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on April 20, 2004
This review is for the Criterion Collection DVD edition of the film.
This film is well known and the first technicolor film about ballet. It is based loosely on the Hans Christian Andersen tale of the same name. In this version, a ballerina with great potential is forced to make a decision between her promising career and her lover. The film has a famous 15 minute ballet sequence that has been adored throughout the ages.
The DVD includes the following special features.
A slide show of martin scorsese's collection of lobby cards related to the film.
Theatrical trailer
Slide show of publicity and production photos
series of paintings with alternate angle shot that has side by side comparisons between the ballet sequence with the storyboard paintings.
a partial Powell & Pressburger filmography with photos and clips of some of their films. (some of which were subsequently released by Criterion Collection
full length audio commentary
audio of Jeremy Irons reading the Andersen tale and excerpts of film novelization by Powell & Pressburger.
The films of Powell & Pressburger have been imitated many times by modern filmmakers and this isno exception.
a must for ballet enthusiasts and Criterion fans.
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This is a DVD release of a movie that was originally filmed in 1948. "The Red Shoes" is about a ballet company owned by Boris Lermontov (Anton Walbrook) He discovers a unknown composer, Julian Craster (Marius Goring), and a new leading ballerina, Victoria Page (Moira Shearer), to play the lead in a new ballet called "The Red Shoes". This is basically the oft repeated story of joyous success and love followed by separation and tragedy.

Whether you like this movie or not will depend on what you are looking for. If you wanted a show of some historical significance that was considered a ground-breaking achievement at its time, then this may be a show that you will really enjoy. To a movie-buff/collector this would probably be looked upon as an archival gem.

If, you are looking for great acting then I'd advise you to spend your money elsewhere. The plot is not bad, but, really, the acting by today's standards is mediocre at best, although there is some good dancing in this show by Ms. Shearer.

All in all, an expensive DVD. Not what I was looking for. I hope these comments will be useful to you if you are considering purchasing this disc.
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on August 27, 2004
First of all, I enjoy a good movie of any vintage but generally prefer the movies of yesterday ie from the classic silents to
the noirs, westerns and epics of the 40s, 50s and early 60s.
Engaging storylines, characters you can invest in emotionally & compotent direction are, in my humble opinion, elements found less and less in recent years.
The Archers clearly need no introduction to even the most casual of film buffs. I own and enjoy several other Powell/
Pressburger titles eg BLACK NARCISSUS, COLONEL BLIMP, etc. Recently purchased RED SHOES from Amazon Marketplace (I won't identify the seller) thinking I was getting a great deal on the
Criterion edition but instead received a no-name, no-label
Asian import version. Terrible transfer of both sound and picture. Would not read on one of my DVD players, froze after
one hour on a second one ... I finally got through the whole movie on a cheap player and a 14" screen. Would expect to find a disk of this quality in the $4.99 bin at our local Walmart.
With regards the movie, as others have written, not one of the
Archers' stonger efforts but the Red Shoes ballet sequence is
truly breathtaking ... I'll probably shell out the big bucks &
purchase the Criterion for this sequence alone.
Hope this saves somebody $23.49
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on August 24, 2010
I think this movie really is in a league of its own. The story, ballet scenes, music, acting are all great. I've read some reviews regarding the quality of the picture. Criterion did a wonderful job restoring the picture. The picture quality is amazing and there aren't any scratches or dust particles that show up on the screen.

There's a little sticker shock, but definately worth it. And it includes a whole bunch of extras. The film really is a gem in my eyes, and I recommend it to film buffs everywhere.
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on July 19, 2014
Short and sweet. The restoration work on this movie is simply astounding! It looks like it was made yesterday...only better...because of the beautiful 3 strip Technicolor hues that you never see any more. The picture is sharp as a tack. The sound is also good, although not to the same level as the picture, given the limitations of the day. I have never been as "crazy" about The Red Shoes as some people. However, after reading so many positive comments about this Blu-Ray I decided I had to finally purchase it and am very glad it did. If you want to see what Technicolor was in its glory, then this is the film for you. If you want to see what sort of restoration work is possible on a classic film, then this is the movie for you. Needless to say, if you are a fan or the film, do not hesitate.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon October 16, 2010
The Russian ballet has come to town and due to circumstance; a student Julian Craster (Marius Goring) becomes a brilliant composer. An orphan Victoria Page (Moira Shearer) protected by a patron of the arts has an opportunity to become a great dancer. Neither the composer nor the dancer wants anything more. Together under the direction of the company owner Boris Lermontov (Anton Walbrook), they create the perfect ballet "The Red Shoes".

The story of the ballet is base on a story of Hans Christian Anderson. It is about a girl infatuated with a par of dancing shoes. She places them on her feet. Moreover, begins dancing. When she tires, the shoes insist on dancing g and do so through time until her demise. You will find that there is more depth to the story than just a real life reflection of Anderson's story.

The only requirement of the company owner is that everyone focuses on their career and not fall in love. When the ballerina and the composer do just that, it raises the ire of the company owner. He forms a scheme to what end?

This film is an Archer film and holds true to the quality and entertainment value. I suggest you watch the Criterion version. There is a 19194 voice over commentary, by film historian Ian Christie with interviews of Marius Goring, Moira shearer, Jack Cardiff, Brian Easdale, and Martin Scorsese.

There is also a voice over reading of the Powell and Pressburger novelization of "The Red Shoes".

The Criterion version did not clean up all the film scratches. If this hits Blu-ray, I hope they will leave in all the criterion extras but clean up the scratches.

A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire
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on June 1, 2004
Directors Powelland Pressburger collaborated in a number of films but The Red Shoes tops them all. This 1948 TechniColor movie has become a classic and lovers of the ballet fondly look to this film for inspiration. Stars ballerina turned actress Moira Shearer as Victoria Page the tragic heroine who wears the fatal shoes, Antal Walbrook as the demanding and imperious manager/impresario Boris Lentmontov. The film is drawn from the Hans Christian Anderson tale, in which a young girl is given red shoes by a shop keep only to dance herself to death. The film never even borders on magic realism nor is over the top but maintains a subtle psychological drama that turns grotesque into a climatic and grim finale.
Moira Shearer's performance is Oscar worthy. Vicky Page learns from Lentmontov all the right stuff to be a dedicated dance artist. But the ballet is second in her heart when she falls in love with a young composer/conductor. Distracted by love, Lentmontov worries that he has lost his greatest star. The crisis is even greater because apparently, cold though he is, Lentmontov falls for Vicky himself. Anton Walbrook delivers a great performance as Lentmontov. He would later take on the role of King Ludwig of Bavaria in the French Max Ophuls film "Lola Montes". There is an extended ballet sequence, the original ballet "The Red Shoes" which makes use of magic animation and colorful backdrops. This film is genius and art. A great film to be shown in ballet history class or dance classes. This is also a caution film. Perhaps it's unwise to seek artistic perfection. It's ultimately Victoria Page's own fault for her tragedy. The Red Shoes is a metaphor. She became a slave to her art and it destroyed her. Her indecision cost her greatly. Which is greater ? Perfection in her ballet career or true love ? Torn by her love of ballet and her love for Julian, she meets a dire fate. This movie is incredible. All the scenes, dialogue are artistic composition. The film was shot in European locations, including London and Paris.
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on August 18, 2003
The Red Shoes was inspired by the dark fairy tale of Hans Christian Anderson. Anderson's story involved a doomed heroine who puts on red shoes and dances against her will until she collapses and dies. This melodramatic tale is taken to 1940's London where Victoria Page (played by ballerina/actress Moira Sheer) meets with the perfectionist and successful impresario of a famous ballet company, Lentmontov. Victoria Page's rise to stardom is a must see for ballet fans. First in the corps de ballet (or chorus line) she meets with Lentmontov's approval and becomes an accomplished prima ballerina. The film is shot in various European locales- such as the Paris Opera in Paris where numerous ballets are performed, as well as the sunny coast of Monte Carlo. The rest of the film deals with Victoria's romance with the composer and orchestra conductor Julian. She is deeply in love with him, but torn between her desire for perfection in her own career (forced upon her by the demanding Lentmontov) and by her heart. Tragically, Victoria's fate is like the titular heroine in Anderson's fairy tale "The Red Shoes" and before our very eyes we are witness to her demise through dance. She literally dances to her death.
Highlights in the film include the various scenes from ballets such as Giselle, Swan Lake and Coppelia, but this film is mot famous for the captivating original ballet "The Red Shoes". Amidst dizzying neon lights and foreboding landscapes, Victoria Page dances with the red shoes until she dies and a funeral procession breaks out. But this, in the context of the film, is merely a metaphor. The Red Shoes represent the ballet, and most directly, Victoria Page's situation. She loves the ballet but she does not want to give up her true love with Julian. According to Lentmontov, one cannot be distracted by love. All that matters is the ballet. Victoria's indecision ultimately costs her life. This film is well made, beautiful to look at and provides us with excellent melodrama. Moira Sheer has appeared in other Powell and Pressburger films such as their version of "Tales Of Hoffman" in early 1950's. Five stars and a must see for ballet fans or just cinema fans interested in classic masterpieces that are not as acknowledged.
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How to explain magic? Some movies have it but most don't. When I first saw this film long ago at the Hamilton Theater on the South Side of Chicago, I felt its enchantment almost from the first scene until the tragic conclusion. Frankly, at that age, I really didn't fully understand (much less appreciate) what I had just seen but I knew it was something quite special. And so it remains decades later. To some extent based on one of Hans Christian Andersen's tales, this film examines the brief and tragic career of a young ballerina, Victoria Page (Moira Shearer), who becomes an international celebrity following her performance of The Red Shoes while a member of the Lermontov Ballet Company. Shearer's performance is most credible when she dances, of course, but at least adequate when delivering her lines. The strongest performances are those of Marius Goring (Craster) and Anton Walbrook (Lermontov) who portray men in love with the same woman. The plot is really insignificant to the music and especially to the dancing. I also enjoy the exterior shots in London and Paris in the late-1940s. For me, the 15-minute ballet sequence is among the most enjoyable audiovisual experiences on film and was perhaps an inspiration for the extended dream sequence in An American in Paris three years later.
One final comment. Perhaps I have been spoiled by the quality of other DVDs (sound/image quality and/or special features) but nonetheless share the disappointment of others with the production quality of this DVD. The glitches are minor but a distraction.
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on June 12, 2003
My general comment is that this is a grand and beautiful movie. It is very entertaining. There have been some wonderful dance sequences in the movies, but none have surpassed "The Red Shoes Ballet" within this movie.
The rest of this review is rather esoteric, and I apologize for that, but it may be useful to those interested in Dance.
This is a must-have for anyone interested in Ballet History. While it is not a true story, Boris Lermontov is clearly based on Serge Diaghilev, down to the funny white streak in his hair. Moira Shearer playes the lead ballerina Victoria Page. Shearer, of Sadler's Wells, exhibits her geniune and compelling technique. The Lermontov/Page relationship echos that of Diaghilev and Nijinsky or perhaps Mr. B. and his girls. The crazy genius choreographer and dancer Leonide Massine has a wonderful part, and there is a little cameo appearance of Marie Rambert in the Mercury Theatre. See this movie and watch for other interesting parallels and tidbits!
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