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The Red Shoes (Criterion Collection) (1948)

Cast: Anton Walbrook, Anton Walbrook, Marius Goring, more...
Director: Emeric Pressburger, Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger, more...
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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Criterion
Genre: Classics, Drama, Foreign, Classic Drama, British Drama, Classic Drama, UK, Musicals, Criterion Collection
Languages: English
Subtitles: English
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The Red Shoes (Criterion Collection) (1948)
Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's influential musical tragedy set the stage for the climactic dance ballets that became a staple of the Arthur Freed-MGM musicals (An American in Paris, Singin' in the Rain and The Band Wagon) of the early 1950s. Hans Christian Andersen's tragic fairy tale forms the basis of this film about betrayal, love and art. The story begins as struggling composer Julian Craster (Marius Goring) attends a performance of the Lermontov Ballet Company and recognizes his own score in the production of "Hearts of Fire." Julian protests to ballet company director Boris Lermontov (Anton Walbrook) about the unauthorized use of his music. Impressed by Julian's talent, Boris hires him to compose the score for his next ballet -- a dance version of "The Red Shoes." Boris also hires an attractive young dancer, Victoria Page (Moira Shearer), to perform in the ballet. When the lead ballerina announces that she plans to get married, Boris, in a pique over being abandoned, casts Victoria in the starring role. As Julian works on the score and Victoria struggles to perfect her dance technique, the two fall in love. When "The Red Shoes" ballet is premiered -- seen in a stunning and glorious fifteen-minute sequence -- it is a raging success and it makes Victoria a star. But when Boris learns that Julian and Victoria have fallen in love, Boris, who is secretly in love with Victoria, in a fit of rage forces Julian to leave the ballet company; Victoria leaves with him. Since Boris owns the rights to "The Red Shoes" ballet, he forbids Victoria to perform the dance and she becomes unemployable. Time passes and Julian and Victoria are now happily married. Julian's compositions have made him an international success. One day, with Victoria disembarking from a train in Paris, she meets Boris, who implores her to do one performance of "The Red Shoes" in Monaco. Victoria agrees as Julian cancels an engagement in London to travel to Monte Carlo in order to convince his wife not to perform the ballet. But Victoria goes on with the performance, with tragic results. ~ Paul Brenner, All Movie Guide

The Red Shoes (Criterion Collection) (Bonus Disc) (1948)
Special Features:
  • Profile of The Red Shoes, a documentary on the making of the film, featuring interviews with members of the production team
  • Video interview with director Michael Powell's widow, Thelma Schoonmaker Powell, from the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, in which she discusses Powell, the film, and the restoration
  • Audio recording of actor Jeremy Irons reading excerpts from Powell and Pressburger's novelization of The Red Shoes
  • Collection of rare publicity stills and behind-the-scenes photos
  • Gallery of items from Scorsese's personal collection of The Red Shoes memorabilia
  • The Red Shoes Sketches, an animated film of Hein Heckroth's painted storyboards, with the Red Shoes ballet as an alternate angle

GreenCine Member Ratings

The Red Shoes (Criterion Collection) (1948)
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8.05 (133 votes)
The Red Shoes (Criterion Collection) (Bonus Disc) (1948)
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0.00 (0 votes)

GreenCine Member Reviews

Now THAT'S a ballet! by talltale November 24, 2004 - 4:36 PM PST
6 out of 6 members found this review helpful
Because Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger are among my favorite directors (certainly my favorite duo, since the "American Splendor" team has only made a couple of films) and I hadn't seen THE RED SHOES in decades, I wanted to learn how this 56-year-old film holds up. In many ways--the opening scene with the students, the movie's amazing "look," much of the acting and particularly the theme of woman's place vis--vis love of her art and love of her man--this remains prime cinema and far ahead of its time. In other ways, the melodrama (let's call a spade a spade) is pretty heavy handed. And as fabulous as the "film-visualized ballet" is to view, it's so impossible in terms of what could be achieved, even today, on the stage, that one wonders what critics and audiences had to say about this unusual movie when it was released in 1948. I can see why so many young women wanted to pursue ballet after seeing it, and why it still holds audiences entranced, especially during the "Red Shoes" ballet sequence (which, oddly, comes smack in the middle, and from which the movie never regains its peak power or artistry). If you've never seen this one and appreciate older movies, do queue. Even if you have seen it, you might very well consider a revisit.

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