Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Red Shoes (1948)



“What do you want out of life?”
“I want to dance.”

            Ever since I saw Black Swan all I read was how it was like the 1947 film The Red Shoes. Then not too long ago I was watching something where Clint Eastwood and Martin Scorsese said how much The Red Shoes inspired and influenced them. So hearing so much about this film I had to see it. I think from hearing so much about how great it is the film fell flat for me.
            Boris Lermontov is the producer of a successful ballet company. His show comes to London and two young people are overcome and taken with his work: Victoria Page who is a dancer and Julian Craster an aspiring composer and conductor. Lermontov meets Victoria at a party. Her aunt talks about her nonstop but Lermontov is not impressed and does not even want to see her. He speaks and meets her by accident. Sometime later Victoria goes to Covent Garden to audition for the company. She stands to the side along with four other hopeful girls. She is off to the side for a while until one day Lermontov chooses her and another girl to join the company in Paris.
            At the same time Lermontov invites Julian as an assistant. The producer asks him to take what another composer has already written for the production of a play called The Red Shoes by Hans Christian Anderson.
            In Paris the lead ballerina leaves after she announced her upcoming marriage. The company travels to the French Riviera. When they arrive Lermontov announces that Victoria will be the lead in The Red Shoes that is to open in three weeks time. Opening night arrives: Victoria is in the lead in a major production and Julian is to conduct his first piece. The production, Victoria, and Julian are a hit.
            Victoria becomes a famous dancer under Lermontov in several of his productions. During these productions Victoria and Julian have fallen in love. Lermontov does not like this new romance to the point where he seems outrageously jealous. He tells them choose between dancing and writing music and each other. The young couple picks each other and goes back to London where they are married.
            Victoria dances and practices all the time while in London. Julian composes an opera and cites his new wife as his main inspiration. All the while Lermontov wants her back, he will not do a production without of The Red Shoes without Victoria. She does eventually come back to the company for a run of the ballet but Julian follows her. Now Lermontov and Julian pull her to either dance or go home. Lermontov used her love of dancing and Julian pleads for their love for each other.
            The descriptions of the film I have read make it out to be like Black Swan where the girl is obsessed with dancing and she has to choose if she loves her husband or dancing more. It sounds like an annoying melodrama to me. The whole choosing a love for dancing over the love of her husband does not come until like the last fifteen-twenty minutes of the film. The whole time we know that Victoria loves to dance but she not completely overtaken with it like Natalie Portman was.
            I just could not get into The Red Shoes whatsoever. I think from hearing how good it was and how incredible the cinematography was I hyped it up way too much. I cannot even say that I had a lot of expectations for the film all I wanted for it was to be interesting and it just was not. So many parts I felt dragged there was nothing that really grabbed my attention. All this said I am glad that I sat through The Red Shoes since it was a very popular film when it was released and so many film buffs have seen it. I am not saying that The Red Shoes is a terrible film it was very well made and the acting was alright I just did not find it to be that great.