Three Lovers Lost: On ‘The Tales of Hoffmann’

Robert Helpmann and Ludmilla Tchérina.

When Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger were working on one of their greatest collaborations, “The Tales of Hoffmann” (1951), the designer of the dazzling sets, Hein Heckroth, created a model for a grand staircase. To save the expense of building a full-scale version, Powell had Heckroth paint one in perspective on a carpet that is unrolled before dancers waltz down it as if descending stairs. The effect only adds to the magic in a dreamlike film that is filled with daring artistry.

Combining music, dance and cinema into a captivating whole in lush Technicolor, this gem of British cinema can now be seen in a new digital restoration

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