The Red Shoes

United Kingdom | 1948 | 133 minutes | Emeric Pressburger, Michael Powell

Moira Shearer stars in this seminal 1948 drama from Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, one of the most highly regarded dance films in cinema history, about a young woman who works her way up the ladder of a prestigious ballet company.

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Monday, June 15, 2015

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Few films have ever achieved the dazzling visual sumptuousness of The Red Shoes, quite arguably Powell and Pressburger's masterpiece. Moira Shearer stars as Vicky Page, a young, unknown dancer who falls under the tutelage Boris Lermontov, the stern yet captivating impresario of his own dance company. He soon realizes her potential after seeing her dance Swan Lake, and begins to groom her for the position of prima ballerina. In turn, Lermontov crafts a new ballet for her to star, The Red Shoes, based on the fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, and employs Julian Craster, a brilliant young composer, to write the score. At first, dancer and composer conflict with one another before falling in love as the premiere approaches, a situation further complicated by Lermontov's own emerging feelings for his star. A film that demands to be experienced on a cinema-sized screen, it perfectly embodies Powell and Pressburger's ideal for a “composed film,” in which dance, drama, surrealistic design, and painterly color merge into a gorgeous whole. Restoration funding provided by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, The Film Foundation, and the Louis B. Mayer Foundation.

Director Biography
Powell and Pressburger, also known collectively as The Archers, are considered two of England’s greatest filmmakers during cinema’s still-short history. Their 24 films over a 33-year career have received 14 Oscar nominations (winning five), have graced screens at the Cannes Film Festival, and earned the pair a BAFTA Academy Fellowship Award for their contributions to the arts. Their films include 49Th Parallel (1941), The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943), Black Narcissus (1947), and The Tales of Hoffman (1951).

Sponsored by The Art Institute of Seattle

  • Director: Emeric Pressburger, Michael Powell
  • Principal Cast: Anton Walbrook, Marius Goring, Moira Shearer
  • Country: United Kingdom
  • Year: 1948
  • Running Time: 133 minutes
  • Producer: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
  • Screenplay: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
  • Cinematographers: Jack Cardiff
  • Editors: Reginald Mills
  • Music: Brian Easdale
  • Awards: Oscars 1949 (Best Art Direction, Music), Golden Globes 1949 (Best Motion Picture Score)
  • Filmography: Night Ambush (1957), Pursuit of the Graf Spee (1956), The Tales of Hoffman (1951), The Fighting Pimpernel (1950), Gone to Earth (1950), Hour of Glory (1949), Black Narcissus (1947), Stairway to Heaven (1946), I Know Where I’m Going (1945), A Canterbury Tale (1944), The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943), One of Our Aircraft is Missing (1942),
  • Language: English
  • Format: 35mm
  • International Sales: The Film Foundation