The Tales of Hoffmann


I actually can guess what my father's thought process probably was. He had already taken me to see a live performance of Johann Strauss Jr.'s operetta Die Fledermaus , which I had enjoyed, despite falling asleep in Act 3. Logically enough, he assumed I'd also enjoy Jacques Offenbach's operetta The Tales of Hoffmann . What he neglected to take into account is that the former involves champagne, a masked ball, mixed identities and a happy resolution, whereas the latter involves doll dismemberment, death by dueling, death by poison, death by singing too much (not joking) and ends with its protagonist in a drunken stupor, having lost all the women he had ever loved.

27-odd years later and I actually really enjoy The Tales of Hoffmann film. It has absolutely fantastic, proto-psychedelic visuals, the dancing (featuring Moira Shearer, Robert Helpmann and Leonide Massine) is gorgeous, and the special effects, for 1951, are tremendously effective. If you want a really weird-but-fun evening's entertainment, take a look at it.

Something deep inside me still freaks out when I see Robert Helpmann or hear the villains' theme from Hoffmann , though. 

In other news (which I've mentioned already, but for the sake of argument let's still call it news), I've set up a Facebook and Twitter page for this webcomic/blog/thing. Give my fragile, new-blogger ego a boost and like and/or follow me. And then tell all your friends to do the same. That's not obnoxious, is it?