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The Red Shoes (1948)

Not Rated | | Drama, Music, Romance | 6 September 1948 (UK)
Trailer
1:39 | Trailer
A young ballet dancer is torn between the man she loves and her pursuit to become a prima ballerina.

Writers:

Hans Christian Andersen (fairy tale), Emeric Pressburger (original screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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Won 2 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Anton Walbrook ... Boris Lermontov
Marius Goring ... Julian Craster
Moira Shearer ... Victoria Page
Robert Helpmann ... Ivan Boleslawsky
Albert Bassermann ... Sergei Ratov (as Albert Basserman)
Léonide Massine ... Grischa Ljubov (as Leonide Massine)
Esmond Knight ... Livy
Austin Trevor ... Professor Palmer
Irene Browne ... Lady Neston
Hay Petrie ... Boisson
Eric Berry Eric Berry ... Dimitri
Derek Elphinstone Derek Elphinstone ... Lord Oldham
Ludmilla Tchérina ... Irina Boronskaja (as Ludmilla Tcherina)
Marie Rambert Marie Rambert ... Madame Rambert (as Madame Rambert)
Michel Bazalgette Michel Bazalgette ... M. Rideaut
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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:

Dance she did, and dance she must - between her two loves See more »

Genres:

Drama | Music | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Goofs

The length of Julian's cigarette changes dramatically (gets longer and then gets much shorter than he could smoke it down to in the short time between shots) whilst he's playing the piano for Vicky in Lermontov's office. 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 »

Crazy Credits

The end of the film finishes with 'Finis' instead of 'The End'. See more »

Connections

Version of The Red Shoes (1983) See more »

Soundtracks

Swan Lake, Op.20: No.13 Danse Des Cygnes: II. Moderato Assai and VII. Coda: Allegro Vivo
(uncredited)
Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Played by an uncredited symphony orhestra
See more »

User Reviews

 
One of the best films of all time
23 April 2004 | by halloweenbikiniSee 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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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | French | Russian

Release Date:

6 September 1948 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

The Red Shoes See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

GBP500,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$30,165
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color (as Colour by) (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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