Sunday, January 3, 2010

Day 299: The Red Shoes (1948) - Rank 4/5


Just for the record, I love Technicolor films, and "The Red Shoes" is a prime reminder as to why. Almost every scene of the film is positively saturated with every color of the rainbow. The very nature of the plot is also conducive to ample stunning visuals, for its a story within a story adaptation of the fairy tale by the same name. The original fairy tale tells of a girl who is compelled to dance once she puts on a pair of enchanted ballet shoes. The film surrounds a young dancer, Vicky Page (Moira Shearer), who desires to be a famous ballerina and is given just that chance by the nefarious Boris Lermontov, whose desires to feature her in his next production are as unscrupulous as you can imagine. While working under Lermontov, Vicky falls in love with his composer, Julian, and soon Lermontov and Julian are competing for the vivacious dancer. Ah, but they learn all too late that her first love is dancing.

I mentioned the "story within a story" motif - it just so happens that the ballet that shoots Vicky to stardom is Julian's adaptation of "The Red Shoes." The film switches back and forth between reality and the world of the ballet. Furthermore, the structure of the plot condemns Vicky to a life as tortured as that of her leading role. Between these parallel storylines operating simultaneously and the clever switches back and forth between reality and fiction, "The Red Shoes" feels ahead of its time in terms of writing and direction.

Watch the Trailer

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