The Tales of Hoffmann
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Most baby-boomers are familiar with the Powell-Pressburger production of the Offenbach opera Tales of Hoffman only through the full-color stills from the film which were reproduced in the "Motion Picture" section of The World Book Encyclopedia. If this is your only memory of the film, we advise you to seek out a copy of this lengthy but visually enthralling picture as soon as possible. Metropolitan opera star Robert Rounseville plays Hoffman, a university student who is spectacularly unlucky in affairs of the heart. Each of his love affairs with Olympia (Moira Shearer), Giulietta… More
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 81%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"One of the most completely realized marriages of color, movement, and music in the medium's history."
‑ Donna Bowman, AV Club
"A lush, resplendent production that's a treat to eye and ear."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"While the dizzying array of design elements and magnificent vocal performances is impressive, 138 minutes is just too long to keep the interest of any but the pure opera devotee."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"For all the spectacle, it is more abstract than involving and the film never pumps with the blood of romantic passion that flows through so many Powell movies."
‑ Sean Axmaker, Turner Classic Movies Online
"Eye candy for aesthetes."
‑ Jeremiah Kipp, Slant Magazine
"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."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"It sates the senses without striking any real dramatic fire."
‑ Bosley Crowther, New York Times
"Lavishly mounted with some of the same actors of The Red Shoes, this filmed operetta is more impressive in its production design (Oscar nominated) than emotional impact."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"... a truly sumptuous opera--one of cinema's best efforts."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"An unusual, magical, cinematically brilliant movie that deserves to be seen."
‑ Keith H. Brown, Edinburgh U Film Society
"As intensely expressionistic as any film since Caligari, and at the same time a veritable nova of springtime élan, the movie inhabits a unique puppet-theater universe, and could seduce a eunuch."
‑ Michael Atkinson, Village Voice
"Sumptuous spectacle."
‑ Geoff Andrew, Time Out
"As with The Red Shoes, the Archers achieve a truly amazing fantasy world, almost like a cartoon in which anything is possible."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
"The result is a testament to both [Powell and Pressburger's] creativity and the inherent limitations of trying to transform one medium into another."
‑ James Kendrick, Q Network Film Desk
More reviews for The Tales of Hoffmann on Rotten Tomatoes