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The Red Shoes [DVD] (Special Edition)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 50 REVIEWERon 8 October 2014
The Red Shoes is a fantastic film, a real hybrid mixing romantic melodrama with an essay on what makes great art, both presenting one and being one in its own right. The crux of the film is the ballet of The Red Shoes, to music written by Julian Craster, which is 17 minutes of pure magic in the middle of the film. All boundaries dissolve during this section, the characters seem limitless in their movements against ever-shifting, visionary backdrops. The story itself is taken from Hans Christian Andersen, and is then grafted onto the real-life story of the ballerina, such that she becomes subject to mystical forces - the power of art - which in this case propel her into a extraordinary conclusion. To the extent that the love triangle between Moira Shearer's ballerina, the impresario, and Craster is banal, it perfectly fits the art/life dichotomy, but it is not really banal, but lit by shafts of extraordinary technicolor light playing on fabulous sculpted figures, arched windows, and a glistening sea at night. Outfits and stage life are colourful at all times, and the set design is amazingly lush and quite expressionistic, while also keeping one foot in the real world.

Powell and Pressburger have a unique gift for locating the blazing heart of their material, which always seems on the verge of utter strangeness, yet remains in the world of observation of real life. Each film is a statement like no other, here giving rise to one of the most vivid fantasy films ever made, one that runs La belle et la bete a very close second. The final moments are so unusual, the visuals combining with the female singing voice on the soundtrack in a touch that would be too bizarre for most directors. Shearer is brilliant as are her two male co-stars, and there is a gallery of secondary roles that match the saturated colours to perfection.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 15 December 2009
I've seen the movie today, and (shame on me?), it was the first time. What a treat! I just can't agree with the ridiculous comments about the excess of drama in this film (in the amazon/stubbs reviews), which may come from the not-so-stereo-and-very-typical English embarrassment about drama and explicitly showcased deep emotions (!?). Drama is the subtle, repressed backdrop of the whole film, which starts coming to the fore when Lermontov dares to manifest his own (peculiar, artistic.. or not only artistic? Certainly fetishistic!) love for Vicky: the final sequence, despite breaking out of a scene that seems to lead to something completely different, actually reinstates the fantastic atmosphere of the ballet, and provides a strong image of the drama of choosing, and of choosing between art and love. It is a powerful sequence that states the impossibility of that choice, and the pain that is involved in realising that impossibility. I suppose some souls succumb (in different ways) to that sense of impossibility, others don't. It's a really powerful, strong, human sequence (and film). If one should find a minor critique to the film's structure in regards to this narrative core (the choice between art and love), it is that the theme of 'art' is masterly developed and analysed from various points of view, while the 'love' theme isn't develop as much. But, to be honest, it's really a minor defect, when you have this cinematography, these scenarios, these screenplay, this score, and the sense of great unity that comes form the whole of it. Yes, the ballet scene are something 'to die for' (ahem..), and loads of contemporary visionary film-makers must have learnt quite a few tricks here. It's the magic of the red shoes, the demonic possession of art and love, that breaks through reality, like this movie did for me today. So, don't be afraid of drama and treat yourself to this ACM (Absolute Classic Masterpiece)! Ps I think the restoration looks stunning, but naturally one can start another debate about that...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 16 February 2009
Not being a huge fan of older films I was not sure what to expect from `The Red Shoes', a film that my partner chose for us to watch. The first thing you notice that it is a true technocolour film and has the bright look of the post war era. Powell and Pressberger had a distinct directing style during this era and it is highlighted in this film. `Red Shoes' tells the story of an ambitious ballerina, an upcoming composer and a driven ballet director. They all have passion and talent, but who will succeed in getting what they want? With brilliant Art Direction the director/producer/writer team take you on a journey of dance and passion.

I have to say that I enjoyed the film, especially in terms of look and feel, even though probably aimed at a female audience. It has the slight stand offish feel of British films of the era with everyone being polite and often aloof. However, the theatrical setting allows Powell and Pressberger to introduce more eccentric characters that lighten the tone. The story itself is a little weak in my opinion as it has an ending that I did not really agree with. However, taken into account the era the film was release the direction is excellent. The visual spectacle of the ballet at the heart of the film still looks good today. Perhaps if more time had been spent fleshing out the core story then the film would have worked better on that level. Individual roles are played well with real life dancer Moira Shearer being a capable actress. I believe that Anton Walbrook, as the obsessed manager, is the best acting in the film with his intense nature clearly hiding deep passions just below the surface - great acting no matter if it over 60 years old.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 18 November 2011
Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's masterpiece The Red Shoes is one of my all-time favourite films. Whilst the film did not receive the recognition (or commercial success) it deserved on release, subsequent championing, not least by Martin Scorsese, has (hopefully) convinced critics and audiences alike of its true qualities.

The film is centred around the 'love triangle' between Victoria Page (played by Norma Shearer, the famous ballerina), Juilan Crastner (Marius Goring) and Boris Lermontov (Anton Walbrook), the director of the leading ballet company, the Ballet Lermontov. Page is torn between her love for the music composer Crastner, and her love for ballet dancing (and indirectly for Lermontov himself). These three roles are all played to perfection by the respective actors, with (for me) Walbrook turning in his crowning career performance (even exceeding that in Powell and Pressburger's Colonel Blimp).

But, whilst the acting in the film is superb, it is of course the art direction, and particularly the use of colour photography (as directed by the masterful Jack Cardiff), for which the film is justly renowned. Indeed, Hein Heckroth and Arthur Lawson won an Oscar for the art direction, as indeed did Brian Easdale for the music score. The film is absolutely beautiful to watch combining its core element of ballet dancing with the narrative's inherent drama, tragedy and, indeed, humour.

An absolute joy to watch.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 21 August 2012
The Red Shoes is beautifully directed and mesmerising delve into the world of Ballet. Following two characters a rising star and a music composer. The film perfectly captures the ballet world with it's eccentric characters, ballet dancers and the obsessed owner who considers the dancers his possessions. Although the story is less about ballet than the characters whose lives are sucked into it: Jean Short as Terry in one memorable dance scene she enters into a half real and half dreamlike dance that enters into the realm of fantasy and Marius Goring as Julian Craster equally obsessed with creating perfect music. Admittedly three quarters way through the film it loses some of its momentum and becomes too melodramatic but this is still a gripping piece of cinema. Boasting beautiful sets, costumes and dancing the film flies by and remains one the best Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger collaborations that ranks with their equally amazing Black Narcissus. ITV's transfer is brilliant and does the film justice it deserves.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 7 June 2010
This is the 4th Red Shoes that I have purchased and I am glad to say it adds a further dimension.
All have been good but this copy has even more interesting extras. We now have the stars of the film plus Jack Cardiff and composer Brian Easdale in audio commentary with film historian Ian Christie. Plus excerps from Powell/Pressburgers novelisation of the film read by Jeremy Irons who also reads Hans Christian Andersens original story.
Plus publicity and behind-the-scene stills etc. etc. This is a very satisfying copy of The Red Shoes in every way and I am sure it will please fans of the film.
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on 10 June 2011
A stunning film of virtuoso Ballet featuring Moira Shearer and Robert Helpman, and presented in a 2 Disc set, with an introduction by Martin Scorsese and Thelma Schoonmaker. It was an award winning Restored film at the Cannes Festival of 2009. In the special features Darcy Bussell, principal dancer of the Royal Ballet at that time (2009)gives a charming interview, and the Grandsons of Emeric Pressburger Kevin and Andrew Macdonald, discuss the background of the film, which was concieved in 1938, but not realised untill 1948. Micheal Powell had met Pressburger in America before they formed a partnership 'The Arhers' films after the war in Britain. Christian Roth the Grandson of Hein Heckroth, painter and set designer, discusses the concept of 'dying for one's Art', and director of photography Chris Challis discusses Heckroth's way of designing from paintings, and many of these are featured as a slide show.

The Ballet within a Ballet is the 17 minute 'Red Shoes', based on the Hans Anderson fairy tale of the shoes that once put on can not be taken off, and carry on dancing until the young woman dies of exhaustion. It was said to have influenced Gene Kelly with his American in Paris sequence. The fate of the Ballerina Vicki Page comes true, when torn between her love of dancing and submissive loyalty to her composer husband Julian Craster (Marius Goring), she flees from the theatre just before her performance down hundreds of steps to fling herself over the balcony in Monaco, which had been the scene of their romance, into the path of a steam train.

Leonide Massine plays the Ballet Master, and Anton Wallbrook is the hard Russian company Impresario who demands 100% commitment from his dancers. Beautiful Ludmilla Tcherina plays the principal in his company who leaves to be married, sorrowfull, but without conflict. There are many interesting Retro features, and maybe outdated social considerations, but the breathtaking special effects and Artisic innovations place this film in the present day.

The haunting, and energetic score was composed by Brian Easdale, and conducted by Sir Thomas Beecham. Many of the cast featured again in The Tales of Hoffman in 1951. Perhaps the greatest tradgedy, is not in the script, but the fact that the Rank Organisation refused to release it in Britain in 1948, and it was an American, William Hineman who presented it in his small New York Cinema where it ran for two years becomming one of the most successful films ever made.
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VINE VOICEon 25 April 2010
The Russian ballet has come to town and due to circumstance; a student Julian Craster (Marius Goring) becomes a brilliant composer. An orphan Victoria Page (Moira Shearer) protected by a patron of the arts has an opportunity to become a great dancer. Neither the composer nor the dancer wants anything more. Together under the direction of the company owner Boris Lermontov (Anton Walbrook), they create the perfect ballet "The Red Shoes".

The story of the ballet is base on a story of Hans Christian Anderson. It is about a girl infatuated with a par of dancing shoes. She places them on her feet. Moreover, begins dancing. When she tires, the shoes insist on dancing g and do so through time until her demise. You will find that there is more depth to the story than just a real life reflection of Anderson's story.

The only requirement of the company owner is that everyone focuses on their career and not fall in love. When the ballerina and the composer do just that, it raises the ire of the company owner. He forms a scheme to what end?

This film is an Archer film and holds true to the quality and entertainment value. I suggest you watch the Criterion version. There is a 19194 voice over commentary, by film historian Ian Christie with interviews of Marius Goring, Moira shearer, Jack Cardiff, Brian Easdale, and Martin Scorsese.

There is also a voice over reading of the Powell and Pressburger novelization of "The Red Shoes".

The Criterion version did not clean up all the film scratches. If this hits Blu-ray, I hope they will leave in all the criterion extras but clean up the scratches.

A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire
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VINE VOICEon 3 September 2011
The Russian ballet has come to town and due to circumstance; a student Julian Craster (Marius Goring) becomes a brilliant composer. An orphan Victoria Page (Moira Shearer) protected by a patron of the arts has an opportunity to become a great dancer. Neither the composer nor the dancer wants anything more. Together under the direction of the company owner Boris Lermontov (Anton Walbrook), they create the perfect ballet "The Red Shoes".

The story of the ballet is base on a story of Hans Christian Anderson. It is about a girl infatuated with a par of dancing shoes. She places them on her feet. Moreover, begins dancing. When she tires, the shoes insist on dancing g and do so through time until her demise. You will find that there is more depth to the story than just a real life reflection of Anderson's story.

The only requirement of the company owner is that everyone focuses on their career and not fall in love. When the ballerina and the composer do just that, it raises the ire of the company owner. He forms a scheme to what end?

This film is an Archer film and holds true to the quality and entertainment value. I suggest you watch the Criterion version. There is a 19194 voice over commentary, by film historian Ian Christie with interviews of Marius Goring, Moira shearer, Jack Cardiff, Brian Easdale, and Martin Scorsese.

There is also a voice over reading of the Powell and Pressburger novelization of "The Red Shoes".
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on 26 March 2011
I ordered this (the 2 disc special restoration edition) and the same day it arrived the the BBC broadcast the film. I was a bit fed up until I saw the broadcast. The version shown on TV (and iPlayer) is horribly soft and lacking in detail, has washed out colours, low contrast and the sound is badly distorted in some places. It compares very badly with this DVD whose picture is vivid, sharp, detailed, saturated and contrasty with an excellent soundtrack. This is another excellent restoration from itv, the BFI and others; it's as good as their restoration of Criterion Collection: Black Narcissus [DVD] [1947] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

It's refreshing to find a film like this has benefited from a great deal of care and expertise before being re-issued. It shows a lot of respect for everyone who made this film and as a customer I feel valued as well, as opposed to being just another sucker to be separated from his cash (this bad feeling too often accompanies the purchase of classic movies on DVD). This edition of The Red Shoes is outstanding, and a model of how to make a great re-release of a classic movie.
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