Introduction by Annie Baker

In some ways an artistic “sequel” to The Red Shoes, The Tales of Hoffmann is Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s 1951 version of French composer Jacques Offenbach’s 1881 opera, which in turn was adapted from three stories by the late 18th–early 19th century German author E.T.A. Hoffmann. Where the earlier film features a narrative set in motion by music and dance, The Tales of Hoffmann is a pure opera, a film composed entirely of music, dance, color, light, rhythm—and pure fancy. Powell and Pressburger assembled a spectacular team for the project: Sir Thomas Beecham conducted the Royal Philharmonic; Moira Shearer, Ludmilla Tchérina, Robert Helpmann, and Léonide Massine (all of whom also appear in The Red Shoes) danced principal roles along with the choreographer Frederick Ashton; Robert Rounseville played Hoffmann and sang; Hein Heckroth was the production designer and Christopher Challis the cinematographer. A Rialto Pictures release.