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Overall Rating
4.91

Awesome90.91%
Worth A Look: 9.09%
Just Average: 0%
Pretty Crappy: 0%
Sucks: 0%

1 review, 5 user ratings


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Red Shoes, The (1948)
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by WilliamPrice

"Colossal, colorful, gorgeous and gut-wrenching. Beyond compare."
5 stars

The hottest redhead you are ever going to see descends into psychedelic delirium in this widely overlooked gem from our friends in limey-land. Yes it was made in 1948, and yes it’s about ballet, but if you think it’s a snoozer you’re sorely mistaken. This is a searing drama about a show-biz career gone awry, in some ways quite similar to Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” made 30-odd years later. Although it is classically styled in a “Big Hollywood” kind of way, this puppy has teeth and it will bite.

Moira Shearer stars as Victoria Page, an aspiring dancer who gets a chance to work with the great ballet director Lermontov (Anton Walbrook). Lermontov is suave, charming and sly, and soon develops a maniacal obsession to mold Vicky into a truly great dancer. Vicky is a natural talent and a hard worker, and eventually rises to prominence in the ballet world. But when she develops a romance with the bright young composer Julian (Marius Goring), the dark side of Lermontov begins to appear. Then Vicky is cast to dance “The Red Shoes”, based on a story by Hans Christian Anderson, and she finds herself entering a nightmare from which there is no escape.

A professional ballerina in real life, Moria Shearer gives a spellbinding, wrenching performance as the eager, young Vicky. Walbrook’s Lermontov is equally magnetic, with his refined mannerisms that mask an inhuman drive for perfection. The remainder of the cast is also uniformly excellent.

The story that unfolds is elegant and richly detailed, but draws you in and never lets you go. The writer-director team of Powell and Pressburger were at the top of their form putting this movie together. Everything on the screen counts; every shot matters; every transition is ingenious. The level of incidental and background action is astounding. Innovation abounds at every turn, but the overriding concern at all times is the story and its themes –layers and layers worth –all of which the filmmakers grasp perfectly. The Red Shoes is considered by many to be the absolute pinnacle of movie making.

Every frame of this film is bursting with glorious Technicolor. Its color schemes are some of the most dazzling ever put to film. With credentialed artists handling the visual design, impeccable camerawork and lighting setups that go beyond the fastidious, you just can’t find a more gorgeous looking movie.

The centerpiece is the Red Shoes ballet itself. This is an authentic, classically styled ballet written and choreographed especially for the film. Filmed subjectively from Vicky’s perspective, it soon leaves the physical stage and enters a dream world of imagination. This is a truly psychedelic sequence, 20 years before the term was coined. In it, Vicky’s conflict between Lermontov’s uncompromising vision and her love for Julian takes on a nightmarish quality. All kinds of imaginative dissolves, matte shots and even some animation are used to create this unforgettable, landmark sequence.

Many ballet dancers have cited “The Red Shoes” as their original inspiration to pursue the art form, but I would recommend it to absolutely anyone, balletomanes and balletophobes alike.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=7167&reviewer=407
originally posted: 08/23/05 19:36:56
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Starz Denver Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Starz Denver Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

5/30/15 stanley welles profoundly serious, sublimely innocent, yet deeply and mysteriously erotic 5 stars
3/16/15 Dane Youssef It does have a beautiful classical feel to it. There is a sort of magic to it. Really... 4 stars
1/23/09 PAUL SHORTT THE MOST EMOTIONALLY TOUCHING AND ARTISTICALLY BRILLIANT BALLET FILM EVER MADE 5 stars
9/16/08 Dougas The most beautiful and affecting film I think I've seen, and I am not a balletomane. 5 stars
7/03/04 The More You Know Plays up the psychological thrill of the beautiful fairy tale. 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  22-Oct-1948 (NR)
  DVD: 20-Jul-2010

UK
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Australia
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