This trippy, elegant, and downright awesome film is playing at Film Forum for a limited engagement. I loved seeing the captivating Moira Shearer dance the fantastic Frederick Ashton choreography in this film, as well as many of her Red Shoes co-stars like Leonide Massine, Robert Helpmann, and Ludmilla Tcherina. Another treat is to see Ashton himself appear in one of the first sequences. Shot in an over the top, romantic, theatrical, and surreal manner, The Tales of Hoffman, has an almost suffocating effect a times. Of course I took interest the fact that Shearer plays a Coppelia-like doll that is eventually dismembered onscreen. Her arms and legs are torn off and her decapitated head goes tumbling about. A favorite shot is of her head on the floor and then her eyes suddenly pop open. Ludmilla Tcherina plays a courtesan who seduces the title character of Hoffman into surrendering his reflection to her and her master (played by a campier than ever Robert Helpmann). Tcherina is impossibly sensual and to me she bears a striking resemblence to Janet Eilber. The Tales of Hoffman is a wonderful resource for dance on film in the 20th century. The entire film is shot so beautifully and seems to be entirely choreographed. Love it!


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