Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Classic "Tales Of Hoffmann" Film Gets New Life With 4K Restoration

Back in October 2014, it was revealed in the UK that the famous 1951 film The Tales of Hoffmann, by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, was to be restored with an astonishing new 4K technique. "The Tales of Hoffmann: Revealed afresh in this remarkable Technicolor restoration, Powell and Pressburger’s 1951 musical phantasmagoria is the stuff of beautiful nightmares. Prepare to be astonished by the audacity and inventiveness of Powell and Pressburger’s dazzling take on Jacques Offenbach’s 1881 opera. Drawing on some of the greatest film, music and dance talents of the period, they transform it into a musical phantasmagoria. This revelatory 4K restoration (containing previously unseen footage) from the original 3-strip Technicolor negative unleashes feverish colours straight from the candy box: a cacophony of clashing yellows and purples as disturbing as they are enchanting. Out of this decadent world of surreal, sensual delights Ludmilla Tchérina seduces us as a 19th-century dominatrix ; a menacing chorus of pan-sexual mannequins appear to have raided the dressing-up box of Marc Bolan and, most unsettling of all, there’s the image of Moira Shearer’s dismembered head as it blinks back at us." [Source] Maybe next up for restoration will be Michael Powell's 1963 adaptation of Bartók's opera Bluebeard's Castle! Watch the HD trailer for the restored film The Tales of Hoffmann, see more details of the film including the full cast and synopsis, and look at more than twenty gorgeous movie stills, after the jump.

Directors Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Producers Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Screenwriters Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
With Moira Shearer, Robert Rounseville, Ludmilla Tchérina
UK 1951
138 mins
UK distribution STUDIOCANAL

Restored 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, a unique partnership between the Directors Guild of America (DGA); the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA); the Société des Auteurs, Compositeurs et Editeurs de Musique (SACEM); and the Writers Guild of America West (WGAW), The Film Foundation, and the Louis B. Mayer Foundation.

Moira Shearer...Stella / Olympia
Ludmilla Tchérina...Giulietta
Ann Ayars...Antonia
Pamela Brown...Nicklaus
Léonide Massine...Spalanzani/Schlemil/Franz
Robert Helpmann...Lindorf/Coppelius/Dapertutto/Dr Miracle
Frederick Ashton...Kleinsach/Cochenille
Mogens Wieth...Crespel
Robert Rounseville...Hoffmann
Lionel Harris...Pitichinaccio
Philip Leaver...Andrés
Meinhart Maur...Luther

"This a film version of the opera The Tales of Hoffmann, however it is NOT just a film of a staged performance. Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger (and the rest of 'The Archers') work their usual magic here. The opera dramatises the three great romances in the life of the poet-hero presented in a series of flashbacks. Hoffmann's tales depict the struggle between human love and the artist's dedication to his work. Hoffmann loses each of the women he loves but gains instead poetic inspiration -- the ability to transform painful experiences into art." [Source]


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