The Never-Ending Dance

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The Red Shoes is a classic drama released in 1948. The film stars Moira Shearer as Vicky Page, a talented ballet dancer, and Marius Goring as Julian Craster, a talented composer. The movie opens with a ballet titled “Heart of Fire.” Vicky, a young but unhealthy looking ballerina, wishes to dance for the writer of “Heart of Fire,” Boris Lermontov. At this point in the movie it becomes clear that the timeline jumps around and is confusing at times. 

Lermontov recognizes Julian’s and Vicky’s talent and decides to take them to Pairs. Julian starts off directing the orchestra and writing music right away; however, Vicky is just an extra until Lermontov gives Julian “The Red Shoes” music to rewrite. Once the music is rewritten, Lermontov tells Vicky she is going to be the primary dancer. During practices Vicky finds the music to be too fast and complains about it until Julian tells her to buck up, practice a little harder and deal with it. However, after dress rehearsal Julian wishes Vicky luck and tells her to dance whatever pace she needs and he will adjust the music accordingly. 

“The Red Shoes,” a beautifully written ballet about a young girl whose only wish is to dance, is the heart of the movie itself. It tells the story of a girl who meets a shoe maker who gives her magic red shoes which trap her in dance until death. During the ballet, Vicky’s incredible talent becomes clear. While she dances gracefully, the backdrop changes from many confusing and different scenes that really take away from the ballet itself. In the final scene, Vicky’s character only has one way out of the red shoes: death. 

As the company travels the world performing many different ballets, all of which Julian composes and Vicky stars in, the two fall in love. Conflict arises when Lermontov also falls in love with Vicky. Once he discovers that Julian and Vicky are in love, he grows angry and fires Julian from the company. Vicky chooses to quit and follows him. Lermontov realizes his mistake and asks Vicky to dance at his company again. The movie ends with Vicky having to choose between her love for dance and the love of her life. 

The Red Shoes is neither great nor awful. It is boring and slow at times, while at other times moves too fast. The dancing and soundtrack prove enjoyable, but overall the movie is confusing and inconsistent. However, the actors portray their characters well, and if you are looking for a dramatic love story with many plot twists, this film fits the bill. You may love it, or, like me, wish you had watched a different movie with red shoes, perhaps, The Wizard of Oz or Grease


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