Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Red Shoes (1948)

Hi!  We're back from our vacation.  We had a really great time.  And now we are back reviewing films.  Today's film is The Red Shoes.  I am especially looking forward to watching this because I love ballet films.

The film is inspired by the ballet of the Red Shoes, which is loosely based on the fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson.  When I say "fairy tale", I don't mean a cute bedtime story for kids.  I mean a cautionary tale where the main character dies.  Moira Shearer plays the star ballerina, Victoria Page.  She is fantastically beautiful.  The director of the ballet troupe, Lermontov, sees great promise in her and helps her to become the very best dancer she can be.  You can tell he has feelings for her but I don't know if Victoria sees that.

The actual ballet in this film is amazing and beautiful.  The backdrops are painted and there's a combination of the stage, the fields, and the ocean that is mixed nicely.  The ballet took over 6 weeks to film.  I think that even people who are not fans of ballet will enjoy this particular scene.

Vicki falls in love with the ballet's composer, Julian Craster.  Lermontov gets jealous of him and kicks him out.  Unfortunately, Vicki goes with Julian and marries him.  I think Julian is jealous of Vicki's artistic talent.  She was a great ballerina star and he was just a composer that was known for writing her first ballet.  That's it.  Vicki goes back to Lermontov's ballet troupe and begs to dance again.  Of course he's going to let her because he still likes her.  But jealous Julian can't have that.   He refuses to let her dance in any ballet and blackmails her feelings by telling her that if she dances, she doesn't really love him and he'll leave.  What kind of asshole does that?  Vicki wants to be able to pursue her dream, because it is just as valid as Julian's dream to be a composer.  But she just cannot handle it and leaps from a balcony, wearing her red shoes.  The symbolism of the red shoes in the ballet has shown itself again in Vicki's death.  I thoroughly enjoyed this film, not just for the ballet, but for the jealousy, the drama, and the art.  I will give it an 8/10.

1 comment:

  1. This is a film that suffered from my too high expectations for it. I had heard of it even before I really got into watching older movies. Scorcese shows up periodically on TCM talking about how when he saw it as a kid it changed his life. I've heard nothing bad about it.

    So going in I don't know what I was expecting, but I guess I would just say "more". I liked the film well enough, but I ended up feeling disappointed a little because it wasn't all I'd been hoping for.