A Red Shoes Collection

3.2b. - The original film "The Red Shoes"

Back to Moments 3.2.

Date: Mon, 13-Sep-93 01:58:18 PDT
From: briarpatch!billy@uunet.UU.NET (Billy Green)
Subject: New Singles--some thoughts

To my mind, this song [BSL] falls squarely into context of "The Red Shoes" if placed in the mouth of Moira Shearer's character--her husband and the head of the ballet company both seduce her with these promises, but they are, in fact, tearing her to pieces.

(For those who haven't seen the film, it was the first film to speak poorly of the discipline and dedication required by ballet. The three central characters are a young ballerina, the head of a premiere ballet company and a young composer. The ballet company makes a bold move in commissioning a new ballet of "The Red Shoes" from this unknown composer, and it is to be danced by the unkown ballerina. The story of the ballet is this: a young girl wants more than anything to dance. A demonic shoemaker seduces her into trying on a pair of enchanted red shoes, and she begins to dance. She can't stop. She dances around the world, through beauty and terror. In the end, she comes back home, where she dies of exhaustion, and the shoemaker puts the red shoes back on display for someone else to buy--a parallel of the film's story. The ballerina falls in love with the composer. The head of the ballet company (who is secretly in love with her) makes her choose between her love for the dance and her love for the composer. She retires and marries the composer. When she returns for an revival of The Red Shoes, the head of the company tries to convince her to come out of retirement and rejoin the troupe. Her husband enters, and she is faced with the ultimate conflict: give her entire life to her husband (for he demands nothing less), or give her entire life to the dance. Rather than make the choice, she throws herself in front of a train. That evening, the orchestra plays the score while a spotlight shines on her red toe shoes. Very melodramatic, indeed.)


Date: Tue, 14 Sep 93 11:20:22 EDT
From: Andrew B Marvick <abm4@columbia.EDU>
Subject: TRS movie

IED doubts that there is any clear connection between Eat the Music and the movie The Red Shoes. There is certainly a close connection, however, between Eat the Music and The Song of Solomon. Both the imagery and the theme are similar.

Btw, The Red Shoes (movie, 1947) begins and ends with stylized images of candlesticks -- in the first the candle-flame is tall and bright, in the second, a single candle sputters in its candlestick.

N.B. Kate's choice of Candle in the Wind, her use of the candle as a symbol for the departed Alan Murphy in the Rocket Man video, and the inclusion of candles on the piano, next to a pair of red shoes, during her performance of Moments of Pleasure on the Aspel show last June. The use of the image as a symbol for death -- or more accurately, as a memorial for the dead -- is consistent in all of these cases.

-- Andrew Marvick (IED)


Date: Mon, 20 Dec 1993 12:03:29 +119304228 (AST)
From: Fiona McQuarrie <fmcquarr@upei.ca>
Subject: The *first* Red Shoes

This weekend my husband rented The Red Shoes - the original film by Michael Powell (he hates TRS the record so I think he was trying to restore his faith...)

I would HIGHLY recommend seeing it if your local video store has it. It's very depressing but the cinematography is excellent and the dancing is wonderful. While TRS the record is not based *too* closely on it, there are a lot of themes that are touched on in both - manipulation of talented women by exploitative men, devotion to art at the expense of personal life, getting into something that appears to be wonderful but turns out to be nightmarish.....

The centerpiece of the film is The Ballet of the Red Shoes, which is an amazing piece of work - quite dreamlike and scary and psychedelic.

Well worth an evening of your time.

Cheers, Fiona


Date: Wed, 4 Jan 1995 05:04:51 -0800
From: kandb@ix.netcom.com (Ben Miller & Kris Lyons)
Subject: Re: Red Shoes

I've seen the Red Shoes a couple times and bits and pieces of it more often. I think it is a wonderful, beautiful movie. Here is what influmential American Film critic Pauline Kael had to say about it:

The most "imaginative" and elaborate backstage musical ever filmed, and many have called it great. The film contains a 14-minute ballet, also called "The Red Shoes", based on a Hans Christian Andersen story about a wicked shoemaker who sells an enchanted pair of slippers to a young girl. Delighted at first with the slippers in which she dances joyously, she discovers that the slippers will not let her stop dancing and the bewitched, exhausted girl dies. The film's story is, of course, the same story, spelled out in more complicated terms, with the shoemaker of the ballet (Lonide Massine) replaced by the megalomaniac ballet impresario (Anton Walbrook). The exquisite young Moira Shearer is the ballerina; the cast includes Marius Goring as the young composer, Robert Helpmann, Albert Basserman, Ludmilla Tcherina, and Esmond Knight. Blubbery and self-conscious, but it affects some people passionately, and it's undeniably some kind of classic. Written, produced, and directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, master purveyors of high kitsch. Choreography by Helpmann; music by Brian Easdale; conducted by Sir Thomas Beecham.

On to Moments 3.3. - The Line, The Cross And The Curve

Written by Love-Hounds
compiled and edited
Wieland Willker
August 1995