HOFFMANNS ERZAHLUNGEN (1923)
aka The Tales of Hoffmann
Article 4794 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Max Neufeld
Featuring Max Neufeld, Kitty Hulsch, Josef Zetenius
What it is: Opera anthology
Hoffmann tells companions at an inn three stories of his various loves.
This title had just been taken off my hunt list and tossed into my “ones that got away” list when a friend of mine allowed me access to his copy, so I’m very grateful to have had a chance to see it. Since the copy had French title cards, I found that I had to rely on my memories of having seen the Powell/Pressburger version from 1951, and though I had memories of the first story (involving an automaton) and the third story (in which a woman is under a curse that will cause her to die if she sings), I found I couldn’t remember a thing about the second story (in which a woman under the control of a magician steals men’s reflections). Checking back on my review of the 1951 version, I discovered I had a lot of trouble following that second story. Though I can’t give an elaborate review due to the language limitations, this looks like a worthy version of the Offenbach opera, and there are some nice visual moments, especially in the second story, though from a visual standpoint, it doesn’t hold a candle to the 1951 version.