The Red Shoes (1948)
Directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger
Starring Anton Walbrook, Marius Goring and Moira Shearer
This film won the 1949 Academy Awards for Best Art Direction and Best Scoring of a Dramatic Picture.
A young ballet dancer is torn between the man she loves and her pursuit to become a prima ballerina.
IMDB rating: 8.3
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 96%
Genevieve’s rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
Jessica’s rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥.5
Genevieve: Yet again, we have a blind watch for me. Jessica suggested this to me based on my love of Black Narcissus as it has the same Director-Writer-Cinematographer as that film. I was not prepared for this movie, both visually and emotionally. I was a sobbing wreck by the end from a combination of the beautiful story and the unforgettable way it was told. I can see parallels to so many modern films, such as Black Swan and even Singin’ in the Rain.
Jessica: Actually, Martin Scorcese would not have become the director he is today had he not seen this film. I have always liked Black Narcissus better, but this is an undeniably good film. I didn’t like Black Swan at all, but I can see the parallels. So many people dismiss old films without realizing their new and fabulous films wouldn’t exist without these films lighting the way.
Genevieve: In a large way, then, multiple genres from musicals to mobsters, were all a result in part of this film. I love getting back to the foundations of film. You are so right, without these movies, nothing we see today would be to the level it is. All these filmmakers had a muse, and when you see it yourself, it is very easy to imagine the inspiration and desire to make something as poignant.
Jessica: Pressburger originally wrote the screenplay for Alexander Korda as a vehicle for Korda’s future wife, Merle Oberon. After some years had passed without the film being made, Powell and Pressburger rewrote the screenplay, including more emphasis on dancing and produced it themselves. To create the realism of a ballet company production, they created their own ballet company using many dancers from The Royal Ballet. In the the introduction for The Criterion Collection DVD of Jean Renoir’s The River, Martin Scorsese, who has long championed Powell and Pressburger’s works, considers The Red Shoes, along with the Renoir film to be the two most beautiful color films. The River is bloody gorgeous too.
Genevieve: Sounds like we need to do The River soon. And a Scorsese film as well. You have succeeded in introducing me to a new favorite film, though. I will be adding this to my collection very soon.