(Re)Master Class: The Red Shoes

Moira Shearer as doomed danseur Victoria Page.

Still in awe over this weekend's screening at the Billy Wilder Theater of the newly remastered "The Red Shoes," the 1948 masterpiece that must be seen to be believed.
The magnificent movie by the genius Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger is considered one of the best dance films. But it's not only a film about ballet. This is about the all-consuming nature of art. To that end, it's a lavish revelation.

Death by ruby slippers.

No wonder Martin Scorcese and other leading filmmakers often cite it among their top favorites, an influential work in part because of the then-revolutionary technology that went into creating the saturated colors, not to mention the sets so dominated by surrealism and remarkable cinematography. The costumes, too, are gasp-worthy. And melodramatic as it is, the acting by the likes of Marius Goring and Anton Walbrook, not to mention dancing by Moira Shearer and the rest of the cast, is first-rate.

This weekend's screening was among the first in North America since the remastered work's world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May. An extensive two-year digital restoration went into saving it by the UCLA Film & Television Archive and The Film Foundation–whose president is Scorcese–along with several funding sources, including the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (the folks behind the Golden Globes).

A Blu-Ray release of the remastered film hit the UK marketplace last week. Let's hope a U.S. rollout not only follows very soon, but so, too, a theater run. It's one film created to be experienced in all its Technicolor, big-screen glory.

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