Last Featured: April 21, 2016
In Boris Lermentov’s company, there is no difference between ballet and life—they are one and the same. When his prima leaves the stage for a quiet life of marriage, he must find a new talent to take her place.
When The Red Shoes was released in Britain in 1948, the world had already fallen in love with the films of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Fancy footwork was, in some ways, synonymous with Hollywood, and choreographed pictures were a dime a dozen. What, then, made The Red Shoes stand out?
A personal favorite of directors like Martin Scorsese and Brian De Palma, The Red Shoes blends the dreamlike qualities of its fairy tale namesake with a terrifying obsession with perfection. The dance sequences are cut like no other of their time, and the plot envelops us in a world enchanted by fame:
In Boris Lermentov’s company, there is no difference between ballet and life—they are one and the same. When his prima leaves the stage for a quiet life of marriage, he must find a promising new talent to take her place. He selects the young Victoria Paige, played with ethereal dedication by Moira Shearer. Soon, though, Vicky must choose between a budding romance with the company’s gifted composer and the thrill of the spotlight.
The decision is impossible, and when Lermentov demands, “put on the red shoes, Vicky,” the audience is just as torn. Perhaps there is no happy ending when passion is so insatiable.