Cowley Road, Oxford • 01865 245288 • info@uppcinema.com

The Red Shoes Rated U

Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's most celebrated Technicolor fairy-tale, The Red Shoes is both metaphor and melodrama of unparalleled boldness. So extravagantly theatrical a movie was regarded as simply unreleasable by the Rank Organisation back in 1948, but in spite of their attempted suppression it has long since been acknowledged as one of British cinema's landmark achievements.

Not only were Powell and Pressburger unorthodox enough to populate the cast with real ballet dancers (including the radiant Moira Shearer in the pivotal role), they built the whole film around an extraordinarily daring 17-minute ballet sequence in which the camera moves from outside the proscenium arch into a subjective whirl of impressionistic images inspired and informed by Brian Easdale's marvellous score. Only after seeing this, so the story goes, was Gene Kelly able to see how he could make An American in Paris.

The Red Shoes received positive reviews on release but this was not reflected in financial takings. The Rank Organisation could not afford to spend much on promotion due to severe financial problems exacerbated by the expense of Caesar and Cleopatra (1945). However, despite initial lack of sales it wound up the sixth most popular movie at the British box office in 1948.

'No wonder Britain, still rationed in color, food, and feeling in the wake of an exhausting war, could not cope with what the movie proposed. Catch it here now, and you will not just be seeing an old film made new; you will have your vision restored.' Anthony Lane, New Yorker

'It has a quicksilver grace and variation of mood unlike anything else you've seen.' Anthony Quinn, Independent


Share this!