It begins with a Tannhäuser performance and ends with the premiere of The Tales of Hoffmann. In between a young ingénue cast in her first big role, the Hoffmann rehearsals, the theatre director and his stage director exchanging cynicisms, a budding love affair. Gründgens at his most repulsive, trying to woo both lovers. And a hair-raising finale. Add to this some snappy dialogue and "pre-code" scenes that make you sit up and stare.