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Under the authoritarian rule of charismatic ballet impressario Boris Lermontov, his proteges realize the full promise of their talents, but at a price: utter devotion to their art and complete loyalty to Lermontov himself. Under his near-obsessive guidance, young ballerina Victoria Page is poised for superstardom, but earns Lermontov's scorn when she falls in love with Julian Craster, composer of "The Red Shoes," the ballet Lermontov is staging to showcase her talents. Vicky leaves the company and marries Craster, but still finds herself torn between Lermontov's demands and those of her heart. Written by
Paul Penna <email@example.com>
Casting the role of Vicky Page was a tough call for Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. Ideally they wanted a ballerina who could act and who also had to be ravishingly beautiful. They were thrilled when they discovered Moira Shearer who was second to Margot Fonteyn at the famous Sadler's Wells Ballet, but she initially rebuffed them. In the year it took to persuade her to come round, the directors were forced to consider casting actresses like Ann Todd and Hazel Court, and cheating with a real ballerina in the ballet sequences. See more »
As Julian Craster walks to the theater, he is seen through an archway when a horse drawn cart passes. Stepping into the street he slips on what appears to be a fruit but doesn't fall, recovers and continues walking. See more »
[holding doors closed]
They're going mad, sir. It's the students.
Down with tyrants!
Manager, Covent Garden:
All right, let them in.
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`Why do you want to dance?' Anton Walbrook asks of Moira Shearer part way through Powell and Pressburger's inventive ballet film. `Why do you want to live?' is her cool response. Suggested by the Hans Christian Andersen story and a project long in development by P&P, this sumptuous colour production allows Shearer to display her excellent ballet skills alongside Robert Helpmann and Leonide Massine, and all three are excellent.
In fact, the `Red Shoes Ballet' alone is enough to recommend this movie in the strongest terms. Also in the cast is P&P regular Marius Goring, as the composer pushed aside for the lure of the stage. Walbrook, as the emotionless impresario who is only alive within the confines of his art, is superb, and perhaps only his role as Theo in `Colonel Blimp' served him better.
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