4 items from 2015
Ron Moody as Fagin in 'Oliver!' based on Charles Dickens' 'Oliver Twist.' Ron Moody as Fagin in Dickens musical 'Oliver!': Box office and critical hit (See previous post: "Ron Moody: 'Oliver!' Actor, Academy Award Nominee Dead at 91.") Although British made, Oliver! turned out to be an elephantine release along the lines of – exclamation point or no – Gypsy, Star!, Hello Dolly!, and other Hollywood mega-musicals from the mid'-50s to the early '70s. But however bloated and conventional the final result, and a cast whose best-known name was that of director Carol Reed's nephew, Oliver Reed, Oliver! found countless fans. The mostly British production became a huge financial and critical success in the U.S. at a time when star-studded mega-musicals had become perilous – at times downright disastrous – ventures. Upon the American release of Oliver! in Dec. 1968, frequently acerbic The »
- Andre Soares
By Mark Cerulli
The 1951 film The Tales of Hoffmann, the acclaimed British adaptation of the opera by Jaques Offenbach, was an early influence on major directors like Cecil B. DeMille, George Romero (who said it was “the movie that made me want to make movies”) and Martin Scorsese. They were drawn to co-directors, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressberger’s inventive camera work, vibrant color palette (each of the three acts has its own primary color) and smooth blending of film, dance and music. According to an interview found on Powell-Pressburger.org, Powell wanted to do a “composed film” – shot entirely to a pre-recorded music track, in this case, Offenbach’s opera. Not having to worry about sound meant he could remove the cumbersome padding that encased every Technicolor camera and really move it around production designer Hein Heckroth’s soaring sets. (Heckroth’s work on the film earned him two 1952 Oscar nominations. »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Cinema Retro)
The Tales of Hoffmann, 1951.
An opera, Hoffmann tells of his romantic history with three beautiful women; Olympia, Giulietta and Antonia
“I have to say”, says director Michael Powell prior to working on The Tales of Hoffmann, “I didn’t know much about the opera”. That makes both of us Mr Powell. On Extended Run at the BFI this month is the Technicolor triptych-narrative, The Tales of Hoffmann. Released in 1951, this was made three years after Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s celebrated masterpiece The Red Shoes. Rather than incorporating dance into a story, Powell and Pressburger decided to adapt a full performance in its entirety, presenting an epic story of romance, lost-love and tragedy.
In the interval of a ballet, Hoffmann (Robert Rounseville) regales a crowd with talk of his previous exploits. Drunkenly holding court, »
- Simon Columb
“Made in England” is how Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger finally stamped their unworldly, otherworldly Tales of Hoffmann from 1951, an adaptation of the Jacques Offenbach opera, which is now on rerelease. It actually negated English and British cinema’s reputation for stolid realism. This is a hothouse flower of pure orchidaceous strangeness, enclosed in the studio’s artificial universe, fusing cinema, opera and ballet. It is sensual, macabre, dreamlike and enigmatic: like Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. In his autobiography, Powell recalls talking to a United Artists executive after the New York premiere, who said to him, wonderingly: “Micky, I wish it were possible to make films like that … ” A revealing choice of words. It was as if »
- Peter Bradshaw
4 items from 2015
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