The Red Shoes (1948)


Powell and Pressburger direct Anton Walbrook, Moira Shearer and Marius Goring in this technicolor look at life in the ballet.

An absolute classic – one of those film that on the surface seems some bright, light and chocolate box confection but swirls with grim undercurrents about artistic comittment, authorial control and poisonous infatuation. Walbrook is fantastic as the ballet director whose ideals for his art (and those talented enough to meet his exacting standards) are as unbending as his affection for those he moulds into greats. Shearer burns up the screen in her debut role – both her dancing and her allure are captivating. As for the central ballet performance, like the film itself, it is vibrantly and imaginatively filmed but its apparent whimsy barely conceals a dark, disturbingly unavoidable conclusion. Jack Cardiff’s cinematography is masterful, in fact all technical elements are hard to find any fault with.


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