K 1951


Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger create a phantasmagoric marriage of cinema and opera in this one-of-a-kind take on a classic story. In Jacques Offenbach’s fantasy opera The Tales of Hoffmann, a poet dreams of three women—a mechanical performing doll, a bejeweled siren, and the consumptive daughter of a famous composer—all of whom break his heart in different ways. Powell and Pressburger’s feverishly romantic adaptation is a feast of music, dance, and visual effects, and one of the most exhilarating opera films ever produced.


Theatrical Release: April 4th, 1951

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DVD Review: Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC

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Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine # 317 - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 2:04:40 
Video 1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.85 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles English, None

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Audio commentary by director Martin Scorsese and film music historian Bruce Eder
• New video interview with director George A. Romero
• The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (1956), a short musical film directed by Michael Powell, based on the Goethe story
• Rare collection of production designer Hein Heckroth’s design sketches and paintings
• Gallery of archival production and publicity photographs
• Original theatrical trailer
• Plus: a new essay by film historian Ian Christie

DVD Release Date: November 22nd, 2005

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Chapters: 30



The Criterion image looks very good but not perfect. There is some softness but I would rate it a shade higher than their 'The Red Shoes' in terms of transfer quality. The colors look muted and very good.

Sent in email "The Criterion version of TALES OF HOFFMAN has an entire reel horribly misregistered, the result of a restoration gone bad and the original negatives gone away leaving an awful legacy for that film.".

The Scorsese/ Eder commentary is enthusiastic and fabulous and the George Romero interview may open some eyes to the film. I also enjoyed the Ian Christie essay in the liner notes. This film has taken on mammoth, and deserved, cult status and it is a perfect DVD for Criterion to release - I can now throw my well-worn DVD-R (taken from from TV broadcast) in the garbage. My only advice about the film is to simply watch it... in typical Powell + Pressburger fashion it reaches heights that most filmmakers will never attain.   

Gary W. Tooze


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DVD Box Cover


CLICK to order from:

Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine # 317 - Region 1 - NTSC


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Mississauga, Ontario,


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