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Ed Waffle

The Red Shoes

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Praising The Red Shoesto this forum is like carrying coals to Newcastle, preaching to the choir or some other extraneous endeavor. However, having just watched it from beginning to end for the first time in years, I found once again it to be a revelation and worth an afternoon or evening.

It works as a tragic love story as well as a movie centering on ballet and is a great example how filmmaking in the middle of the last century differs from what is done now. Character development and exposition are done at what now seems to be a leisurely pace, but are extremely effective. There is time and space for extended ballet sequences, and not only the “Red Shoes” ballet. Characters that are both outlandish and believable—and not believable to those who might have known or read about ballet in the distant past, but also because Boris Lermantov, Julian Craster and Victoria Page were presented as people we became involved with and cared about.

Structurally it is allegorical with Lermantov representing total commitment to art and Page as innocence corrupted but finally redeemed in death. I would think that Lermantov also stood for Diaghilev. So in addition to characters, both are types and are beautifully realized by the actors and the script. Could Irina Boronskaja have been Nijinsky, at least in being fired for marrying?.

The special effects, especially those done optically when Victoria Page was looking into the audience from the stage and seeing a crashing ocean, or Craster, the conductor, rise from the pit and partner her are stunning. When Grischa Ljubov partners her as a man made of newspapers it is astonishing.

I won’t comment on the dancing. Moira Shearer is stunning, of course, with the great mane of red hair and seeing Leonide Massine is a revelation.

If you haven’t seen this movie in a while it may still surprise you.

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I don't remember Rambert. Time to watch again.

My most abiding memory of "Red Shoes" the first time I saw it (my first year of watching ballet) was the gallery. I wanted so much to be a part of that smile.gif

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I think it is Marie Rambert who is working the record player, and scratching the record, for Victoria Page to do her SWAN LAKE ACT II coda.

The stage upon which Miss Page is performing in that scene also happens to be the stage where Tudor's Lilac Garden had it's world premiere.

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It most certainly is, glebb, as to Marie Rambert at the mighty Victrola, and gives us a little picture of what life at Ballet Rambert was like, especially in the early days. There is a moment when her eyes light up that could not possibly have been achieved simply by changing lighting. We've both seen it, and in the same places, so we know what that look is all about!

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And there's room on that tiny stage for about four swans in addition to Odette.

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And isn't it Marie Rambert who is seen slipping quietly into a seat at the back of the theatre while Miss Page is dancing?

There was a very interesting TV documentary here in the UK on Channel 4 some time ago about the director, Emeric Pressburger, who shows such sureness of touch in his direction.

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