Starring: Moira Shearer, Marius Goring, Anton Walbrook
Director: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Running Time: 133 mins
The Red Shoes is a British film about an aspiring dancer who, upon being cast in the lead role for a great new ballet, finds herself torn between her ambitions to become the greatest dancer in the world and the man who she truly loves.
This is a very stylish and theatrical story. It fits perfectly with its subject matter, having the feel of an elegant ballet throughout, with all of the melodrama and overacting that comes with it, and whilst that is one of the most fascinating parts of the film, it’s tough to avoid the fact that it’s just too slow and clunky to be a genuinely captivating story.
However, let’s look at why this is such a dramatic film first. Revolving largely around the life and loves of dancer Vicky Page, the plot is a pretty emotional one. Fortunately, however, the portrayal of Vicky from the beginning makes her hugely likeable and supportable, with her constant battle against the odds to become this great dancer making you want to will her on even more.
The structure and vibe of the story itself really mirrors the ballet too. Despite showing various different productions, from ‘The Red Shoes’ to ‘Swan Lake’, the story maintains a very similar feel to a ballet.
Firstly, it’s the elegance of the performances and dance numbers, but also the extreme power and melodramatic emotion of the romantic story later on when Vicky faces this dilemma between love and career, that all begins to snowball towards a very dramatic and theatrical climax.
That’s what’s interesting about this film, however the problem is that it’s not a formula that really captivates you, especially if you’re not particularly interested in the ballet. There’s an overlong dance sequence in the middle of the film that lasts around ten minutes, with no dialogue, and some of the romance scenes just take far too long to really add anything to the plot as a whole, leaving you often bored and impatient with the pace of the film.
Overall, this gets a 7.4 from me, because despite it being a bit clunky and poorly-paced, it’s an excellent feature that puts ballet onto the screen in a very appropriate and interesting way.