Jump to content
 
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

"THE RED SHOES"


Recommended Posts

Yeah, my heart goes out to all three leads for the unhappiness they're experiencing. I don't really root for one over the other. It's one of those movies, and I'm sure this has been a thread topic before, that I watch and somehow get wrapped up in the fantasy that the ending will be different this time.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I absolutely love "The Red Shoes".   There are so many great things about this movie but I am really amazed by the 17 minute ballet scene which mixes amazing dancing by Moira Shearer with fantastic camera work.   In  the scene, she dances with a man who turns into a newspaper then continues to dance unable to stop.  This film captures the obsessive passion these artists have for there craft that threatens to overwhelm their personal lives.  I won't miss it Monday night!

image.jpeg.e4e0de3ccccd249a062c574423db094b.jpeg

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, Toto said:

I absolutely love "The Red Shoes".   There are so many great things about this movie but I am really amazed by the 17 minute ballet scene which mixes amazing dancing by Moira Shearer with fantastic camera work.   In  the scene, she dances with a man who turns into a newspaper then continues to dance unable to stop.  This film captures the obsessive passion these artists have for there craft that threatens to overwhelm their personal lives.  I won't miss it Monday night!

image.jpeg.e4e0de3ccccd249a062c574423db094b.jpeg

Yes,   the ballet sequence is wonderfully done,  it's the best part of the movie.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, misswonderly3 said:

SPOILER:  also,  the other thing that really annoys me about The Red Shoes,  is the way Vicky is forced to decide between her dance career or her love for Julian.  I know it was made in 1948,  when attitudes around women combining a career and marriage were very very different than they are today.  But even acknowledging that,  I just think it's so unnecessary that Vicky feels she has to throw herself in front of a train  ( no, wait,  the shoes did it !) rather than decide what to do.  Why didn't she just tell Julian she was committed to dance, at least for that performance, and they'd work things out afterwards ?   A very mundane and boring solution,   I know.    But everyone in the film is so damn earnest !  It just irritates me. Sorry, I do respect that you and many others here are huge fans of the film. 

I must confess, I too and no big fan of the movie. Don't necessarily agree with your assessment here. I don't see this as a gender issue. No man or woman can really have it all. A craft ( or any discipline for that matter) that requires singular focus means time spent. Time spent one place is time that necessarily cannot be spent somewhere else. This is just what it is. Businessperson, athlete, artist et al. If you are spending 24 hours a day 7 days a week working towards a goal you are not somewhere else. If you are not a singular those around you suffer that. If you give the people around you the time, love and attention they need you often cannot reach the zenith of personal goals. Call it sacrifice if you will, but one or the other is sacrificed. The myth of balance is just that IMHO, a myth. Balance means nothing gets your 100%. This unkind reality that haunts seekers of greatness and those that are forced to abandon it in the interest of Sacred duties  is not the sole custody of any one gender assignment.

Just one man's opinion

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Toto said:

I absolutely love "The Red Shoes".   There are so many great things about this movie but I am really amazed by the 17 minute ballet scene which mixes amazing dancing by Moira Shearer with fantastic camera work.   In  the scene, she dances with a man who turns into a newspaper then continues to dance unable to stop.  This film captures the obsessive passion these artists have for there craft that threatens to overwhelm their personal lives.  I won't miss it Monday night!

image.jpeg.e4e0de3ccccd249a062c574423db094b.jpeg

I hate to be the one to tell you, Toto, but it was last Monday that the film aired.

  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

MissWonderly and Cineman:  some thought-provoking comments on this so far.

I wonder, though, if we take this line a bit further it may come back to what I think is the integral aspect of the whole film.  For what has happened by the time we see those final scenes of the three main characters?  Vicky has been drawn back into Lermontov's world while Julian has escaped it.  Now, at the moment of his success, Julian has left England to try to get back his wife.  Lermontov is trying to convince Vicky that her place can only be at the mountain-top of his making.  Gosh, where do we go from here?

Julian is attempting to save Vicky's life, for he knows the fateful influence that Lermontov holds over his "creations."  Anyone who divides their love between another human being and Lermontov's vision of art has no place in Lermontov's world.  Julian offers her another way, telling her that she can dance anywhere in the world; but she has already indicated that is not part of her vision of artistic life.  This is so overpowering that Vicky's only escape is to throw herself in front of the train.

Thus, we are not only watching a fairy tale ballet being performed; the fairy tale has truly come to real life -- at least cinematically.   The Red Shoes become the fate and destiny of anyone that seeks them.

 Pretty overwrought stuff now, isn't it?  I find it hard to look away.  

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
45 minutes ago, brianNH said:

 Pretty overwrought stuff now, isn't it?  I find it hard to look away.  

Also, how many musical films up until that time ended with the death of it's central character? This makes it unique for it's time.

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, sagebrush said:

Also, how many musical films up until that time ended with the death of it's central character? This makes it unique for it's time.

That is a good point.   However,  I've never thought of The Red Shoes as a "musical", per sec.   I'm not sure what you mean by "musical film" - I guess The Red Shoes is that;  at least,  it is a film in which music plays an important part.  But obviously it's not a musical  the way Top Hat  or Meet Me in St. Louis are.   I think of it rather, as a drama that integrates ballet and classical music into its story.   And as a drama, it's not that unorthodox that one of the characters dies   ( although in a very unorthodox way.)

edit:  Just out of curiosity,  I googled "1940s movie musicals",  and one list that came up did include The Red Shoes.  I guess it just depends on one's own definition of what is a "musical".

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, cineman said:

I must confess, I too and no big fan of the movie. Don't necessarily agree with your assessment here. I don't see this as a gender issue. No man or woman can really have it all. A craft ( or any discipline for that matter) that requires singular focus means time spent. Time spent one place is time that necessarily cannot be spent somewhere else. This is just what it is. Businessperson, athlete, artist et al. If you are spending 24 hours a day 7 days a week working towards a goal you are not somewhere else. If you are not a singular those around you suffer that. If you give the people around you the time, love and attention they need you often cannot reach the zenith of personal goals. Call it sacrifice if you will, but one or the other is sacrificed. The myth of balance is just that IMHO, a myth. Balance means nothing gets your 100%. This unkind reality that haunts seekers of greatness and those that are forced to abandon it in the interest of Sacred duties  is not the sole custody of any one gender assignment.

Just one man's opinion

I try not to watch classic films through 21st century lens, and I was not imposing a 21st century feminist sensibility on the film.  But it's obvious that in The Red Shoes,  both the men in her life think it's Vicky who would have to give up her career for her marriage.  No character in the film,  not Vicky, and certainly not Julian,  ever seems to think that maybe Julian could take a break from his career to accommodate Vicky's.    Yet it would actually be easier for him to do so than for her,  since he could continue to compose while she danced.  Although he was also a conductor,  his first love was composing music, which is a behind-the-scenes kind of art.    But nobody suggests for one second that maybe Julian could take a back seat for Vicky's sake, at least for a while.

I believe there have been quite a few lead company ballerinas since 1948 who have married and even had a family.  ....Although I'm not suggesting that anyone ever danced Swan Lake while pregnant !

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, brianNH said:

MissWonderly and Cineman:  some thought-provoking comments on this so far.

I wonder, though, if we take this line a bit further it may come back to what I think is the integral aspect of the whole film.  For what has happened by the time we see those final scenes of the three main characters?  Vicky has been drawn back into Lermontov's world while Julian has escaped it.  Now, at the moment of his success, Julian has left England to try to get back his wife.  Lermontov is trying to convince Vicky that her place can only be at the mountain-top of his making.  Gosh, where do we go from here?

Julian is attempting to save Vicky's life, for he knows the fateful influence that Lermontov holds over his "creations."  Anyone who divides their love between another human being and Lermontov's vision of art has no place in Lermontov's world.  Julian offers her another way, telling her that she can dance anywhere in the world; but she has already indicated that is not part of her vision of artistic life.  This is so overpowering that Vicky's only escape is to throw herself in front of the train.

Thus, we are not only watching a fairy tale ballet being performed; the fairy tale has truly come to real life -- at least cinematically.   The Red Shoes become the fate and destiny of anyone that seeks them.

 Pretty overwrought stuff now, isn't it?  I find it hard to look away.  

Interesting point, Brian, and yes,  that must have been an artistic decision on Powell's part.  Vicky's story echoes the story of the ballet - a life imitates art thing.  Guess that would make Lermontov the evil magician !

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, misswonderly3 said:

I try not to watch classic films through 21st century lens, and I was not imposing a 21st century feminist sensibility on the film.  But it's obvious that in The Red Shoes,  both the men in her life think it's Vicky who would have to give up her career for her marriage.  No character in the film,  not Vicky, and certainly not Julian,  ever seems to think that maybe Julian could take a break from his career to accommodate Vicky's.    Yet it would actually be easier for him to do so than for her,  since he could continue to compose while she danced.  Although he was also a conductor,  his first love was composing music, which is a behind-the-scenes kind of art.    But nobody suggests for one second that maybe Julian could take a back seat for Vicky's sake, at least for a while.

I believe there have been quite a few lead company ballerinas since 1948 who have married and even had a family.  ....Although I'm not suggesting that anyone ever danced Swan Lake while pregnant !

Quite a few have had families and continued to dance.  I know Maria Tallchief, for one, did.  She was an Osage prima ballerina (one of the 5 Moons - Native American ballerinas from Oklahoma) and danced with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo.   She later married George Balanchine and danced with his company, the New York City Ballet, becoming its first star.   She was the first American to dance at the Bolshoi.   At any rate, she had a daughter by her 3rd husband, at age 33 or 34, and was still dancing at the time, and continued to dance for a few years more before leaving the stage to teach. 

 

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, MissWonderly.  

We are dealing with fairy tales in "The Red Shoes."  And fairy tales deal with elemental fears and emotions; that's why they are so frightening at times.  In the real-life story of the movie the fates of the three characters are  intertwined.  And I think I'm going to have to push back a little on the idea that the men are demanding Vicky set aside her career for them, because I think the opposite is what is happening.  Lermontov sees her as worthy of his creative, artistic power and demands from her all she has in order to fulfill that.  And she goes along with it, for when she leaves the ballet she doesn't really accept any offers to perform elsewhere, though she trains every day.  She wants in her heart that ultimate commitment to the art.  And Lermontov, in order to get her back, tells her that no one else can dance "The Red Shoes."  This ballet is solely for her.

Julian understands what is at stake for the woman he has married and wants to keep her from the fate Lermontov has in store for her.  He has left the premier of his opera in order to return to France and save Vicky's life.  He  tells her that she does not have to dance for Lermontov but can have a successful career anywhere else that she wants.  The trouble is that Vicky herself has decided that the only place for her is with Lermontov.  And then everything in her mind and heart breaks apart, and she is drawn to the catastrophic fairy-tale ending.  

Again, we're in the world of fairy-tales and I think ancient Greek tragedy as well.  "The Red Shoes" is truly grand storytelling -- with music and dance -- on a vivd screen.

In real real-life, people certainly are more successful at balancing various parts of their lives.  But Vicky and Julian going off to live in an English cottage while Lermontov broods over things simply is not as compelling a story to tell. 

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/23/2021 at 11:53 AM, Dargo said:

And don't forget Walbrook's terrific performance in this film, Bronxie. All brilliantly done in one long take. Gets me every time I watch it...

(...this was the film that first brought forth my appreciation of his talents, and later would come via the films you mentioned above)

Thanks for bringing this one up, Dargo!  

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, brianNH said:

Thanks, MissWonderly.  

We are dealing with fairy tales in "The Red Shoes."  And fairy tales deal with elemental fears and emotions; that's why they are so frightening at times.  In the real-life story of the movie the fates of the three characters are  intertwined.  And I think I'm going to have to push back a little on the idea that the men are demanding Vicky set aside her career for them, because I think the opposite is what is happening.  Lermontov sees her as worthy of his creative, artistic power and demands from her all she has in order to fulfill that.  And she goes along with it, for when she leaves the ballet she doesn't really accept any offers to perform elsewhere, though she trains every day.  She wants in her heart that ultimate commitment to the art.  And Lermontov, in order to get her back, tells her that no one else can dance "The Red Shoes."  This ballet is solely for her.

Julian understands what is at stake for the woman he has married and wants to keep her from the fate Lermontov has in store for her.  He has left the premier of his opera in order to return to France and save Vicky's life.  He  tells her that she does not have to dance for Lermontov but can have a successful career anywhere else that she wants.  The trouble is that Vicky herself has decided that the only place for her is with Lermontov.  And then everything in her mind and heart breaks apart, and she is drawn to the catastrophic fairy-tale ending.  

Again, we're in the world of fairy-tales and I think ancient Greek tragedy as well.  "The Red Shoes" is truly grand storytelling -- with music and dance -- on a vivd screen.

In real real-life, people certainly are more successful at balancing various parts of their lives.  But Vicky and Julian going off to live in an English cottage while Lermontov broods over things simply is not as compelling a story to tell. 

Well, Brian, you make an excellent case for the quality and validity of The Red Shoes as a first rate film.  I bow to your well-written argument that the film deserves respect, and that it can sustain comparisons to great tragedy * .   However,  sometimes  as you know,  our reactions to a movie can be visceral, emotional,  and illogical,  and on that basis,  I still dislike the film.  

*  I can go with putting it on the same level as Greek tragedy,  but I do not regard it in any way as a fairy tale.  Maybe "fantasy" would  fit the description better.   Truth is,  I love folk and fairy tales and myths,  and am hesitant to label The Red Shoes as such.  But I don't want to derail the thread by launching into a discussion of what a fairy tale is,  it's a big topic and we could potentially go on for pages.

ps:  I'd forgotten it's Thanksgiving in the States.  Hope you're having a good one !

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Wonderful, MissWonderly!  

I really hadn't thought that much about the film until this discussion started me down a certain path of discovery.  So this is all kind of off the cuff reactions to things.  Where to draw the line between Greek tragedy and fairy tales?  I think  we can hold off for our next graduate seminar.  

I'm sure you know that all the babbling on my part wasn't meant to persuade you to like the movie!  We all have all sorts of reasons -- as you stated -- for liking and not liking any particular movie.  I still don't understand why my wife doesn't like the "Stooges!"  Oh, well.

In the end, we're just all part of life's rich pageant.  And bless each and every one for that.    (There's something for Thanksgiving)

Brian 

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

The crux of the movie is the conflict in Victoria Page between her love of dancing and her love for Julian Craster.  They occupy equal places in her consciousness, and are irreconcilable.  There are elements that are important in understanding her condition.  Some are contradictory, but are necessary in concluding why events happen the way they do:

There was a convention at the time that when a woman married, she was expected to give up her job, or career, and devote herself full-time to her duties as a (house)wife.  I don't know how faithfully this convention was followed in real life, where social myth ran up against economic reality.  But it is only movies that are important here, and it was hewed close to in them.

Lermontov states his philosophy clearly toward the beginning of the movie:  " I'm not interested in [any] prima ballerina who's imbecile enough to get married.  You cannot have it both ways.  The dancer who relies on the doubtful comforts of human love will never be a great dancer.  Never."  This on the occasion of Irina Boronskaja's announcement of her engagement.  Lermontov dismisses her.

Before she leaves, Vicky tells Lermontov dancing anywhere else would not be the same.  But as it's impossible to stay both with the company and Julian, she decides to leave.  It's significant that staying with Julian was in doubt, and she has to go back and tell him she's going with him, dancing was so important to her. 

Even after Vicky leaves, Lermontov doesn't give up hope in getting her back.  When he hears she is returning to Monte Carlo for a visit, he goes to meet her on the train:

The double standard is stated clearly.  Vicky is expected to give up her career for Julian.  But the reverse could never be true.  But is it so clear?  The dilemma only exists because Lermontov would not tolerate their relationship.  Vicky reveals dancing other places has been unrewarding.  Lermontov recognizes her inclination, and plays on that.  He is conscious-less in his coaxing.  But that voracious look in her eyes makes me think he did not have to work that hard to convince her to come back.  

In the climactic scene,  when Vicky first sees Julian, she is happy, mistakenly thinking he has left his first night for her.  And bitterly disappointed when she hears he expects her to return with him.  Lermontov reiterates that to remain with the company, she must leave Julian.  Julian in turn tells her she can dance anywhere else in the whole world, meaning that it was not the convention of the wife giving up her work that was the source of the conflict.  But Vicky only finds dancing rewarding with Lermontov, knowing only he can make her what she hungers for, to be a great ballerina.  He tries to bully her, speaking of love being adolescent nonsense; telling her to go, then, and be a housewife, and raise children.  But we know that's not the conflict.  Julian, knowing he will lose her if she stays with Lermontov, desperately tries to take her away.  But with one last despairing look, one of the most wrenching in movies, Vicky betrays her powerlessness.  She loves Julian, but she is compelled to dance with Lermontov.  Julian distraught, kisses her good-bye, and Lermontov exults in his victory.

But it is short-lived.  The red shoes, symbol of her compulsion to dance, now compel her to abandon Lermontov.  Wether she flees to throw herself under a train, which displayed remarkable timing, arriving just as she launched herself off the railing, or to reunite with Julian is undecided in my mind.  The ending is contradictory, but a way had to be come up with to have her die, just like in the ballet.  Here, dramatic effect outweighs consistency.

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

My word!  So this is what happens when people actually start thinking about what they've seen!  And all from a pretty little movie with a red-head dancing all over the place on her tip-toes.

Seriously, Slayton, this is a well-thought out and crafted response to add to the discussion so far.  Simply amazing all the stuff one can draw from watching this movie.  I think that it is in large part because it truly deals with universal and elemental themes of love, loyalty, aspiration, and despair.  And I think you've nailed it with this very detailed look at what leads to the final scenes.  I want to read this through a couple more times, so thank you for taking the time to offer this to us.  

 

 

  

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/26/2021 at 10:56 AM, misswonderly3 said:

I try not to watch classic films through 21st century lens, and I was not imposing a 21st century feminist sensibility on the film.  But it's obvious that in The Red Shoes,  both the men in her life think it's Vicky who would have to give up her career for her marriage.  No character in the film,  not Vicky, and certainly not Julian,  ever seems to think that maybe Julian could take a break from his career to accommodate Vicky's.    Yet it would actually be easier for him to do so than for her,  since he could continue to compose while she danced.  Although he was also a conductor,  his first love was composing music, which is a behind-the-scenes kind of art.    But nobody suggests for one second that maybe Julian could take a back seat for Vicky's sake, at least for a while

Probably the main reason I have never liked this film.  And I LOVE MICHAEL POWELL.  But not his highlight, a film I understand that still generates serious revenue...

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Definitely visually sumptuous and a very good performance from the lead actress. That dance sequence is pretty much peak film making. I probably prefer Black Narcissus because I think it is more thematically interesting, but I like them both. Powell and Pressburger were at their peak in this period. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
© 2022 Turner Classic Movies Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
×
×
  • Create New...