The Masters  
The Powell & Pressburger Pages

Dedicated to the work of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger and all the other people, both actors and technicians who helped them make those wonderful films.

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Submitted by Tipu

5001 Nights in the Movies
The Tales of Hoffmann

From "5001 Nights in the Movies" by Pauline Kael

The Tales of Hoffmann (1951) - This choreographic spectacle, based on the Jacques Offenbach light opera, stars Moira Shearer, Léonide Massine, Robert Helpmann, and Ludmilla Tcherina in the dancing roles, with singers Robert Rounseville and Anne Ayars. Pamela Brown contributes her silent [?], disconcerting presence; Sir Thomas Beecham conducts (rather phlegmatically [I didn't hear him cough]); the Sadler's Wells Chorus fills out the larger dance sequences [Odd thing for singers to do]. After the success of The Red Shoes, the producers, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, found themselves in a position to employ first-rank [no pun intended] people in all the technical departments and to fulfill their most lavish appetites, and they really laid on a spread. It's apparent that the decor and color were intended to create moods, but the whole thing seems to be the product of an aberrant, second-rate imagination that confuses decor with art. [That's why Hein was nominated for an Oscar for it] Moira Shearer is lovely; it's a long film, though, and it seems structured almost as a series of divertissements. Powell directed.

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