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The Red Shoes - Special Edition [DVD] 
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Bonus features on this special edition The Red Shoes DVD include: the "A Profile of The Red Shoes" documentary (25 mins); "The Ballet of The Red Shoes" featurette; Biographies; a behind the scenes stills gallery; English Hard of Hearing subtitles; and a theatrical trailer.
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 WalkerSee all Product description
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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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