From 1948, The Red Shoes is one of the greatest dance films ever made. It's just magic to watch. Beautifully photographed in three-strip Technicolor, it's also one of the most influential musicals ever, particularly with every film that Gene Kelly made after it was released. And it's also finally been properly restored and released on DVD by Criterion. Why do they get all of the best movies, restore them and charge an arm and a leg for them? *shakes fist*
The film follows Victoria Page (the ballerina/actress Moira Shearer) a young and wealthy ballet dancer.
She is spotted at a party by Lermontov, a ruthless and charismatic director of his own ballet company. He's also a control-freak and a bit mad.
She starts off as a student and becomes part of the corps until the prima ballerina leaves to get married and Lermontov makes her the prima ballerina, hoping to mould Victoria and turn her into the greatest dancer that ever lived! But only on his terms, of course, which means that she must only live for the dance.
However, Victoria falls in love with Julian, the company's brilliant young composer of The Red Shoes ballet.
When he learns that the young couple has run off and got married, he goes quite mad.
And so Victoria is forced to choose between her love for Julian and her need to dance. Since you've all read the story by Hans Christian Andersen, I need hardly tell you what happens.
Instead, here are some of my favourite makeup shots and costumes. Since this is 1948, you can see the start of the shift from the Forties military look to the New Look, which is interesting to see, especially on the background players.
I did alter the colours slightly in this shot, but doesn't it look like a postcard? All of the outdoor location shots look like the most wonderful postcards.
Isn't this the most beautiful straw picture hat you've ever seen?
What makes the film really worth watching is the twenty minute ballet, which took six weeks to film and is worth the price of admission. I don't think that anything can top it, including the American in Paris ballet. But what do you think of it?
Here's the trailer, but the sound is a bit off: