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The Red Shoes


Year: 1948 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1 (Academy) 
Certificate: BBFC PG Cert – Parental guidance 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Michael Powell 
Starring: Anton Walbrook, Marius Goring, Moira Shearer  
An image from The Red Shoes

Well before Whiplash, Black Swan, and Sunset Boulevard, the idea of the obsessed artist was put to screen in 1948 by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger in their film adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tale The Red Shoes. The story follows Victoria Page, played by professional ballerina Moira Shearer in her feature film debut, an optimistic ballerina who joins the world-renowned Ballet Lermontov. Its fierce director, Boris Lermontov, psychologically torments and tortures Victoria, forcing her to choose between her ballet career and her relationship with composer Julian Craster. The line between reality and fantasy becomes more and more blurred as sanity begins to slip away, creating a dizzying yet beautiful show. The story sounds simple in essence; however, the pure visual spectacle of the film is something to behold. Filmed in Technicolour, the 17 minute long, uninterrupted performance of the ballet halfway through the film is completely mesmerising, the vibrancy of the shoes and the perfect performance by Shearer is utterly captivating and is one of the most memorable sequences from the film. It has been named one of the greatest British films by the BFI and influenced so many aspects of modern pop culture, proving that its legacy is ever enduring. ‘Time rushes by, love rushes by, life rushes by, but the red shoes go on’

Marnie McCrudden

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Screenings of this film:

2023/2024 Spring Term (35mm)