Powell & Pressburger masterpiece The Red Shoes on the big screen in Rosendale

Moira Shearer in the Powell and Pressburger classic The Red Shoes

There’s absolutely nothing like a Powell/Pressburger film, which always started with an arrow hitting its target, just as all their great works did – especially the voluptuously beautiful and deeply memorable The Red Shoes, which even after Black Swan is still the be-all and end-all of ballet (and all arts) works on film. It plays this Sunday as part of the Rosendale Theatre’s monthly series of dance works.

The 1948 film’s plot was inspired by the famous impresario Serge Diaghilev and his Ballets Russes, and involved the creation of an actual ballet company to give authenticity to the rehearsals and performances, choreographed by Robert Helpmann. Backstage dramas, an artiste’s single-minded pursuit of excellence and the bringing to life of a classic Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale about a pair of seductive red ballet shoes that cause an unsuspecting ballerina to dance to her death all carry the plot.

Yet it’s the beautiful compositions, use of color and overall sense of immaculate production that the producing, writing and directing team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger brings to this and all their films that makes it all soar. Ever seen Black Narcissus, I Know Where I’m Going! or The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp? They are considered by many to be cinema at its best.

Dance Film Sundays – a series that started in June 2010 under the auspices of the Rosendale Theatre Collective – are held on the second Sunday of every month at the Rosendale Theatre.


The Red Shoes, Sunday, May 10, 3 p.m., $10/$6, Rosendale Theatre, 408 Main Street, Rosendale; (845) 658-8989, https://www.rosendaletheatre.org.



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