movie film review | chris tookey

Red Shoes

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  Red Shoes   Review
Tookey's Rating
7 /10
Average Rating
9.00 /10
Anton Walbrook , Moira Shearer , Marius Goring
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Directed by: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Written by: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger from their original story

Released: 1948
Genre: DRAMA
Origin: GB
Length: 136


The life and premature death of a ballerina (Moira Shearer).

Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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Powell and Pressburger's film is obviously some kind of a masterpiece, for its flamboyant use of colour, deep-focus photography, and sensational ballet sequences, beautifully danced by Moira Shearer, Leonide Massine and Robert Helpmann. Anton Walbrook and Shearer play their parts with conviction, and yet... the story doesn't add up. We are asked to believe there is some fatal incompatibility between getting married and being a ballerina, and this doesn't convince - especially if you know the personal histories of Pavlova or Fonteyn.
The central dramatic conflict is meant to be between Art and Romance. But Marius Goring here lives down to his unkind nickname of Marius Boring; he is hardly charismatic enough to personify Romance. As Art, Anton Walbrook is a good deal more plausible - but the 14-minute Red Shoes Ballet looks too modern and imaginative to have been choreographed by the stiff, old-fashioned authoritarian whom he impersonates.
Perhaps, as some critics have argued, the plot is a coded version of the homosexual affair between Diaghilev and Nijinsky, with Nijinsky's sex changed for the sake of propriety. Within a heterosexual context, the story becomes increasingly melodramatic and depressing, and there's no plausible reason for the final tragedy. Great production, shame about the plot.
It won Oscars for Art Direction and Set Design (Hein Heckroth, Arthur Lawson), and Best Score (Brian Easdale). Reginald Mills's editing was also nominated. Other important contributions were by Jack Cardiff (cinematography) and Robert Helpmann (choreography).
"It was a miserable experience."
(Moira Shearer, 1949)

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