© 1948 The Archers

The Red Shoes (1948)

The Red Shoes is a movie that I have been meaning to get around to watching for a long time. It is one of those film that you feel you have to watch for your own education, to round out your appreciation of cinema. I don’t know much about ballet, but I enjoyed Robert Altman’s The Company at lot, and figured this would be a kind of predecessor. I wound up enjoying this much more than I expected. The dance sequences are cleverly filmed and the famous use of Technicolor is stunning,  but what I appreciated the most was how the directors and actors were able to make even the most melodramatic situations come together. Take this scene in which the young unknown dancer Vicky meets the renowned impresario Boris Lermontov:

Lermontov: Why do you want to dance?
Vicky: Why do you want to live?
Lermontov: Well, I don’t know exactly why, but… I must.
Vicky: That’s my answer too.

There is something about the period, the actors, and the Technicolor that just make it work, and it is almost impossible to imagine any actors who could pull of this kind of melodramatic dialogue today.

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