The Red Shoes (Restoration Edition) (Blu-Ray)
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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?
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I was blown away by the film and immediately purchased this special edition on DVD. The film is based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairytale 'The Red Shoes' which is essentially about a girl who is condemned to dance for eternity as she is unable to remove her red shoes.
Moira Shearer plays Victoria Page in the film-a ballerina who is recruited by a ruthless and ambitious Boris Lermontov, to lead the Ballet Lermontov after his prima ballerina leaves the company to be married. Vicky is to become the star of the new ballet 'The Red Shoes' however she falls in love with the young composer Julian Craster and is torn between her desire to become a great dancer and her desire to be with Julian-something which is heavily frowned upon by Boris Lermontov.
Whilst the film was released in 1948 it does not feel like an old film at all-it is timeless. The beautiful Moira Shearer looks amazing in technicolour with her shock of red hair and the colours of the stage productions are spellbinding. The film contains what I personally consider to be one of the most romantic scenes in film history and I love the fact it contains part of the Swan Lake ballet and the Swan Lake theme by Tchaikovsky as that is my favourite ballet.
The special edition features a short documentary which reveals the film is held in high regard by Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola-if that isn't a ringing endorsement of a film then I don't know what is! I would definitely place this film in my top ten films of all time-it is magical, majestic, magisterial and marvellous!
I probably wish I’d bought the more recent ‘special restored edition’ instead, but this decent DVD (with the red cover) does have a couple of nice extras - ‘The Ballet of the Red Shoes’ with accompanying storyboard designs by artist Hein Heckroth, and a 25 minute documentary.
Not a film anyone can afford to miss: but don't watch it as a straight simple storytelling movie; it is a lot more than that.
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