Dec 262021

The Red Shoes normally isn’t my sort of movie, namely a musical not to mention a ballet musical, but I can admire the direction, cinematography and the performances from two leads.



The Red Shoes

Genre(s): Drama, Romance, Music
The Criterion Collection| NR – 133 min. – $49.95 | December 14, 2021

Date Published: 12/26/2021 | Author: The Movieman

Director: Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger
Writer(s): Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger (written by)
Cast: Anton Walbrook, Marius Goring, Moira Shearer, Robert Helpmann, Léonide Massine

Features: Commentary, Featurettes, Sing-Alongs, Theatrical Trailer
Slip Cover: Yes
Digital Copy: Yes
Formats Included: 4K, Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 2

Audio: English (PCM 1.0)
Video: 1080p/Full Frame 1.37
Subtitles: English
Dynamic Range: HDR10, Dolby Vision
Codecs: HEVC / H.265
Region(s): A, B, C

The Criterion Collection provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.


Plot Synopsis: 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 WAKBROOK), 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.

Quick Hit Review: The Red Shoes is a well made music-drama that even as someone who really isn’t into ballet still found fairly engaging, though I found more interest in the lead-up to the ballet more so than the ballet sequence itself. But the film does get going for the second half where the drama and romance ramps up between Vicky and Julian. The performances for the most part were pretty respectable especially Moira Shearer who from what I read was a ballerina first, actress second while Marius Goring had his moments though his movements and acting was a bit too theatrical. As a whole, though, The Red Shoes is well worth checking out whether or not the ballet is of interest.



This 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray combo pack from The Criterion Collection comes housed in their regular clear HD keep cases and inside is a booklet containing essays.

Audio Commentary — This track by  Film Historian Ian Christie from 1994 features interviews with stars Marius Goring and Moira Shearer, cinematographer Jack Cardiff, composer Brian Easdale, and Martin Scorsese.

The Red Shoes Novel is an audio recording from 1994 with Jeremy Irons reading excerpts from the novelization of The Red Shoes that plays over the movie.

Restoration Demonstration (4:17) —This video is hosted by Film Foundation’s founder, Martin Scorsese who details the technical challenges and achievements of the project.

Profile of “The Red Shoes” (25:30) — Documentary on the making of The Red Shoes produced in 2000 and features interviews with film historian Ian Christie, cinematographer Jack Cardiff, camera operator Chris Challis, and family members of the film’s original production team.

Thelma Schoonmaker Powell (14:41) — This is an interview conducted in Cannes with Thelma Schoonmaker, who was married to the film’s editor Michael Powell.

Still Gallery contains “Cast and Crew”, “Filming in London”, “Filming in Paris”, “Filming in Monte Carlo”, “Deleted Scenes” and “Production and Costume Designs”.

Scorsese’s Memorabilia is a gallery of images of the filmmaker’s collection including the red shoes.

The Red Shoes Sketches — Animated film that was constructed from original color storyboards was used as the blueprint for the ballet in the film and includes a side-by-side comparison of the sketches and the alternate angle of the ballet.

Theatrical Trailer (2:30)


VIDEO – 4½/5, AUDIO – 4¾/5

The Criterion Collection releases the, I believe, third or fourth movie onto 4K Ultra HD with The Red Shoes. The picture here was taken from the 2009 4K digital restoration which was made from the Technicolor 35mm original camera negatives and optical tracks. As such, I found this to look quite good, not excellent but still well done. Detail was sharp and nicely defined for both close-ups and the more distant shots. The 4K disc does include the Dolby Vision HDR (or HDR10 for those systems unable to process).

The disc comes with a PCM Mono track which sounds excellent even with it being a singular channel. Dialogue comes across with good clarity and the musical ballet numbers have some fine depth. I did not detect any hints of hissing, pops or other flaws.

OVERALL — 4½/5

The Red Shoes normally isn’t my sort of movie, namely a musical not to mention a ballet musical, but I can admire the direction, cinematography and the performances from two leads who aren’t natural actors and were cast based on their ballet experience.

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