February 28, 2013
Before there was Black Swan there was The Red Shoes. Fans of the Natalie Portman movie might enjoy this classic film. The 1948 movie is directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburgeris and it stars Moira Shearer, Marius Goring, and Anton Walbrook.
Vicky Page (Shearer) is a young girl who quickly rises to stardom as an amazing ballerina, especially when she receives the lead role in the ballet ‘The Red Shoes’. Her passion for ballet is eagerly encouraged and controlled by the tyrannical director Lemontov (Walbrook). The promise of fame and fortune seem only a breath away from Lemontov until he discovers that Vicky has fallen in love with the incredibly gifted composer Julian (Goring). Now the struggle between ballet, love and life begins.
This movie is simply beautiful. The themes of obsession and love found in the Hans Christen Anderson story are eagerly played upon in this masterpiece. The change of Vicky from an eager, innocent ballerina to an obsessed and torn creature is so convincing. The writing emphasizes the themes and this characterization so easily, in a beautiful manner.
The cinematography is simply exquisite. The ballet scenes are so surreal and otherworldly, that it’s easy to see the symbolism of what is slowly happening in actuality the main character. The music really goes far in enhancing the tone of the movie and the intense scenes that pervade it. While the plot is very simple, the themes and acting easily compensate.
The ethereal dancing, the tangible emotional turmoil and the visuals of a moving painting make this movie a priceless artifact of the movie kingdom. The delicate simple plot is enchanting in a way that’s not often found in movies. Truly, it will take your breath away.