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For The Red Shoes, I Will Use This Word


slaytonf
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Slayton, I couldn't agree more with your original post. Beautifully said. Lorna raises a great point about whether, in spite of everything, Walbrook is the hero and Marius Goring is the villain. Walbrook is right about the effect of marriage on Victoria's dancing; it's a question of what she's willing to make the other part of her life work. In one of his poems Yeats spoke of having to choose "perfection of the life or of the art," and that's at the heart of The Red Shoes.

 

PamB, I'm so glad you got to see The Red Shoes for the first time and that you really liked it.

 

I like the combination of actual dancing and special effects in The Red Shoes. Powell will do whatever it takes to realize his vision. This is a film of abundance. So much is going on in every frame of the film, and Powell gives us not just the story, but the world in which the story takes place.

 

When lzcutter posted a list of all the films chosen as Essentials, I looked it over and made a list for a program challenge of essential films which had not been shown in that series so far. The first movie that came to mind was The Red Shoes. Thanks to TCM for correcting that oversight.

 

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TCM has shown The Red Shoes several times over the years I've had the channel on my cable system, but I never watched it in its entirety until last year.  Even if the subject matter isn't everyone's cup of tea, the movie has good entertainment value.  Being shot in vivid technicolor only enhances the story, and the final scene is so shocking and tragic, it almost makes you wish there was a sequel.  For me, it was almost like reading a book that you couldn't put down and at the same time didn't want to finish.  The photos shown on this thread where Lermontov is on the train trying to convince Vicky that she and only she is worthy to dance that particular ballet is great.  You can see in his facial expression, even without dialogue that he's winning her over with his words, and with her expression, she's loving every word he's saying and buying it hook, line, and sinker.  Enjoyable flick! 

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TCM has shown The Red Shoes several times over the years I've had the channel on my cable system, but I never watched it in its entirety until last year.  Even if the subject matter isn't everyone's cup of tea, the movie has good entertainment value.  Being shot in vivid technicolor only enhances the story, and the final scene is so shocking and tragic, it almost makes you wish there was a sequel.  For me, it was almost like reading a book that you couldn't put down and at the same time didn't want to finish.  The photos shown on this thread where Lermontov is on the train trying to convince Vicky that she and only she is worthy to dance that particular ballet is great.  You can see in his facial expression, even without dialogue that he's winning her over with his words, and with her expression, she's loving every word he's saying and buying it hook, line, and sinker.  Enjoyable flick! 

 

It really is one of the best shots in the movie.  What makes it hum is Victoria's voracious gaze.  Nothing in the movie better expresses how vital dancing is to her.  But how you describe what Lermontov is doing is not quite so.  He certainly is trying to manipulate her.  But he isn't selling her anything.  He playing on what he knows is her weakness, that is her fierce desire to dance.  As he says about the girl in the Anderson fairy tale, she is devoured by that ambition. 

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he was pretty much on the money with regard to TOWER OF LONDON (1939), but I don't want to derail the thread.

it did just occur to me as an afterthought that there is a possibility it was one of Martin's lackeys- chained in the galley like the ship rowers in BEN HUR- who did the review...at least for TOWER OF LONDON...THE RED SHOES is one of those that you just kind of have to give 4 stars to, you know?

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2 people elsewhere in this post made a couple of very solid critiques of Mrs Field's comments during the intro and outros. One: that she mispronounced Marius Goring's name (which is especially bad since she was critical of his performance); and two: that she made some misguided comments chiding Moira Shearer for not choosing to do movies and somehow equating that with a cop out and somehow not feminist. I really agree with what both posters said, wish I could find them to quote them, and I have to say that while I think Ms. Field is qualified to be sitting there, some of her observations about the films that have been shown have been, well, less than nutritive....

 

( Of course not on a " less than nutritive" scale of Drew's comments, so you know....)

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I think a lot of film historians would say that THE THIEF OF BAGHDAD is the War-era British film that says to the world "we are still here " and I think the same can be said of THAT HAMILTON WOMAN! Olivier's HENRY V is probably the first film most historians would also site as the British film that says "we're back" after the war.

 

But i think THE RED SHOES is THE big British, technically superb, outright worldwide blockbuster that said to the world that the war was over and the film industry and nation as a whole were moving ahead ( it's also a hell of a lot more fun to watch than HENRY V.)

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I think a lot of film historians would say that THE THIEF OF BAGHDAD is the War-era British film that says to the world "we are still here " and I think the same can be said of THAT HAMILTON WOMAN! Olivier's HENRY V is probably the first film most historians would also site as the British film that says "we're back" after the war.

 I do love Alexander Korda's production of THE THIEF OF BAGHDAD.

 

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As a feminist, I was disappointed that Sally Field dismissed Moira Shearer as being an unliberated woman for choosing not to pursue a movie career, when Ms. Shearer's passion lay with dancing.

 

This was my 1st time viewing the Red Shoes & Ms. Shearer & I loved both. So, I googled them. I found an interview with her in the 1990s: http://www.powell-pressburger.org/Reviews/48_TRS/TRS01.html 

 

It seems that Ms. Shearer did not enjoy making movies, especially with Michael Powell. She found him cold & aloof. Plus, she wanted to dance & the waiting around for takes & the concrete floors messed w/ her ability to dance. And she danced on stage until it was time for her to retire & then she did acting on stage.

 

I'll bet Sally Field would never criticize someone who was great at both accounting & acting, but chose to be a minor actor in movies, instead of a stellar, well-paid career as a comptroller. She should dismiss Ms. Shearer's choice of dance, stage & family as being less than being a movie actress. Women should be able to chose any life THEY CHOSE to lead. 

Pam,

 

I'm a guy and a feminist (thanks to my lesbian professors in college who trained me well LOL). I don't think we can fault Sally for looking at it through her own perspective (as an actress). Obviously, we can disagree with such an assessment. But the bottom line is whether the female subject has been denied the chance to realize her potential, in whatever direction it may lie.

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