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The Tales of Hoffmann Details


Most baby-boomers are familiar with the Powell-Pressburger production of the Offenbach opera Pressburger only through the full-color stills from the film which were reproduced in the "Motion Picture" section of The World Book Encyclopedia. If this is your only memory of the film, we advise you to seek out a copy of this lengthy but visually enthralling picture as soon as possible. Metropolitan opera star Robert Rounseville plays Hoffman, a university student who is spectacularly unlucky in affairs of the heart. Each of his love affairs with Olympia (Moira Shearer), Giulietta (Ludmilla Tcherina) and Antonia (Ann Ayars) is doomed to failure due to circumstances far beyond our hero's control (Olympia, for example, turns out to be nothing more than a life-sized mechanical doll). As in the previous Powell-Pressburger collaboration The Red Shoes, the film's best moments are its ballet sequences, choreographed by Jane Ashton. Offenbach's score is given a splendid rendition by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, under the baton of the legendary Sir Thomas Beecham. Most prints of Pressburger run 118 minutes, eliminating the closing "Tale of Antonia" sequence; the laserdisc version has been restored to 127 minutes, while the search goes on for the complete 138-minute negative. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

  • Release date:April 4, 1951


Moira Shearer
as Stella
Robert Rounseville
as Hoffmann
Pamela Brown
as Nicklaus
Frederick Ashton
as Kleinzack
Meinhart Maur
as Luther
Richard Golding
as Hermann
Philip Leaver
as Andreas
Lionel Harris
as Pitichinaccio [The Tale Of Giulietta]
Ann Ayars
as Antonia [The Tale Of Antonia]
Mogens Wieth
as Crespel [The Tale Of Antonia]
Frederick Ashton
as Cochenille [The Tale Of Olympia]
Owen Brannigan
as Singer
Monica Sinclair
as Singer
Jean Alexander
as Mother [The Tale of Antonia]
Dorothy Bond
as Singer


Emeric Pressburger
Michael Powell
Michael Powell
Emeric Pressburger
Emeric Pressburger
Dennis Arundell
Michael Powell
Christopher G. Challis
Jacques Offenbach
From Opera by
Arthur Lawson
Production Designer
Ivy Baker
Costume Designer
Freddie Francis
Camera Operator

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