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The Red Shoes (1948)- Short Film Review

· Film Reviews

Recently I watched the 1948 British drama film which was written, directed and produced by the powerhouse team consisting of Michael Powell and Emeric Press-burger known solely as 'The Archers' (a British filmmaking partnership').

An official synopsis of the film itself can be seen here [Source:]:

In this classic drama, Vicky Page (Moira Shearer) is an aspiring ballerina torn between her dedication to dance and her desire to love. While her imperious instructor, Boris Lermontov (Anton Walbrook), urges to her to forget anything but ballet, Vicky begins to fall for the charming young composer Julian Craster (Marius Goring). Eventually Vicky, under great emotional stress, must choose to pursue either her art or her romance, a decision that carries serious consequences. [1]

Upon watching the film itself, one is certainly presented with beautiful music and sequences. 'The Red Shoes' is a pure film filled with colour, hidden meaning, endless dance sequences and a breakout performance from Ballet's red haired golden girl Moira Shearer (an internationally renowned British ballet dancer and late actress).

Image Source: Silversirens

The narrative itself is quite gripping as we see a women's plight with the dance and how she begins to be controlled by it. Further finding herself not being able to stop dancing, almost if in an endless trance.

The ballet itself is seen to follow Hans Christian Andersen's popular work of 'the Red Shoes'. A story which follows a young women finding a red pair of shoes in a shop window (having being prompted to buy them by a crooked and wicked shoe seller). Upon wearing the shoes, the woman finds she cannot take them off. Further finding herself not being able to stop herself from dancing, further unravelling at the seams in terms of her own appearance, energy and overall poise. By the end of the story she finds herself in a completely different predicament than she was in (before wearing the shoes).


One of the main elements of the film regards its format. This is because during the last couple of years it has been restored to full technicolour, having originally been in black and white. This certainly brings a new lease of life to the film itself as colour begins to sweep into each frame. Making Shearer stand out even more with her commanding red her and soft snow life skin.


Without giving too much of the narrative away, 'The Red Shoes' should certainly make it on your lists. Whether your extremely interested in ballet, starting out with the dance form or even engaged with all things ballet. Then TRS will certainly not disappoint with well drawn out character arches, stunning costumes and a very ethereal and clear setting (which gives enough space and feeling for the ballet to be performed in etc.

My Rating: ****

Overall I would definitely recommend watching 'The Red Shoes' as it certainly utilises technicolour beautifully and showcases a beautiful and poised Shearer (who certainly fits the part as a women taken over by shoes, making her dance to each beat and instrument etc.)

Review written by Ash


[1] The Red Shoes (1948 film) - Wikipedia. 2018. The Red Shoes (1948 film) - Wikipedia. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 07 March


[2] Silver Sirens. 2018. The Red Shoes (1948 film). [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 07 March 2018].

Have you seen 'The Red Shoes' (1948) already? Wanting to have your say? Then why not tweet us @Ballet_IAM or email us through the following address: to have your say. We'd love to know your thoughts. Also if you have any suggestions for films incorporating Ballet then why not give us a shout out so we know what film to review next.

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