The Little Red Shoes it is one of the most remarkable films ever made in cinema and it did not come from Hollywood, but from England. Although it is often referred to as a film “about ballet”, it is much more than that. Inspired works as diverse as halloween, raging bull or black swan. In 2023, it completes 75 years of launch and continues to be innovative and inspiring. I’m one of the biggest fans of the work (I’ve already included it in different articles and columns in CLAUDIA) and I don’t have bad company. Martin Scorsese is so fond of it that he restored it and studied it extensively. Having a character as fascinating as Victoria Page (Moira Shearer) at the heart of the plot makes our nostalgic trip on this classic worthwhile.
The seed for the film was born in 1934, when businessman Alexander Rope wanted to transport the tumultuous life of Vaslav Nijinsky for the screens. How he wanted his girlfriend, the actress Merle Oberon was the star, even if she wasn’t a dancer (they would use stunt doubles), production began work on the project, which was paused during the War. In 1948, Merle and Korda had already separated, but the project continued to take shape. The director Michael Powell insisted that he would only work with real dancers and with that they reached the unknown Moira Shearer, one of the soloists of the Royal Ballet. With postwar audiences craving beauty and escapism, You little shoes red would be the ideal vehicle for this.
Using the tale of Hans Christian Andersen of the same name and which talks about obsession and death, the metaphor about the artist is narrated in the story of a dance company led by an imperious and cynical businessman who is preparing to present the ballet The Little Red Shoes. Engraved in Technicolor (unusual for the time) with red, it increased the dramatic impact of the story, almost a separate character, creating an effect that is still studied in film schools today. It is a filmed painting, a recorded symphony and brings classical dance realistically portrayed. Vicky Page quickly becomes the muse of the composer and entrepreneur, in love with her brilliance and passion for Art. However, as Andersen warned, whoever wears the red shoes dances to death.
Critics and filmmakers study the work to this day with fascination and reverence. It is noted as the first time the public entered the mind of a ballerina, with indirect shots that are repeated in horror films and copied unapologetically in sigh It is black swanthe latter being the Oscar-winning film for Natalie Portman practically living an updated version of Vicky Page. By the way, one of the most classic scenes in the 1948 film is precisely with The Swan Lakewhen instead of showing the dance statically, the cinematographer Jack Cardiff align the camera with the eyes of Moira Shearer in a series of dizzying, revolving POV shots to underscore his panic at the sight of the company’s director in the audience. Later, he repeats the inversions, mixing intense close-ups and cuts between reality and fantasy. The film is simply beautiful. By the way, it was studying him that Scorsese created the praised fight scenes of raging bull.
the timelessness of The Little Red Shoes it is also in the tragic story of the heroine, who is “obliged to choose” between career and marriage, in ceding stardom to her husband, in losing her mental health with the oppression of her yearnings and ambitions. There are several optics far beyond ballet to appreciate the film. For example, I always saw his ending one way, but for martin scorcese and other. Had Vicky, in her desperation and under pressure, decided to sacrifice herself for the dance, or had the slippers taken possession of her? For him, the brilliance of the final scene is precisely that it does not clarify what is happening. And, 75 years later, we’re still trying to figure it out with him.