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U
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.

Posters

Theatrical Release: April 4th, 1951

Reviews                                                                        More Reviews                                                                      DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

1) Criterion Collection - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

 Box Covers

 

  

Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine # 317 - Region 1 - NTSC Studio Canal
Region 'B' -
Blu-ray
Runtime 2:04:40  2:13:07.270 
Video 1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.85 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 45,893,043,865 bytes

Feature: 39,281,581,824 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 35.25 Mbps

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

Bitrate:

Bitrate: Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0)  LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
Subtitles English, None English, None
Features

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

Keep Case
Chapters: 30

Release Information:
Studio: Studio Canal

 

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 45,893,043,865 bytes

Feature: 39,281,581,824 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 35.25 Mbps

Edition Details:
Introduction from Martin Scorsese (3:21)
Introduction from Thelma Schoonmaker (18:56)
Brand new trailer (1:46)
Stills gallery

 

Blu-ray Release Date: March 23rd, 2015
Standard Blu-ray case inside cardboard slipcase

Chapters: 8

 

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray April 15': I had heard good things but I wasn't prepared for how stunning this new 4K restoration looked on my system. Luscious, ravishing, rich and deep. I can't say enough about the visuals. Yes, this corrects the mis-registered reel on the SD Criterion version. It is transferred on a dual-layered disc with a max'ed out bitrate and is brilliant, consistent clean and shows visible textures along with the vibrant colors. As you can see it is a significant improvement over the 2005 Criterion SD.

NOTE: As Brian mentioned on Facebook: "And it's worth noting that this new restoration contains footage previously deleted from the Antonia sequence, as well as a longer ending featuring a curtain call of the performers. So this restoration can truly be regarded as definitive. Now here's hoping the film lands in the U.S. soon, whether it be by Criterion or Studio Canal." (Thanks Brian!)

(Anthony tells us in email): "Here are the cuts as Michael Powell named them:
Prologue: The Kleinzach Cut, 2 minutes 30 seconds, footage still missing.
Olympia Act: The Cockerel Cut, 2 minutes 54 seconds, footage still missing.
Giulietta and Antonia acts are complete. The new disc is beautiful and immaculate. Detail is exceptional and the color values are very close to the IBs I am familiar with. The audio is also fine. There are some odd choices for chapter stops, but that is a minor quibble. Too bad they did not dig a little deeper to locate the missing footage, or at least ask collectors who could have helped. I thoroughly enjoyed the appendix showing the singers/actors through Copelius's magic spectacles.
" (Thanks Anthony!)

Linear PCM audio, 2.0 channel mono at at healthy 2304 Kbps. Jacques Offenbach's The Tales of Hoffmann, A Fantastic Opera (arranged by Thomas Beecham) - sounds wonderful via this new lossless transfer. It is bright and lively with rich depth in some of the singing. It perfectly supports the image quality. I could listen to it with no video. There are optional English subtitles on the Region 'B'-locked Blu-ray disc.

Not as full on the extras as the Criterion DVD, but there are some with a brief introduction from Martin Scorsese and another, lengthier one from Thelma Schoonmaker. We get to see the brand new trailer and there is a stills gallery. The package has a booklet and postcards (see picture below).

Not much more to say except it has our highest recommendation! One of the  best Blu-rays of the year!

***

ON THE DVD: The Criterion image looks decent but imperfect. There is some softness but I would rate it a shade higher than their 'The Red Shoes' DVD in terms of visual quality. The colors look muted but pleasing.

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

 


DVD Menus


Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

Subtitle Sample

 

1) Criterion Collection - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Criterion Collection - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion Collection - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion Collection - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion Collection - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion Collection - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion Collection - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Studio Canal - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray Captures


Associated Reading (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

 

 Box Covers

 

  

Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine # 317 - Region 1 - NTSC Studio Canal
Region 'B' -
Blu-ray




 

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