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This a film version of the opera "The Tales of Hoffmann", however it is NOT just a film of a staged performance. 'Michael Powell' & Emeric Pressburger (and the rest of "The Archers") work their usual magic here. The opera dramatises the three great romances in the life of the poet-hero presented in a series of flashbacks. Hoffmann's tales depict the struggle between human love and the artist's dedication to his work. Hoffmann loses each of the women he loves but gains instead poetic inspiration -- the ability to transform painful experiences into art. Written by
Steve Crook <email@example.com>
Antonia's island bears a strong resemblance to the island in the painting "Isle of the Dead" by Swiss symbolist artist Arnold Böcklin (1827-1901). See more »
Giulietta's necklace is turned from jewels to wax by Dapertutto, however, in a longer shot, it is briefly shown as jewels again, before a close-up, where it is wax again until Dapertutto changes it back to jewels. See more »
Chorus of Students:
Some drink, drink, drink, drink, drink: do you hear us about? You lazy lout! We want some beer; we want some wine! Pour out the wine, and drink and drink till morning. Pour out the wine for drinking is divine. It is divine. We want some beer; we want some wine. We want some beer; we want some wine.
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TALES OF Hoffman Powell & Pressburger This colorful film adaptation of an by Offenbach is a musical in the truest sense, meaning every bit of narrative and dialog is put forth by means of song. I am not in general the biggest fan of such endeavors, but it works quite well for this film, although some of the love paeans may be outstaying their welcome.
In the story a poet Hoffman tells in episodic fashion about the many times that he has loved and lost. There have been several films made with such a theme but Hoffman stands well apart because of the Goth-fantastic nature of the narratives. Hoffman, in turn, falls in love with Olympia - a puppet, Guiletta - the temptress of a soul-stealing demon, and Antonia - a singer doomed by fatal consumptive illness.
This narrative is complemented by the brilliantly supportive artistic design of the film. The makers construct a deliberate stage-like ambiance, with the use of representative backdrops, suitably exaggerated props and striking motifs to convey the settings and moods of the various episodes. In this aspect it shares strong kinship with Masaki Kobayashi's period ghost story anthology Kwaidan. You also have the concept of the same actor returning to play different parts in the various episodes of Hoffman's life, the most notable of which is Robert Helpmann who portrays the sinister element in all the episodes (and with his vampiric menacing look, does a terrific job of it, although his motive for evil in the Antonia episode goes unexplained).
The fantastic elements of the plot, color-drenched distinctive look, intricate balletic choreography and excellent fit of all the actors in their roles make Tales of Hoffman a very interesting watching experience on the whole.
One of my caveats with the film is that Hoffman's companion Nicklaus is never properly explained. Who is this woman in man's garb and why is she doing what she does?
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