The Red Shoes


(1948, Michael Powell, Emeric Pressberger)

Magical movie about the aspiration to create. It’s also beautifully filmed and imaginative throughout.

As for the story, this picture drips with overboard dramatics. For example, the following scene between Boris Lermontov (Anton Walbrook), the worldly ballet director, and ballerina Victoria Page (Moira Shearer):

Lermontov: Why do you want to dance?
Victoria: Why do you want to live?
Lermontov: Well, I don’t know exactly why, but… I must.
Victoria: That’s my answer too.

What makes exchanges like this work are that it is exactly the conversation that you’d expect from two talented and driven characters, both earnest and self-absorbed. Also, it doesn’t come off as campy, since these characters earn it, by being convincing in their excellence. Viewers will also buy into it because it’s a classic story of having to sacrifice art and love for convention.

You’ve got to be in the right mindframe, but it’s timeless and well worth repeated viewings. It’s only my second Powell/Pressberger flick, but I’m looking forward to more, as well as watching this one again. Great thanks to my friend, Alyssa, for loaning me this movie!



Posted on July 16, 2008, in Film log, Top 1000 and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Glad you liked it! I’m sure the disk was just happy to be taken out of the case!

    …For the first time. :-(

    Someday I’ll have to watch it again to see if I still like it as much as I did (and in the same way I did) when I was 17.

    A few years back I kept checking out “Black Narcissus” from the library, but I kept having to return it before we watched it (Sigh. Typical!)

    I just looked it up on IMDb (mostly because I always confuse the title with “Black Orpheus”), and, after reading the Plot Keywords, I now HAVE to watch “Black Narcissus.”

    Plot keywords:
    Garden Powell and Pressburger Fishing Aviary Drunkenness

    I don’t care if it’s about nuns; that sounds like one bitchin’ party movie!

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