Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

2021_1030_hoffmann_title This week’s mystery movie was the 1951 Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger production of Jacques Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann, with Moira Shearer, by permission of the Covent Garden Opera Trust, Ludmilla Tcherina, Ann Ayars, Pamela Brown, Leonide Massine, Robert Helpmann, Frederick Ashton, Mogens Wieth and Robert Rounseville with Lionel Harris, Philip Leaver, Meinhart Maur and Edmond Audran. English libretto by Dennis Arundell from the French text by Jules Barbier. motionpicturedai69unse_0_0035Conducted by Sir Thomas Beecham, with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and sung by Robert Rounseville, Dorothy Bond, Margherita Grandi, Ann Ayars, Monica Sinclair, Joan Alexander, Grahame Clifford, Bruce Dargavel, Murray Dickie, Owen Brannigan, Fisher Morgan, Rene Soames and the Sadler’s Wells Chorus. Designed by Hein Heckroth, photographed by Christopher Challis, art direction by Arthur Lawson, edited by Reginald Mills. Assistant producer George Busby, assistant director Sydney Streeter. Choreography by Frederick Ashton, assistants Alan Carter and Joan Harris. Recorded by Ted Drake, recording supervision by John Cox, assistant musical director Frederic Lewis. Camera by Fred Francis, assistant designers Ivor Beddoes and Terence Morgan II, scenic artist E. Lindegaard, makeup artist Constance Reeve, hairstylist Joseph Shear, continuity Pamela Davies, dialogue coach Molly Terraine. Technicolor colour consultant Joan Bridge. Composite photography by E. Hague. Chief electrician, W. Wall, wardrobe by Ivy Baker. Costumes for Miss Shearer and Miss Ayars executive by Joseph Boss. John Wright’s Marionettes. Released by Lopert Film Distributing Corp. Produced at London Film Studio, Shepperton, England. Written, produced and directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. Colour by Technicolor. The Tales of Hoffmann is available on DVD and streaming from Amazon.


Behind the scenes, I had all sorts of trouble with this week’s mystery movie. The main problem was that my trusty blogging software stopped talking to WordPress so everything had to be done manually. If you’re not on WordPress you won’t know this, but it recently rolled out a “blocks” toolbox that is Clippy but for blogging (“Hi!! It looks like you are trying to do a blog post!!!! Would you like help with that??!!!”). Another complication was that many images from Hoffmann are in various reverse-image search engines. I had some wonderful images that I had to scrap because they show up online. I had also been on the road for the last 10 days, covering 2,000 miles and I was beat. Frankly, I was about to pull the plug on WordPress and move to a new platform, maybe even give up the mystery movies, I mean I was really fed up with what had gone from a two- or three-step process into something like 10 steps. Fortunately, I resolved the problem by going to another blogging program that works – at least for now, so my apologies for this week. It was tough.


I chose The Tales of Hoffmann after a recent chat with a member of the Brain Trust.  I noticed that the film had only aired once on TCM and, fortunately, I had a copy. Notice that the running time listed in Motion Picture Daily is 138 minutes, while the version that aired on TCM runs just over two hours. It’s a wild movie visually, with lots of elaborate makeup and some modernistic scenery mixed with period settings. It is an opera, sung throughout in English. The voices are fine (it’s all lip-synced) but the movie is so visual that I wasn’t especially conscious that Hey! These people are singing! And let’s see if The New York Times reviewed it and if so, who hated it. Bosley Crowther: That’s your cue! Writing April 5, 1951:
The inevitable question about this picture is how close does it come to matching the beauty and excitement of the same producers’ The Red Shoes? Although the two films are basically different, a comparison is fair to this extent: The Red Shoes had warmth and vitality, Tales of Hoffman is splendid and cold.
A member of the Brain Trust (you know who you are) requested this week’s mystery movie. For Monday, we have a mystery gent. Update: I think this is Frederick Ashton, but I’m not positive.
For Tuesday, we have a quite mysterious guest. Update: I believe this is Frederick Ashton. I ran the image mainly to hint that the mystery movie was a little unusual. Brain Trust roll call: Megan (mysterious writers/directors).
For “Hm Wednesday,” we have this mysterious gent. Update: This is Robert Helpmann.
Also for “Hm Wednesday,” we have this mysterious guest. Update: This is Frederick Ashton. Brain Trust roll call: Megan and Thom (mystery movie) and Gary (mystery movie and mystery writers/directors). Also Beach Gal (mystery movie), valiantly struggling to defeat a rogue spam filter. For “Aha Thursday,” we have a mysterious gent who is not Jerry Lewis. Update: This is Robert Helpmann. Also for “Aha Thursday,” we have this mysterious guest. Update: This is Pamela Brown Brain Trust roll call: Beach Gal (Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s mystery guests), Mary Mallory (mystery movie, mysterious writers/directors, Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s mystery guests), Mike Hawks (mystery movie and Wednesday’s mystery guest No. 1) and Floyd Thursby (mystery movie and mysterious writers/directors). For Friday, we have this imposing mystery guest. Update: This is Robert Rounseville. And we have this mysterious dancer. Update: This is Moira Shearer. Brain Trust roll call: L.C. (mystery movie and mystery cast), Mary Mallory (Monday’s and Thursday’s mystery guests), Beach Gal (Monday’s and Thursday’s mystery guests), Mike Hawks (Thursday’s mystery guest No. 2) and Benito (mystery movie).

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1951, Film, Hollywood, Mystery Photo and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Movieland Mystery Photo (Updated + + + +)

  1. Sylvia E. says:

    Welcome back!

    I know that ‘Brigadoon’ cannot possibly be the movie, but that’s what Monday’s image reminds me of.


  2. Megan says:

    Is our mystery movie a Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger film?


  3. Megan and Thom says:

    I’d say The Tales of Hoffmann is our mystery movie.


  4. beachgal says:

    I think our film is The Tales of Hoffman (1951).


  5. beachgal says:

    My response seems to have vanished. So here goes again —- I think our film is The Tales of Hoffman from 1951.


  6. beachgal says:

    Our film is The Tales of Hoffman (1951).


  7. Benito says:

    Is it TALES OF HOFMANN 1951?


  8. Gary says:

    Pressburger Powell Tales of Hoffman.


  9. beachgal says:

    Having trouble getting my posts to show up. Let me try this again. Our film is The Tales of Hoffman (1951)


  10. beachgal says:

    For Wed, photo #1 is our infamous multi character actor/dancer, Robert Helpman.


  11. beachgal says:

    Tues – our peculiar actor/dancer is Frederick Ashton.
    Wed – photo #2, we once again have Frederick Ashton


  12. Mary Mallory says:

    THE TALES OF HOFFMANN by Powell and Pressburger, one of their films I haven’t seen. Dancer Frederick Ashton as the clown, today Robert Helpmann (you can’t miss him) and Mogens Wieth.


  13. mike hawks says:

    Robert Helpmann in TALES OF HOFFMAN.


  14. Floyd Thursby says:

    The movie is Powell and Pressburger,s “Tales of Hoffman.”


  15. LC says:

    The Tales of Hoffmann (1951) w/Moira Shearer, Robert Helpmann, Leonide Massine, Robert Rounseville, Frederick Ashton, Ann Ayars, Ludmilla Tcherina…


  16. beachgal says:

    I think our handsome gent on Monday just might be Richard Golding.


  17. Mary Mallory says:

    Richard Golding Monday, and Robert Helpmann and Pamela Brown today.


  18. beachgal says:

    Thurs – #1 is once again Robert Helpmann.
    Thurs #2 is Pamela Brown.


  19. mike hawks says:

    The impish #2 person is Pamela Brown.


  20. Benito says:

    Tales of Hofmann 1961?


  21. Mary Mallory says:

    Robert Rounesville and Moira Shearer.


  22. beachgal says:

    For Fri we have Robert Rounseville and Moira Shearer


  23. mike hawks says:

    Robert Rounseville and Moira Shearer.


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