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THE RED SHOES – Brian Easdale

January 12, 2015 1 comment

redshoesMOVIE MUSIC UK CLASSICS

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Following their success with Black Narcissus in 1947 the directorial team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger decided to adapt the fairy tale “The Red Shoes” by Hans Christian Anderson for the big screen. The story tells of the girl who dons beautiful red shoes, which danced away with her, through the streets, into a dark nether land and eventually, to her death. They created the screenplay and brought in renowned choreographer Jack Cardiff to choreograph the ballet. Powell and Pressburger sought authentic artistry for their film and so decided early on that they would use professional dancers who could act, rather than actors who could dance. They also wanted to create a realistic feeling of a ballet troupe and so included a fifteen-minute ballet as the high point of the film. Worth noting was the brilliance of the film’s cinematography, particularly its use of color. Ballerina Moira Shearer was brought in for the lead role of Vicky Page, with Marius Goring (Julian Craster) playing her love interest and Anton Walbrook (Boris Lermontov) as her ruthless authoritarian impresario. The story is a classic tragedy of a woman torn between love of her art and her heart. After a stellar rise to fame as prima ballerina she falls in love and marries Julian Craster, a dashing young composer. This enrages her jealous mentor Lermontov who has long coveted her for his own. He fires Julian and Vicky leaves with him. Yet Lermotov holds her contract and refuses to allow her to dance her defining ballet role for “The Red Shoes” unless she leaves Julian and returns to him. She decides to pursue her career and dance the coveted role on the night of Julian’s opera premier thereby losing him. On the night of her greatest performance, unable to reconcile her love for Julian and her love of dance, she leaps to her death in front of a train. The film was both a commercial and critical success earning five Academy Award nominations, winning two for Best Art Decoration and Best Score. Read more…