Gorgeous and grandiose... as opera usually is. Masterfully shot in beautiful technicolor, it's extremely well choreographed and blocked out for the camera. It's fun and quite beautiful. Lovely performance and fantastical in nature. Very cool theatrical endeavor. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Keep in mind that this a theatrical piece and not a "movie." However, it's a delightful translation of opera to the screen.
Beautiful if you watch it without any volume. Or if you use compositions by other musicians from the baroque/classic/romantic school. It's a waste watching it on a laptop or television screen, absolutely reduces the lush sensory assault. But then again, who gives a shit.
Powell's and Pressburger's attempt to recreate the fantastical worlds of "Les contes d'Hoffmann" with the help of film effects is a clever move. A real achievement of the film is the projection of the narration into unrealistic and colourful spaces that underline the artificiality of the whole settings. Although some things appear a little oldfashioned today, the Olympia episode is a real highlight of filmed opera.
It might be a slight dig at the self-seriousness of poets and their muses, or at least I hope with an ending more comic than tragic. Or it could just be a vivid conception of fantasy, a resplendent display of colour and design, tangible proof of cinema's aura. Happy to foot the bridge between opera and I, and I have a lot of narrative problems I will dismiss for a work of such imagination.
Prix Spécial du Jury à Cannes, Prix de la Commission Supérieure Technique et Ours d'Argent à Berlin (1951), cette oeuvre fastueuse reste un monument incontournable dans l'histoire du cinéma, un véritable chef-d'oeuvre d'intelligence et de beauté, d'une finesse et d'une sensualité extrêmes, un vrai raffinement de l'esprit qui délivre, éblouissant et inoubliable, un enchantement permanent et durable. www.cinefiches.com
Overstuffed and overlong -- the vivid excitement of the 20 minute Red Shoes Ballet is here dulled into archness, the charm wears off in a hurry. Helpmann, Massine and others manage some fine moments, but poor Robert Rounseville sings like an angel and acts like Keanu. It's all been done better elsewhere -- check out Bergman's film of THE MAGIC FLUTE, which doesn't sink under the weight of all that gimmickry.
First impression: Color, cinematograpy, art direction, costumes, make-up and choreography are all at a high standard. I've yet to become a devotee of opera myself, plus it seemed to me that most of the onscreen performers were lip-synching. However, while short on most of the qualities possessed by the Archers' production while nevertheless a filmed opera itself, why am a big fan of Majewski's "The Roe's Room"?
My first really expressive of opera as an adult and coming into this film looking for the powell and pressburger traits certainly helped. The visuals are a feast for the senses. There was some narrative confusion induced by the episodic nature of the tale (s) it seemed almost as if the separate stories where squeezed rather loosely under one arc. Also, Must all dialogue be sung? I am still open but not won over.
I guess I have to say I'm not one to judge this film, as opera is an art form I have yet to understand or appreciate - and this film is not much more than a filmed opera. As bizarre and phantasmagoric as the imagery is, it really isn't enough to sit through two and a half hours for. If you can appreciate opera, it might be for you, but it doesn't really work as a film, even for fans of director Michael Powell.