The Red Shoes (1948)
[Before the curtain goes up on the premiere]
Livingstone 'Livy' Montagne: You're a magician, Boris. To have produced all this in three weeks, and from nothing.
Boris Lermontov: My dear Livy, not even the best magician in the world can produce a rabbit out of a hat if there is not already a rabbit in the hat.
Boris Lermontov: Don't forget, a great impression of simplicity can only be achieved by great agony of body and spirit.
[Describing the ballet of the Red Shoes]
Boris Lermontov: "The Ballet of The Red Shoes" is from a fairy tale by Hans Andersen. It is the story of a young girl who is devoured with an ambition to attend a dance in a pair of Red Shoes. She gets the shoes and goes to the dance. For a time, all goes well and she is very happy. At the end of the evening she is tired and wants to go home, but the Red Shoes are not tired. In fact, the Red Shoes are never tired. They dance her out into the street, they dance her over the mountains and valleys, through fields and forests, through night and day. Time rushes by, love rushes by, life rushes by, but the Red Shoes go on.
Julian Craster: What happens in the end?
Boris Lermontov: Oh, in the end, she dies.
Boris Lermontov: How would you define ballet, Lady Neston?
Lady Neston: Well, one might call it the poetry of motion perhaps, or...
Boris Lermontov: One might. But for me it is a great deal more. For me it is a religion. And one doesn't really care to see one's religion practised in an atmosphere... such as this.
Boris Lermontov: Why do you want to dance?
[Vicky thinks for a short while]
Victoria Page: Why do you want to live?
[Lermontov is suprised at the answer]
Boris Lermontov: Well I don't know exactly why, er, but I must.
Victoria Page: That's my answer too.
Grischa Ljubov: You can't alter human nature.
Boris Lermontov: No? I think you can do even better then that. You can ignore it!
Boris Lermontov: You cannot have it both ways. A dancer who relies upon the doubtful comforts of human love can never be a great dancer. Never.
[holding doors closed]
Doorman: They're going mad, sir. It's the students.
Julian Craster: Down with tyrants!
Manager, Covent Garden: All right, let them in.
Victoria Page: Julian?
Julian Craster: Yes, my darling?
Victoria Page: Take off the red shoes.
Julian Craster: Vicky?
Victoria Page: Julian I love you!
Julian Craster: But you love that more.
Julian Craster: One day when I'm old, I want some lovely young girl to say to me, "Tell me, where in your long life, Mr. Caster, were you most happy?" And I shall say, 'Well, my dear, I never knew the exact place. It was somewhere on the Mediterranean. I was with Victoria Page." "What?" she will say. "Do you mean the famous dancer?" I will nod. "Yes, my dear, I do. Then she was quite young, comparatively unspoiled. We were, I remember, very much in love."
Boris Lermontov: [to Julian Craster] It is worth remembering, that it is much more disheartening to have to steal than to be stolen from, hmmm?