Theatrical Release Date: TBC
Home Ent. Release Date: 02 Sep 2007
Cert: Not Rated
Based on Jacques Offenbach's opera of the stories of romantic poet E.T.A. Hoffmann, The Tales of Hoffmann gave close collaborators Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger another opportunity to eschew realism and celebrate artifice and creativity. Metropolitan opera star Robert Rounseville plays Hoffmann, a university student who is spectacularly unlucky in affairs of the heart. Each of his love affairs with Olympia (Moira Shearer), an animated doll, Venetian courtesan Giulietta (Ludmilla Tcherina) and singer’s daughter Antonia (Ann Ayars) is doomed to failure due to circumstances far beyond our hero's control. In Black Narcissus, Powell had worked closely with composer Brian Easdale to create an extended sequence in which sound and image were intimately intertwined. The ballet sequences of The Red Shoes offered an obvious arena into which to continue this experiment, culminating in The Tales of Hoffmann, in which the entire film is shaped by Offenbach’s score, given a rousing rendition by The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, under the baton of the legendary Sir Thomas Beecham. The choreography, courtesy of Jane Ashton is equally inspired, resulting in a charming fantasy that’s a triumph of design and a sumptuous feast for the senses.