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The Tales of Hoffmann (1951)

Not Rated | | Fantasy, Music, Musical | 13 June 1952 (USA)
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A melancholy poet reflects on three women he loved and lost in the past: a mechanical performing doll, a Venetian courtesan, and the consumptive daughter of a celebrated composer.

Writers:

(English libretto), (from the French text by) | 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
... Stella / Olympia
... Giulietta
... Antonia
Pamela Brown ... Nicklaus
... Spalanzani / Schlemil / Franz
... Lindorf / Coppelius / Dapertutto / Dr Miracle
Frederick Ashton ... Kleinsach / Cochenille
Mogens Wieth ... Crespel
Robert Rounseville ... Hoffmann
Lionel Harris ... Pitichinaccio
Philip Leaver ... Andrés
Meinhart Maur ... Luther
Edmond Audran ... Partner to Stella in Dragonfly Ballet
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Storyline

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 <steve@brainstorm.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

poet | dance | ballet | singing | dancing | See All (36) »

Taglines:

You Will Never See Anything Finer On The Screen!


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

13 June 1952 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hoffmanns Erzählungen  »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$23,340, 15 March 2015, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$90,365, 7 June 2015
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (reduced to 128 mins before release)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Michael Powell began the project after hearing Thomas Beecham playing the score on piano and singing all of the parts. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

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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Connections

Referenced in The South Bank Show: Michael Powell (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

The Tales of Hoffmann, A Fantastic Opera
Music by Jacques Offenbach
Arranged by Thomas Beecham (uncredited)
English libretto by Dennis Arundell
From the French text by Jules Barbier
Conductor: Thomas Beecham (as Sir Thomas Beecham Bart.) with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Sung by Robert Rounseville, Dorothy Bond, Margherita Grandi, Ann Ayars (as Ann Ayars), Monica Sinclair, Joan Alexander, Grahame Clifford, Bruce Dargavel, Murray Dickie, Owen Brannigan, Fisher Morgan, Rene Soames, and The Sadler's Wells Chorus
See more »

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User Reviews

 
I've never seen anything like it
4 May 2007 | by See all my reviews

"The Tales of Hoffmann" (1951) - a beautifully photographed film version of Jacques Offenbach's opera, his final masterpiece is a magic (and there is no other word to describe it) blend of Adventure / Romance / Fantasy / with an endless stream of gorgeous melodies, seductive and tender love scenes, bizarre characters - comic, romantic or villainous, and tragic climaxes. The film was a follow-up to "The Red Shoes" (1948) a fantasy/musical/romance/drama set in the world of ballet with the same directors, stars, and production designers.

In "The Tales of Hoffmann", Robert Rounsevill stars as E.T.A. (Ernst Theodore Amadeus) Hoffmann, the poet and writer who tells three stories of his great but unhappy loves all ending tragically thanks to the meddling of his enemy, a supernatural villain (Robert Helpmann as quadruple evil, Lindorf, Coppelius, Dapertutto and Dr Miracle). Objects of Hoffmann's love and admiration include Olympia the wind-up doll (Moira Shearer who also plays Stella the dancer, the fourth and yet another Hoffmann's misadventure), Giulietta, the Venetian courtesan who sails away after trying to capture Hoffmann's soul (Ludmilla Tchérina -absolutely brilliant as the siren and the seductress who elegantly walks over the dead bodies, literally), and Antonia the beautiful opera-singer with the fatal voice and deadly illness. One of the greatest choreographers and dancers of the last century, Léonide Massine shines in three absolutely different roles demonstrating his talent as a dancer, strong emotions and tremendous humor.

What makes "The Tales of Hoffmann" not just an ordinary screen adaptation but the stunning unforgettable event, the film which had inspired the future famous directors George Romero and Martin Scorsese to become the filmmakers is the perfect combination of fantasy, classical music, ballet, singing, stunning visual effects, imaginative and often bizarre and even disturbing images that would fit a horror movie (deconstructing Olympia –the doll is horrifying), incredible but calculated feast of colors, their mixture, the unique color palette to match each story, camera work that is so innovative and dynamic that even now, 56 years after the film was made, looks fresh and modern. The feast for eyes, ears, and feelings, "The Tales of Hoffmann" is the love child of incredibly talented people from different epochs and countries. The opera by Jacques Offenbach, the French composer is based on the dark romantic fairy tales by the German E.T. A. Hoffmann. The team of two directors known as "The Archers", the British Michael Powell and the Hungarian Jew Emeric Pressburger who had to flee his country before the WWII, and their international team of stars, color consultants, choreographers and production designers made this miracle happen. The last but not the least is legendary Sir Thomas Beecham conducting the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.


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