The Red Shoes (Powell, Pressburger, 1948)

I never thought I’d enjoy a story framed by a professional ballet troupe after seeing Robert Altman’s awful film The Company, but leave it up to masters Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger to prove me wrong. Their technicolor infused melodrama entitled The Red Shoes takes two rising talents, composer Julian Crastor (Marius Goring) and dancer Victoria Page (Norma Shearer), and shows their respective ascents to stardom thanks to the razor sharp support of infamous producer Boris Lermontov (Anton Walbrook). It’s a classic love triangle, but one tightened by the push pull relationship of love and sacrifice on the grand artistic vision at stake. The Red Shoes floats along at a whimsical pace, reveling in crisp hues of red, blue, and black, the colorful environment of the ballet enabling multiple hypnotic performances to parallel the emotion occurring behind the scenes. Fluff you say? Yes, but what beautiful and classy fluff it is.

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