Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger
The Tales of Hoffmann has been beautifully restored in 4k by The Film Foundation, supervised by Martin Scorsese, Thelma Schoonmaker and Ned Price. Newly discovered sequences from Act Three and the Epilogue, which were missing from previously released versions of the film, were found in the nitrate material held at the BFI and put back into the film as the directors, Michael Powell & Emerich Pressburger, originally intended. Based on Jacques Offenbach’s opera of the stories of romantic poet E.T.A. Hoffmann, The Tales of Hoffmann gave regular collaborators Powell and 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 Tchérina) and soprano Antonia (Ann Ayars) is doomed to failure due to circumstances far beyond our hero’s control. A lavish cinematic fantasy of technicolor, music and dance, the entire film is shaped around Offenbach’s original score, pre-recorded by The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, under the baton of the legendary conductor Sir Thomas Beecham.
The Tales of Hoffmann is a visual and sonic masterpiece that stands the test of time and a critical darling that won the 1951 Special Award® at the 1951 Cannes Film Festival.
A brand new 4k restoration by The Film Foundation and the BFI National Archive in association with Studiocanal. Restoration funding provided by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the Franco-American Cultural Fund, The Film Foundation, and the Louis B. Mayer Foundation.