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The Tales of Hoffmann (1951)

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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:

Dennis Arundell (English libretto), Jules Barbier (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:
Moira Shearer ... Stella / Olympia
Ludmilla Tchérina ... Giulietta
Ann Ayars ... Antonia
Pamela Brown Pamela Brown ... Nicklaus
Léonide Massine ... Spalanzani / Schlemil / Franz
Robert Helpmann ... Lindorf / Coppelius / Dapertutto / Dr Miracle
Frederick Ashton Frederick Ashton ... Kleinsach / Cochenille
Mogens Wieth Mogens Wieth ... Crespel
Robert Rounseville Robert Rounseville ... Hoffmann
Lionel Harris Lionel Harris ... Pitichinaccio
Philip Leaver Philip Leaver ... Andrés
Meinhart Maur Meinhart Maur ... Luther
Edmond Audran 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 (37) »

Taglines:

You Will Never See Anything Finer On The Screen!


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 June 1952 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Los cuentos de Hoffman See more »

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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 IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (reduced to 128 mins before release)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A 4K digital restoration has been made by Martin Scorsese's Film Foundation. This includes some scenes that were missing from recent prints and an unseen section introducing the actors and singers. Like the other restorations they have done of Michael Powell's and Emeric Pressburger's films, this isn't just a new print. They went back to the original material, digitized and cleaned up every frame and the optical soundtrack (for a three-strip Technicolor film, that's three frames for every frame you see on screen). Then they put them all back together, checking the registration and restoring the old Technicolor look and feel. This restored version was premiered at the 2014 Venice Film Festival and has since been shown at the Lyons and London Film Festivals, followed by other festivals and cinema screenings around the world. There will also be a DVD/Blu-ray release. See more »

Goofs

During Olympia's song, Moira Shearer isn't miming for quite lengthy sections - as she is pirouetting quite fast in some of these sections, it is understandable that she'd want to concentrate on her balance. 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.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The complete 138-minute version was available in 16mm black and white early television prints. The complete 138-minute version was also available in 16mm Kodachrome (color) rental prints. The complete 138-minute soundtrack was available for many years on LP (London Records). See more »

Connections

Referenced in Goodfellas (1990) 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

 
Breathtaking Total Theater.
23 November 2005 | by punch0555See all my reviews

Rational? I cannot be rational about this mad cinematic gem. I was spellbound as a child watching it over and over again on the Million Dollar Movie (on B&W TV, no less!) Like Martin Scorcese's mother, mine too would call from the kitchen (when I was sneaking yet another look) "Turn that off! You watched it yesterday and the day before. Now we've heard enough of that thing!"

Run, do not walk, to purchase the newly released Criterion DVD. It is worth every penny. Never has the color been so lush and the detail so finally delineated. And I know, I have pursued (rare) showings of this film nearly all my 50 years. If you think you've seen Hoffman before, wait until you see this!


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