The Red Shoes (1948) – Micheal Powell and Emeric Pressburger

The Directory in DK Canada’s The Movie Book continues to introduce me to classic films I haven’t seen, and today they introduced me to the Oscar winning film, The Red Shoes. Taking home awards from the Academy for Art & Set Direction as well as Best Music, the story follows the life and career of a ballerina named Victoria Page (Moira Shearer).

Vicky is a brilliant dancer, and under the authoritative hand of her mentor, Boris (Anton Walbrook) she could be the very best. All he asks of her is complete dedication and loyalty.

Something that is challenged when she falls in love with composer, Julian Craster (Marius Goring), whose work, The Red Shoes, Boris is using to showcase Vicky’s talents. She faces the demands of her art, and her heart as she is drawn between the two men, and her passions.

It’s a lush beautiful film that takes its time with the characters and the exploration of both the music and the dance side of a ballet, as well as the romance that springs up between the two representatives of each side.

The technicolor fairly pops off the screen, and makes it a vibrant watch, while the ballet and music are wonderfully enjoyable.

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Of course the ballet that Craster writes is based on the classic Hans Christian Andersen tale, and is filled with beauty, magic and tragedy, all of it brought to stunning life, on huge soundstages filled with strong choreography filled with symbolism not just for the stage story being presented to the theatre audience, but also the film’s story, and the character arc of Vicky.

It’s a well-crafted tale, with its stylised sets in themselves suggesting a stage production. There are a number of satisfying character arcs, and the designs, costumes, actors, and moments are all on point, bringing to life this wonderful piece.

A wonderful exploration of love, passion, and art and the draw of both the stage and the love between two people. Shearer pours her all into the film, and it shows in the performance. And much like the Hans Christian Andersen ending, the film ends in tragedy as well.

The dancing, and the physical effort that the actors put into their roles is all on the screen and is simply stunning to watch. It’s well shot, and orchestrated, and is very much a piece of art, and a modern retelling of a classic tale.

I can’t believe that this one didn’t end up in the main body of the text of DK Books’ The Movie Book, and was instead relegated to The Directory, but it is a fantastic film, and an amazing watch.

Find a copy to watch tonight, or pick up a copy of The Movie Book, and find a new to you classic to entertain you.

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