The Tales of Hoffman

The Tales of Hoffman : a screencap review.


Is a Self Indulgent 1950 Technicolor cine ballet based on the Jacques Offenbach opera about the three loves of Hoffman. The opera itself, never performed when Offenbach was alive, underwent transformations and was performed with and without the Giulietta act (for length considerations) at the opera comique, Paris (first in  1880).



Hoffman the poet.


The opera discusses affairs with four women in his life, which are really about his quest for a one unreachable idealized love..


Stella , the prima donna of the local ballet           Olympia, a mechanical doll from paris



(who sends him a love note, that never      dances a mean ballet , but othervice needs the army

reaches him,)                                              of her family, and her inventor to animate her.



Giulietta, a courtesan from Venice                     Antonia, a consumptive(TB) daughter

 of a dead Greek Opera singer



who is in league with the devil to steal Hoffman’s    whose ambition (fuelled by ghosts of her

image,                                                                      mother and her out of touch ,

                                                                                conductor father  push her over the edge.



Hoffman’s quest for love leaves him feeling like a clown in the prescence of a goddess.




And there are characters running interference in each of these episodes. 




There’s Lindroff Copelius,          Hoffman’s muse


Rich and powerful nemasis, familiar with          She watches smiling, but not helping because she

all hoffman’s  motivations                               wants hoffman  for herself…for poetry.


Antonia’s Mother’s Ghost        and there’s Spalanzani the inventor of the

                                               Olympia doll.


 Who drives her sick  daughter to death                Who creates and destroys the Olympia  .

 from ambition                                               illusion for money

Hoffman himself comes across as a tragicomic bundle of weakness who never could stand up to Copelius, his nemesis even if he wanted to, and as someone unable to possess his love within himself, distracted as he is by the poetic charms of his various idealizations outside of himself. (Think…suckaaaaa!).




Idealizations his heroines are never quite able to live upto, for which they, and he, suffer bad consequences.


The Powell and Pressburger version creates  phantasmagorical sets and Strong supporting charecters and inadequately fleshed out protagonists , creating a powerful surreal if , unfocussed narrative.For a comic opera it’s not very funny.




There’s also a Raj Kapoor feel to the story. Perhaps Mera Naam Joker was inspired by this film/ opera?


About rameshram

Name : Ramesh Ram... Email Address : (don't even ask) Blog: (never updated) Height/ Weight: 6'1 175 (varies between 160 and 185) Color of hair/ eyes black/ brown Bald? Nope (not yet, but give me 20 years.) Interests: Film (Bollywood/international indie), Travel (Germany/Japan/Central America/Sout/east/west Asia/ Northern Africa), Gizmo geek, Clubbing... What do I like in a good movie?: Women, Music, Auters, Special effects, Style. What do I like in a bad movie?: Women, Music, Auters, Special effects, Style. Favorite Critic: International: Bazin Domestic: J Hobermann Indian : me. (noone else comes close ...India or here..) Best quality: Humility. Outspokenness. Warmth Worst quality: Intolerence Favorite color : Yellow Black Blue Favorite Perfume : men: Grey Flannel(Geoffery Beene) Women: Celine dion: Obsession Boxers / briefs : Boxers Did I inhale: And how! Author: Marquiz, Rushdie, Murakami, Jong Last Book: The Ethical Slut by Dossie Easton, Catherine A. Liszt Music : Patricia Kass, Alejandro Sanz,Nina Simone, Amir Diab Sports person: What am I usually in : White briefs and tees. Chianti or Burgandy: Chianti Food: French Japanese(street/fast food). Saw and liked: No Country for old men, Lust Caution Saw and disliked: Nishabd Didnt see: Aaja Nach le. Call me: Write me first.
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