The Red Shoes

Before going on to the top 100 of IMDb’s Top 250, I’m jumping back down on The List to pick up a few titles that snuck on to the bottom after I’d passed it.

quarter to four in the morning / I ain't feeling tired no no no no no

Title: The Red Shoes
Year: 1948
Length: 133 minutes
Directors: Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger
Writer: Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger, with Keith Winter, based on the fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen
Starring: Marius Goring, Anton Walbrook, Moira Shearer
Music: Brian Easdale
Distinctions: Oscars for Best Score and Best Art Direction/Set Decoration (color); Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Story and Best Editing; formerly on the IMDb’s Top 250

My reaction
Synopsis: a young dancer and a young composer get their break together with a touring ballet company
How I saw it: on video (rented from Netflix), yesterday
Concept: Good. A movie about the ballet, with the fairy tale tone of a ballet.  The sort of straight-forward, romantic melodrama I expect from a movie inspired by (“based on” seems too strong) Hans Christian Andersen.
Story: Good.
Characters: Good. They’re simple and one-dimensional, but in a way that works perfectly for what the movie’s doing.
Dialog: Good.
Pacing: Good. It probably doesn’t need to be so long; the real plot doesn’t get going until an hour and a half into the movie. But I was never bored.  And you’ve got to give them some credit for having the balls to put an entire performance of a ballet smack in the middle of a long movie. Risky move, but it works. Strangely, it reminds me of Rififi.
Cinematography: Good.
Special effects/design: Good. They put all of their efforts with the visuals into a handful of key scenes, which are amazingly good. But other scenes are just okay. For instance, at one point a cloud of dry ice is supposed to represent a train passing by.
Acting: Great. I’m stretching this category to “performances” with this movie.
Music: Great.
Subjective Rating: 8/10 (Great). I didn’t love it, but I have to wonder what’s wrong with the world that I’d never even heard of it until a few days ago.
Objective Rating: 9/10 3.3/4 (Very good).


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