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The Red Shoes (Restoration Edition) (Blu-Ray)


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Product details

  • Actors: Anton Walbrook, Moira Shearer, Marius Goring, Robert Helpmann, Frederick Ashton
  • Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
  • Producers: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
  • Region: Region B/2 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: ITV Studios Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 6 July 2009
  • Run Time: 153 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0029KQNW8
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,180 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

Classic Powell and Pressburger drama about an aspiring ballerina who is presented with a stark choice between her artistic ambitions and the man she loves. The film, justly famous for a ballet sequence credited by many as the best on film, has at its heart Victoria Page (Moira Shearer), a talented young ballerina hired to work on an adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen tale, 'The Red Shoes'. The production is overseen by Boris Lermontov (Anton Walbrook), a ballet impresario who rules his domain with a rod of iron, making the careers of those he champions but demanding absolute loyalty and dedication to the art of ballet in return. When Boris discovers that Victoria has fallen in love with Julian (Marius Goring), the ballet's composer, he becomes convinced that the affair will distract his leading lady and presents her with a choice - the ballet or Julian? Will the young ballerina be able to choose between her two great loves?

From Amazon.co.uk

Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's most celebrated Technicolor fairy-tale, The Red Shoes is both metaphor and melodrama of unparalleled boldness. So extravagantly theatrical a movie was regarded as simply unreleasable by the Rank Organisation back in 1948, but in spite of their attempted suppression it has long since been acknowledged as one of British cinema's landmark achievements. Not only were Powell and Pressburger unorthodox enough to populate the cast with real ballet dancers (including the radiant Moira Shearer in the pivotal role), they built the whole film around an extraordinarily daring 17-minute ballet sequence in which the camera moves from outside the proscenium arch into a subjective whirl of impressionistic images inspired and informed by Brian Easdale's marvellous score. Only after seeing this, so the story goes, was Gene Kelly able to see how he could make An American in Paris.

The melodramatic plot, metaphorically acted out in the "Red Shoes Ballet" then re-enacted for real by the main characters, presents Great Art as something worth dying for, and, in the person of Anton Walbrook's Lermontov, gives us a portrait of the artist as a man for whom anything and everything is worth sacrificing in its pursuit. Loosely based on Diaghilev, impresario of the Ballets Russes, Walbrook's magnetic central performance is of sufficient stature to conceal the rather trite predicament of his ballerina protégée, and the film's contrived, over-the-top tragic ending.

On the DVD: Sadly for a film in which music is such a central element, the advertised digital remastering doesn't seem to have extended to the mono soundtrack, which shows its age quite badly. The colour print, however, looks very vibrant. This special edition also includes a new 25-minute "making-of" feature with a few comments from crew members (or their relatives) and admirers of the film, including ballerina Darcey Bussell. "The Ballet of the Red Shoes" can be seen on its own in a separate featurette, and there are text biographies and a trailer.--Mark Walker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

129 of 134 people found the following review helpful By pfvll on 3 July 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This newly restored and remastered version is miraculous. Once more we can see the brilliant, jewel-like, fully saturated colours that us oldies remember as typical of the original Technicolor process. The restorers, bless them, have, for once, paid equal attention to the sound, so often forgotten by classic film restorers. In this case, the sound is better than in any previous version, including the original. Even if, like me, you have an existing DVD (or VHS tape) of Red Shoes, I urge you to buy this one - it's not expensive, you will be bowled over by the quality of image and sound and will want to keep it for watching again and again.

This extraordinary movie has been watched all over the world throughout the sixty-seven years since it was made. Probably no day passes without it being shown somewhere in the world. I doubt these statements are true of any other movie except, perhaps, 'Casablanca'. Moreover, many of the people that love it don't particularly like ballet. Some actively dislike classical ballet. How can this be?

It is so successful because the directors pull so many of the arts together in one construct, each and all of them to an unsurpassed standard. Composer, musicians, choreographer, dancers, actors, stage designers, painters, lighting designers, studio technicians, cinematographer - all gave of their transcendent best to tell a universally well-loved, traditional folk-tale, related by one of the greatest storytellers of all time and to interpret it as a ten-hankie, love-story ballet movie.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By D. Parkin on 25 Oct. 2010
Format: Blu-ray
First of, a confession; I'm a Powell and Pressburger nut! Already owning this in standard DVD format - a print that was perfectly fine - I took the plunge and asked for this on Blu-ray as a birthday present, havingwatched an on-line preview of the restoration process. I sat down to watch it and was frankly blown away; I had expected to see some level of improvement, but the depth of clarity and colour that I was experiencing took my appreciation of this film to a whole new level. The extras are ok but skimpy and a tad thin, but this is more than made up for by the quality of the print. The sharpening of the sound was another revelation.
I was disinclined to update my existing collection of P & P movies to blu-ray prior to getting this, but having seen such a very real improvement in the presentation of this film I reckon I'll be looking to upgrade others as they become available.
The blu-ray print does credit to a great film. If you own a blu-ray player then you should buy this dvd, as it not only showcases the format in my opinion, but reminds us of why the greatest films are just that - great.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Michael Wailes on 31 July 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Not sure what I can add to the exemplary review above by pfvll.

A truly great film done the honour of a truly sensational restoration. I studied and admired the films of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger in the early nineties at a time when they were beginning to receive the recognition they deserved after years of neglect. I have to say I loved the look of the film then, but seeing it now with this brilliant restoration it gains so much texture and depth that really I have to take my hat off to the vision of everyone concerned, not only Powell, Pressburger and the cast, but Jack Cardiff and Hein Heckroth whose reputations gain most here.

Looks amazing on DVD, but I can't wait to check it out theatrically when it is reissued in December (and no, I don't work for the distributor - when you see the DVD you'll know what I mean).
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By C. O. DeRiemer HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on 5 Jun. 2007
Format: DVD
This is a magnificent movie, one of the most voluptuous ever filmed (in Technicolor), one of the most influential, and one of the most satisfyingly melodramatic. Every bit of it works. At the most simplistic, it's a fairy tale, Hans Christian Andersen's The Red Shoes, that takes place in a ballet, which is repeated in real life.

At the heart of the movie is Boris Lermontov (Anton Walbrook), the imperious impresario of The Ballet Lermontov. He can be cold, charming, ruthless. At a party he says, "If some fat harriden is going to sing, I must go. I can't stand amateurs." He's enigmatic except for his dedication to ballet. At that same party he meets Victoria Page (Moira Shearer), a young ballet dancer, and is intrigued by her.

"Why do you want to dance?" he asks her.

"Why do you want to live?"

"I don't know exactly why, but I must," he says.

"That's my answer, too."

He brings her into his ballet company and also hires Julian Craster, a young composer. Later, with three weeks to create a ballet, he has Craster compose the music to the story of The Red Shoes. Victoria Page will dance it. It is a triumph, but Page leaves the Ballet Lermontov to marry Craster. Lermontov is outraged and swears he'll never see her again. She needs to dance, though, and Lermontov slowly realizes he wants her back, completely dedicated to dancing, because he can make her a great dancer. He subtly woos her back to dance the ballet again, with tragic results.

The ballet of the red shoes is the story of a young girl, engaged to be married who loves to dance and longs to go the village fair. She spies a pair of red dancing shoes in the window of a shoemaker. Despite the reluctance of her fiance, she dons the shoes and begins to dance.
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