The Red Shoes, Directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger
General Film Distributors (GFD), September 6, 1948 (UK)
Screenplay: Emeric Pressburger with additional dialogue by Keith Winter and additional writing by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, based on the fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen
Starring: Moira Shearer, Anton Walbrook, and Marius Goring
Die! Die! Die! If I cannot find the right words to properly express everything I want to write about The Red Shoes, I shall simply die and nothing else. I will leap beyond the spires of the great Golden Gate, flying across the sapphire sky with the wind in my sails, and I will think of nothing at all but the beauty of art, nothing but art, until of course my bones shatter into a thousand pieces and I can think no more.
Julian Craster (Marius Goring): When you’re lifted up into the air, my music will transform you.
Victoria Page (Moira Shearer): Into what?
Julian: A flower swaying in the wind … a cloud drifting in the sky … a white bird flying.
If I cannot tell you about the Technicolor vibrance, and of the transcendent, tripped-out ballet scene of scenes in which our heroine dons the red shoes that have a life of their own, propelling her to dance dance dance to ends of the earth and back until she is left to wilt like a dying flower, then I shall lay down on the tracks and await my demise. With my ears pressed to the rails, I will hear my train approaching, but even then I will not be focused on my impending doom but rather how to construct the perfect sentence to enthrall you and capture the essence of a film that reaches for the stars.
Boris Lermontov (Anton Walbrook): When we first met ... you asked me a question to which I gave a stupid answer, you asked me whether I wanted to live and I said “Yes.” Actually, Miss Page, I want more, much more. I want to create, to make something big out of something little – to make a great dancer out of you. But first, I must ask you the same question, what do you want from life? To live?
Victoria Page (Moira Shearer): To dance.
Life would simply not be worth living if I could no longer take pen to paper, if I could not open a book and feel the words of Tolstoy seizing me, if I could not contemplate the beauty in which Hitchcock constructs a scene. If I could not listen to John Lennon sing.
Boris: The music is all that matters. Nothing but the music.
The void would be suffocating. It would be a painfully torturous death worse than a million hours confined within a cube, worse than being locked in the jaws of a cobra to be swallowed whole, inch by agonizing inch. This may not be what you want to hear, but without the escape of art, death would be my only salvation. I would ask that you not mourn my passing.
Boris: Sorrow will pass, believe me. Life is so unimportant, and from now on you will dance like nobody ever before.
And yet, grieve you will. I know this because dogged human nature cannot help but rear its ugly little head, forever a foil to matters of true consequence. Why do we always have to muddy things up with overwrought emotion as if it is our destiny to be eternally locked in youthful daydreams of love?
Julian: One day when I’m old, I want some lovely young girl to say to me, “Tell me where in your long life, Mr. Craster, were you most happy.” I shall say, “Well, my dear, I never knew the exact place. It was somewhere on the Mediterranean. I was with Victoria Page. “What?” she will say. “Do you mean the famous dancer?” I will nod. “Yes, my dear, I do Then she was quite young, comparatively unspoiled. We were I remember very much in love.”
Stop! Such is my plea. We must stop all this incessant babble about grief or love. Oh, the silly distractions that are born from such drivel! I can assure you, my dear, that neither you nor I were put here to wallow in such frivolity. You must listen to what I say. You must!
Boris: I will do the talking. You will do the dancing.
Now is the time to create! Expel all else from your mind, put on those sparkling red shoes and let the muse take you away!