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The Red Shoes (1948)

 -  Drama | Music | Romance  -  6 September 1948 (UK)
8.3
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 17,071 users  
Reviews: 128 user | 125 critic

A young ballet dancer is torn between the man she loves and her pursuit to become a prima ballerina.

Writers:

(fairy tale), (original screenplay), 3 more credits »
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Title: The Red Shoes (1948)

The Red Shoes (1948) on IMDb 8.3/10

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Won 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Marius Goring ...
Jean Short ...
Terry
Gordon Littmann ...
Ike
Julia Lang ...
A Balletomane
Bill Shine ...
Her Mate
Léonide Massine ...
Ljubov (as Leonide Massine)
Anton Walbrook ...
Austin Trevor ...
Prof. Palmer
...
Livy
Eric Berry ...
Dimitri
Irene Browne ...
Lady Neston
...
Ludmilla Tchérina ...
Boronskaja (as Ludmilla Tcherina)
Jerry Verno ...
Stage-Door Keeper
...
Ivan Boleslawsky
Edit

Storyline

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 <tterrace@wco.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Between her art ... and her dreams ... was her heart See more »

Genres:

Drama | Music | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

6 September 1948 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

De rode schoentjes  »

Box Office

Budget:

£500,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film went massively over budget and the Rank Company (which financed it and was to release it) had little faith in its commercial potential. It tried to bury the film by not giving it a premiere (backer J. Arthur Rank walked out of its first performance) and by just letting it quietly show at late screenings at a cinema in London. Rank wasn't even prepared to strike a print for the American market. Slowly, however, audiences started to pick up on the film and Rank realized that it might have a potential breakout hit after all. Indeed, when an initial print was made for the US, it played at an off-Broadway theater for an unprecedented 110 weeks. That was enough to convince Universal to take up the distribution rights for the US, which it did in 1951. See more »

Goofs

Near the end, when Vicky is getting ready to go on stage for "The Red Shoes" once again, she's wearing the red dancing shoes as she hesitates. But that play starts with the white dancing shoes; only during the play does her character find the red shoes and put them on.

However, this is not an accidental goof. This is essential to the plot and the director wants us to overlook this detail so that all the symbolism of Vicky wearing those red shoes while "unable to stop dancing" can be fully explored. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[holding doors closed]
Doorman: They're going mad, sir. It's the students.
[From outside]
Julian Craster: Down with tyrants!
Manager, Covent Garden: All right, let them in.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Arena: A Pretty British Affair (1981) See more »

Soundtracks

Giselle
(uncredited)
Music by Adolphe Adam
Arranged by Gordon Jacob
Played by rehearsal pianist
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
One of the best films of all time
23 April 2004 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

I am biased because I have loved this film ever since I was four years old. Some films, as you grow and age, lose their magic and you forget what made you love it as a child. This film has only strengthened my love and appreciation of it as I have grown older. I am not one to narrate a storyline, as this film is great for more than, and even despite, it's story.

The beautiful colour photography of the locations, including London, Paris and Monte Carlo, will take you back to a fictional glamorous 1940's where everyone wore chic clothes and were perfectly mannered and groomed and make you wish you could visit there sometime.

The music is a highlight for me. Brian Easdale has written such a detailed and nuanced lyrical score that does not overpower any moment in the film. There are moments where the music so perfectly conveys a character's very thought, even though they are not saying a word and their face betrays not a hint of emotion.

The story is a familiar one, particularly today, of ambition and the balance between career and personal life, between a creative passion and a human one. And of course, yes there is the ballet element. I have no interest in ballet and I love the film. It does play up the prima ballerinas and haughty choreographer stereotypes, but as they are played by real ballet dancers, I think it makes it all the funnier. Robert Helpmann and Leonide Massine are particularly hilarious and over the top, so full of pathos and themselves.

Anton Walbrook is the star of this film, playing a Diaghilev type character and absolutely dominates any scene he is in. He is not bombastic in a showy, hammy way. It is a more silent but deadly charismatic performance. It is a pity he did not receive an award for it. He is stern, uncompromising, cold and passionate and absolutely deadly. He is a gentleman tough guy.

Moira Shearer and Marius Goring, unfortunately do not fare so well in comparison, but they are perfectly adequate in their roles and have some touching and funny moments. It is not altogether their fault, the characters are a little bland, especially in comparison to all the other larger than life characters they are paired with. Shearer really comes good as soon as she starts dancing.

Which brings me to the fifteen minute ballet in the middle of the film. It is beautiful (and brief). The dancing is fabulous, it looks beautiful and the music is amazing. No one should fast forward this masterpiece of filmed ballet. It is cinematic, not (as filmed ballet usually is) procenium stage bound. It is a modern ballet, choreographed by Robert Helpmann and Leonide Massine and is a story, perhaps even a mirror, within and of the film.

The Red Shoes combines every one of it's elements into a perfect whole. Some elements are a bit lacking, the story is very simple and given another context a bit soap opera like, but combined with the visuals, the music, the characters and the human comedy-tragedy, it is a beautiful complete film and one that will keep improving with age.

10/10


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Why do you consider The Red Shoes a classic? RachelhkT
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