The Tales of Hoffmann

Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger create a phantasmagoric marriage of cinema and opera in this one-of-a-kind take on a classic story. In Jacques Offenbach’s fantasy opera The Tales of Hoffmann, a poet dreams of three women—a mechanical performing doll, a bejeweled siren, and the consumptive daughter of a famous composer—all of whom break his heart in different ways. Powell and Pressburger’s feverishly romantic adaptation is a feast of music, dance, and visual effects, and one of the most exhilarating opera films ever produced.

Film Info

Special Features

SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer
  • Audio commentary by director Martin Scorsese and film music historian Bruce Eder
  • New video interview with director George A. Romero
  • The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (1956), a short musical film directed by Michael Powell, based on the Goethe story
  • Rare collection of production designer Hein Heckroth’s design sketches and paintings
  • Gallery of archival production and publicity photographs
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Plus: a new essay by film historian Ian Christie
    Cover based on a theatrical poster by Hein Heckroth

Purchase Options

Special Features

SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer
  • Audio commentary by director Martin Scorsese and film music historian Bruce Eder
  • New video interview with director George A. Romero
  • The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (1956), a short musical film directed by Michael Powell, based on the Goethe story
  • Rare collection of production designer Hein Heckroth’s design sketches and paintings
  • Gallery of archival production and publicity photographs
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Plus: a new essay by film historian Ian Christie
    Cover based on a theatrical poster by Hein Heckroth
The Tales of Hoffmann
Cast
Robert Rounseville
Hoffmann
Moira Shearer
Stella/His Ladylove/Olympia
Pamela Brown
Nicklaus
Edmond Audran
Cancer
Robert Helpmann
Councillor Lindorf/Coppelius/Dapertutto/Dr. Miracle
Meinhart Maur
Luther
Frederick Ashton
Kleinzach/Cochenille
Philip Leaver
Andreas
John Ford
Nathaniel
Léonide Massine
Spalanzani/Schlemil/Franz
Alan Carter
Bank clerk
Ludmilla Tchérina
Giulietta
Lionel Harris
Pitichinaccio
Ann Ayars
Antonia
Mogens Wieth
Crespel
Credits
Director
Michael Powell
Written, produced, and directed by
Michael Powell
Based on the opera by
Jacques Offenbach
English libretto by
Dennis Arundell
Musical director
Sir Thomas Beecham
Written, produced, and directed by
Emeric Pressburger
Cinematography
Christopher Challis
Art director
Arthur Lawson
Editing
Reginald Mills
Associate producer
George Busby
Assistant director
Sydney Streeter
Choreography
Frederick Ashton
Assistant choreographers
Alan Carter
Assistant choreographers
Joan Harris
Recorded by
Ted Drake
Camera operator
Freddie Francis
Production design
Hein Heckroth
Director
Emeric Pressburger

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Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger

Writer, Producer, Director

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Though The Red Shoes is possibly the most popular and visually entrancing dance film of all time, the producing, directing, and writing team of the British Michael Powell and the Hungarian Emeric Pressburger created numerous other odes to the power of art and the imagination, always going against the realist strain of British cinema. Known by the name of their production company, the Archers, Powell and Pressburger forged a working alliance that lasted from the late thirties to the early seventies, and from the anti-Nazi propaganda of 49th Parallel and the astoundingly designed and edited epic The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp to the erotic, magical excesses of A Canterbury Tale, I Know Where I’m Going!, Black Narcissus, and The Tales of Hoffmann. The duo were never as successful on their own as with each other, though Powell’s controversial Peeping Tom remains one of the most subversive and disturbing films ever made.