignorance. But please explain.
Thank you.

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    Dec 10 2012: What the conductor brings most importantly to the music is his or her…..ear, physically as well as creatively. Without the conductor's ear how would the individuals of the orchestra know exactly how loud to play, or when just the slightest hesitation before playing works better for the overall experience? If you've never sat in the orchestra pit or with the musicians it may be hard to understand how important it is to have the perspective of the audience to guide your playing.

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