The Tales of Hoffmann

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 88%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 74%
IMDb Rating 7.4 10 2


Downloaded 15,462 times
April 11, 2019



Moira Shearer as Victoria Page
Robert Helpmann as Bishop of Ely
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
875.36 MB
23.976 fps
128 min
P/S N/A / N/A
1.95 GB
23.976 fps
128 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Ravenus 7 / 10 / 10

A grand artistic vision

TALES OF Hoffman – Powell & Pressburger This colorful film adaptation of an by Offenbach is a musical in the truest sense, meaning every bit of narrative and dialog is put forth by means of song. I am not in general the biggest fan of such endeavors, but it works quite well for this film, although some of the love paeans may be outstaying their welcome. In the story a poet – Hoffman – tells in episodic fashion about the many times that he has loved and lost. There have been several films made with such a theme but Hoffman stands well apart because of the Goth-fantastic nature of the narratives. Hoffman, in turn, falls in love with Olympia - a puppet, Guiletta - the temptress of a soul-stealing demon, and Antonia - a singer doomed by fatal consumptive illness. This narrative is complemented by the brilliantly supportive artistic design of the film. The makers construct a deliberate stage-like ambiance, with the use of representative backdrops, suitably exaggerated props and striking motifs to convey the settings and moods of the various episodes. In this aspect it shares strong kinship with Masaki Kobayashi's period ghost story anthology Kwaidan. You also have the concept of the same actor returning to play different parts in the various episodes of Hoffman's life, the most notable of which is Robert Helpmann who portrays the sinister element in all the episodes (and with his vampiric menacing look, does a terrific job of it, although his motive for evil in the Antonia episode goes unexplained). The fantastic elements of the plot, color-drenched distinctive look, intricate balletic choreography and excellent fit of all the actors in their roles make Tales of Hoffman a very interesting watching experience on the whole. One of my caveats with the film is that Hoffman's companion Nicklaus is never properly explained. Who is this woman in man's garb and why is she doing what she does?

Reviewed by tomgillespie2002 7 / 10 / 10

An acquired taste, but there is nothing else quite like it

Michael Powell, the great under-appreciated British film director mainly recognised for his work alongside Hungarian Emeric Pressburger, spent most of his early career working towards the perfect marriage of the power of operatic music and the visual splendour of cinema. This can be glimpsed in the masterpieces Black Narcissus (1947), The Red Shoes (1948), and to a certain degree, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1949), but it wasn't until 1951 that he completed his ultimate goal. With The Tales of Hoffmann, an adaptation of Jacques Offenbach's flamboyant opera, Powell and Pressburger achieved what no other film has succeeded in doing since: bringing the opera to life on screen and infusing it with all the colour and vibrancy of cinema. Martin Scorsese, an lifelong admirer of P & P, recently oversaw a 4K remastering of the movie; the perfect medium to take in this lavish picture. Staying true to the structure of Offenbach's vision, The Tales of Hoffmann comes with a prologue, epilogue, and three central acts all centred around the past loves of man-of-the-world Hoffmann (Robert Rounseville). As a stage performance featuring his current love plays out in the background, Hoffmann tells an eager group of friends of three women he has loved and lost. The first act, which is the brightest and most farcical, sees him duped into loving an automaton called Olympia (played by the beautiful Moira Shearer) by a pair of magical glasses that seemingly bring inanimate objects to life. The second act takes place in a hellish Venice, where an evil magician promises his courtesan Giulietta (Ludmilla Tcherina) expensive jewellery in exchange for her seduction of Hoffmann and the theft of his shadow. In the third and final act, Hoffmann falls for Antonia (Ann Ayars), a soprano suffering from a mysterious illness that forbids her to sing. The disregard for traditional cinematic narrative structure means that The Tales of Hoffmann is certainly an acquired taste, but there is also nothing else quite like it. Backed by a thumping score from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under Sir Thomas Beecham and brought to life with ravishing set and costume design by Hein Heckroth (who was Oscar nominated twice for the film), Hoffmann is a treat for all the senses. It's particularly adored by filmmakers, with Cecil DeMille voicing his admiration for the film, and George A. Romero stating it to be his favourite movie of all time and the reason he wanted to become a director. There are also fine performances throughout, in particular Moira Shearer, who I fell head over heels for in The Red Shoes, and Robert Helpmann, the Child Catcher himself, who plays Hoffmann's nemesis in all the stories. Only Rounseville and Ayars perform their own vocals, but the film is graceful enough to reward the vocalists by a credits sequence that sees both singers and performers take a bow.

Reviewed by gavin6942 7 / 10 / 10

Opera Come to Life!

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. Although I am not an opera fan by any stretch of the imagination, I have to admire this film. The vibrant colors in a time before color was common, the makeup, costumes, camera angles and tricks to create a world of dreams. One would think this would be near the top of many classic lists, but it does not seem to be... in fact, it was not even one of the first Michael Powell films I saw. Not even close. What surprised me the most was actually not the film itself, but the fact George A. Romero praises it on the Criterion disc. That is quite a strange thing. Not that Romero is a fan of the film -- that makes some deal of sense. But the fact Criterion thought to track him down for the release? How did that come about?

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