The Red Shoes

( 25 )

Overview

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 ...
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Overview

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.
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Special Features

Introductory restoration demonstration with Filmmaker Martin Scorsese ; Audio Commentary by Film Historian Ian Christie, featuring interviews with stars Marius Goring and Moira Shearer, Cinematographer Jack Cardiff, Composer Brian Easdale, and Scorsese; ; Audio Recording of Actor Jeremy Irons Reading Excerpts from Powell and Pressburger's Novelization of The Red Shoes; ; 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, Editor Thelma Schoonmaker Powell, the film, and the Restoration; ; 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; ; Audio Recording of Irons reading the original Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale "The Red Shoes"; ; Theatrical Trailer; ; Plus: a Booklet featuring an essay by critic David Ehrenstein and a description of the restoration by UCLA film archivist Robert Gitt
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's 1948 film The Red Shoes was, for nearly four decades, the most successful British movie ever released in America. Movies had used ballet as a subject before -- including a pair of Hollywood bombs, Spectre of the Rose, which had the virtue of being bizarre and humorous, and The Unfinished Dance, which was itself a remake of a pre-World War II French film called Ballerina -- but the public had mostly ignored them. The Red Shoes, by contrast, seemed to draw audiences into its spell, virtually one theater at a time. In New York, it played to sell-out crowds at a single theater in Manhattan for almost two years before going into wide release, by which time word of the film had spread sufficiently to make it a hit throughout the country. Powell described attending The Red Shoes as a ritual for middle-class mothers and their daughters, although it was sufficiently well-known by 1949 to rate an oblique mention in a Three Stooges short, "Some More of Samoa." The movie had started life as a proposed screenplay, written by Pressburger for Merle Oberon before World War II, which never saw production -- the intervening war and its aftermath led to a major change in its focus, from romantic melodrama to art. Powell and Pressburger sincerely believed that having spent four years dying in the name of freedom and liberty, the world was ready to see a movie that suggested it was now alright to die in the name of art. The public (outside of England, where critics panned the movie and it closed very quickly) responded in kind, in what was the first huge "art-house" success in postwar cinema.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 7/20/2010
  • UPC: 715515059312
  • Source: Criterion
  • Time: 2:14:00
  • Format: Blu-ray
  • Sales rank: 5,362

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Anton Walbrook Boris Lermontov
Marius Goring Julian Craster
Moira Shearer Victoria Page
Léonide Massine Grischa Ljubov
Albert Basserman Sergei Ratov
Robert Helpmann Ivan Boleslawsky
Esmond Knight Livingstone 'Livy' Montagne
Ludmilla Tcherina Irina Boronskaja
Derek Elphinstone Lord Oldham
Irene Browne Lady Neston
Austin Trevor Prof. Palmer
Eric Berry Dimitri
Gordon Littman Ike
Emeric Pressburger
Michel Bazalgette M. Rideaut
Jerry Verno Stagedoor Keeper
Jean Short Terry
Julia Lang A Balletomane
Bill Shine Her Mate
Marcel Poncin M. Boudin
Yvonne Andre Vicky's Dresser
Hay Petrie Boisson
George Woodbridge Doorman
Denis Carey Dancer
Robert Dorning Dancer
Joan Harris Solo Dancer
Guy Massey Dancer
Technical Credits
Emeric Pressburger Director, Producer, Screenwriter
Michael Powell Director, Producer, Screenwriter
Sir Thomas Beecham Musical Direction/Supervision
George R. Busby Producer
Jack Cardiff Cinematographer
Eric Carter Makeup
Christopher G. Challis Camera Operator
Brian Easdale Score Composer
Ernest Gasser Makeup
Hein Heckroth Art Director, Costumes/Costume Designer
Robert Helpmann Choreography
Arthur Lawson Art Director
Gordon K. McCallum Sound/Sound Designer
Reginald Mills Editor
Charles Poulton Sound/Sound Designer
Sydney Streeter Asst. Director
Keith Winter Screenwriter
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 25 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(15)

4 Star

(5)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 25 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 8, 2011

    A Magnificent Masterpiece that Shines on BD!!!

    When I saw Black Swan, I abolutely love it and then I read a lot of reviews that mention The Red Shoes as a direct influence to it. Prior to this, I've never heard of it but after hearing and reading a lot of praise, I decided to buy it. I have to say that experiencing The Red Shoes is a completely marvelous experience. The dilemma of a ballerina torn between her passion for dancing and her love for a man is so enthralling, so absorbent that you can't look away. The color in the picture done by the great Jack Cardiff is simply amazing. The Archers did a picture about passion. The passion for art and this passion comes at a cost. If you want it, you'll have to dismiss everything else from your life. This powerful drama is aided by a wonderful set decoration and most of all, a spectacular and surreal ballet sequence of The Red Shoes. This is one of the many highlights of the film and is simply amazing. Most of the actors were ballet dancers which gives the movie a much more realistic tone. The performances are wonderful especially Anton Walbrook and Moira Shearer that truly shine in their respective roles. The Red Shoes is without a doubt the best "Ballet" movie but it's something much more that elevates its status as a timeless classic. Video & Audio: This is my first Criterion title and I was blown away by the results. The restoration of the film is simply breathtaking, the colors are so vivid, deatil is clear and the transfer is immaculate without compression artifacts whatsoever. A triumphant transfer through and through. The uncompressed monoaural soundtrack is equally pleasing with clear dialogue and music and without any craks or distortions. Excellent. Bonus Features: This Criterion BD comes with a lot of bonus material that includes an audiocommentary with film scholars and the film cast and crew, "A Profile of The Red Shoes" which is an informative making of documentary, a wonderful interview with Thelma Schoonmaker Powell, Michael Powell's widow and Martin Scorsese editor. Also you have sketches of the ballet sequence that can be watched alongside the reading of the original fairy tale by Jeremy Irons. In addition you have galleries and the theatrical trailer. Also a reading of Jeremy Irons of the novelization of the film and a booklet with an essay by critic David Ehrenstein and a report of the wonderful restoration. Closing Thoughts: Obsession, passion, drama, love, dance and magic, all of this and more you will find in The Red Shoes. With a wondeful plot, amazing performances, great camera and color, a magnificent score and breathtaking sets and scenaries, this movie is a must own for every film lover. With a breathtaking restoration and informative bonus features, Criterion has done this film justice. This BD set is very highly recommended!!!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 16, 2012

    Simply outstanding - tops in its kind

    I've had the DVD version, and now must have the restored Blue Ray version. I am gifting this one to selected friends. All positive reviews are right on the mark. Since its release in 1948, there has been no production that approaches the quality of The Red Shoes from any perspective. We are extremely fortunate to have this version to be preserved for generations to come. Each actor performs at its peak - unsurpassed. Read about its background and the presumed throwback to the Ballet Russes and Diaghilev. Prepare for the adventure of a lifetime.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Driven in a driven world

    Why pay $4 for a DVD of an old movie? Because it is at least ten times more fabulous than the price.

    For the ballet alone, purchase and view the movie. For the soundtrack alone, purchase the movie and listen to the soundtrack. For anyone who has struggled with addiction (or an addict), and particularly, if that addiction involved codependency/perfection/people pleasing-this is one of the finest stories about the process. This is an all-too-common story brilliantly filmed with the finest storytelling, score, performances and something quite magic beyond mere words' capture.

    Marion Woodman's "Addiction To Perfection" tells the story from a Jungian/depth psychological standpoint (not a simple read, yet one of my all-time favorite books) and Clarissa Pinkola Estes has a fine telling of the same fairy tale with her wonderful CD (see recommendation below). If you are female (or know a female) in this culture, you must listen, watch TRS to understand the constant striving and never arriving, a huge component of women's frustration.

    Like many other viewers and reviewers, I call TRS my all-time favorite movie.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    A Masterpiece

    The power, beauty, and the heartache of ballet are fully realized in this superb remastering of the film based on the Hans Christian Anderson tale. Although a story about the dancer's life both on and behind stage, The Red Shoes is more importantly an exploration of the choice between Art and love. Victoria Page, portrayed with grace and pathos by Moira Shearer, is the extremely gifted ballerina who aspires to greatness but who also finds love in the person of Julian Cranster, the composer of the music that is the film's title. Marius Goring as Cranster is a serviceable actor who provides the necessary foil to the more compelling characters around him, the greatest of whom is the figure of Boris Lermontov, the ballet impresario and played by Anton Walbrook. Walbrook completely inhabits the role of Lermontov, imbuing him with all of the old-world imperiousness and hauteur his title implies. Walbrook takes command of his scenes without consuming them, thereby making it possible for the other characters to play against him without struggling for recognition. Equally enjoyable to watch is Leonide Massine, who in real life was a fine dancer, and who in this film created and danced the role of the demonic shoemaker. Massine imparts both the eccentricity and brilliance of a particular type of male dancer who would have been very familiar during the era of the Ballet Russes. Finally, remastering has resulted as well in heightening the film's palette, producing more vibrancy and drama (particularly the red, so central to the film's plot) than previously. In all respects, this is a great film now made greater through sensitive and careful refurbishing, and which breathes new life into a classic.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2013

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  • Posted January 8, 2013

    probably one of the best ballet movies.

    probably one of the best ballet movies.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Artful

    The Red Shoes combines incredible dancing with a plot that is romantic and foreboding. Michael Powell and Emerich Pressburger's treatment of the story is very compelling and magical. Moira Shearer as Victoria Page not only dances superbly, but fills her role with great intensity and pathos. Boris Lermontov as the owner of the ballet company is consumed with her talent, and very possessive. He fills his role with a sardonic quality. Marius Goring as the young composer falls in love with Victoria Page, but their love is doomed. Powell and Pressburger incorporates Hans Christian Andersen's sad story of The Red Shoes in a ballet sequence that is highly expressionist filled with bold color. Criterion's restoration is illuminating.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A timeless classic

    I first saw this movie in 1954 and have loved it ever since. The ballet choreograpy is brilliant, the story line moves the film along and it is a must for any movie buff because it is that wonderful!

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 25 Customer Reviews