Red Shoes, The (1948)

The Red Shoes (1948), written, produced and directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger.

A famous story-within-a-story ballet epic about the fairy tale of a girl who dances until she dies (it happens on multiple levels). We have Vicky, an aspiring dancer, Julian, an aspiring composer, and Boris, the domineering and possessive owner of the ballet company. It's pretty low intensity drama until the final moments when the love triangle reaches it's breaking point.

I have the most curious feeling when watching that there are more than just the two levels of the ballet company and their production of the "The Red Shoes". We seem to be in a base reality until the young people visit the Riviera villa with the overgrown steps. From there they enter a fairy tale of success and fame and love, even before the ballet is performed. The rest of the movie is a struggle between outer reality and inner fantasy and it is not clear where we are at the end.

I'm no judge of dancing, but to my untutored eye Moira Shearer seems to know what she's doing. Love her warmup outfits. According to the IMDB she worked as a pro ballerina and retired from dancing at age 27.

The early scenes remind me of what I have heard about success in the arts: how much is due to the favor of wealthy patrons and adoption by society matrons. Hemingway wrote about that, as did W. Somerset Maugham.

Photographed by Jack Cardiff, famous for its Technicolor, although muted in much of its design, using old world dark reds and ambers.

Available on Criterion Blu-ray. I'm still not seeing a subtitle control on these discs, but there is a track accessible with the subtitle button on the remote.