Tales of Hoffmann, The | Chicago Reader

Tales of Hoffmann, The

Hard to take, despite the clear personal commitment of director Michael Powell and the enormous amount of talent on display in the photography, set design, and choreography (1951). Powell had made The Red Shoes five years earlier; here he was clearly hoping to expand the style of the final ballet segment into feature length. But without dramatic grounding Powell's voluptuous visuals seem empty, and his manic inventiveness operates in a void. Still, Offenbach's opera does serve Powell's themes remarkably well, and the film has its articulate defenders. Co-directed by Emeric Pressburger. With Robert Rounseville, Robert Helpmann, Pamela Brown, Moira Shearer, and Frederick Ashton.

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