The Red Shoes
Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s 1948 musical masterpiece The Red Shoes takes the Hans Christian Andersen fable as its starting point, ingeniously weaving the tale through several planes of storytelling. The movie works on so many levels—as a romance, a musical, a comedy, a tragedy, a melodrama, a visual/aural feast and as a profound story of artistic sacrifice. Victoria Page (Moira Shearer) is a beautiful and ambitious ballerina who puts dancing on the same level of importance as breathing. The imperious company director Boris Lemontov (Anton Walbrook, giving the performance of a lifetime) recruits her for his repertoire of casting-couch backgrounders, but her dedication and passion catch his attention. He offers to make her the greatest dancer of her time (the figurative “red shoes” temptation), but insists that she can’t give just half her heart to ballet.