The Red Shoes (1948)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB

United Kingdom, 1948.  The Archers.  Screenplay by Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger, additional dialogue by , based on the fairy tale by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger.  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by Hein Heckroth.  Film Editing by .  

The most beloved of all the films that Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger ever made is this beautiful tale inspired by Hans Christian Anderson’s story. Probably one of the most gorgeous uses of colour ever made, it’s about a brilliant ballerina (, showing equally impressive skills as both actor and dancer) who becomes the muse of a theatrical impresario () and the love of his musical director (). When she is forced to choose between the two men, her love and her career, she finds herself faced with a choice too difficult to make and is led towards dire circumstances. The centrepiece of the film is a near-twenty minute ballet sequence, the first successful marriage of classical dance and film, one that is full of brilliant visual effects and endlessly creative images. The story lags quite a bit, it relies too heavily on archetypes and not individual characterizations, but there’s so much reward involved that you just can’t miss it.

The Criterion Collection:  #44

Academy Awards:  Best Art Direction-Colour; Best Score of a Drama or Comedy Picture
Nominations: Best Picture; Best Motion Picture Story; Best Film Editing

Golden Globe Award:  Best Original Score

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