Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger

The Red Shoes

The Red Shoes

The Red Shoes, the singular fantasia from Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, is cinema’s quintessential backstage drama, as well as one of the most glorious Technicolor feasts ever concocted for the screen. Moira Shearer is a rising star ballerina torn between an idealistic composer and a ruthless impresario intent on perfection. Featuring outstanding performances, blazingly beautiful cinematography by Jack Cardiff, Oscar-winning sets and music, and an unforgettable, hallucinatory central dance sequence, this beloved classic, dazzlingly restored, stands as an enthralling tribute to the life of the artist.


The Red Shoes was restored by the UCLA Film & Television Archive in association with the BFI, The Film Foundation, ITV Global Entertainment Ltd., and Janus Films. Restoration funding provided by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, The Film Foundation, and the Louis B. Mayer Foundation.

Film Info

  • United Kingdom
  • 1948
  • 133 minutes
  • Color
  • 1.37:1
  • French, English
  • Spine #44

Special Features

  • In the 4K UHD edition: 4K digital transfer from the 2009 restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
  • In the 4K UHD edition: One 4K UHD disc of the film presented in Dolby Vision HDR and one Blu-ray with the film and special features
  • In the Blu-ray and DVD editions: High-definition digital transfer from the 2009 restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Introductory restoration demonstration with filmmaker Martin Scorsese
  • Audio commentary from 1994 by film historian Ian Christie, featuring interviews with actors Marius Goring and Moira Shearer, cinematographer Jack Cardiff, composer Brian Easdale, and Scorsese
  • Profile of “The Red Shoes,” a 2000 documentary on the making of the film, featuring interviews with members of the production team
  • Interview with director Michael Powell’s widow, editor Thelma Schoonmaker Powell, from the 2009 Cannes Film Festival
  • Audio recordings from 1994 of actor Jeremy Irons reading excerpts from Powell and screenwriter Emeric Pressburger’s novelization of The Red Shoes and the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale “The Red Shoes”
  • Collection of rare publicity stills and behind-the-scenes photos
  • Gallery of memorabilia from Scorsese’s collection
  • The “Red Shoes” Sketches, a 1948 animated film of Hein Heckroth’s painted storyboards, with the Red Shoes ballet as an alternate angle
  • Trailer
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • PLUS: An essay by critic David Ehrenstein and a description of the restoration by UCLA film archivist Robert Gitt

Cover by F. Ron Miller

Purchase Options

Special Features

  • In the 4K UHD edition: 4K digital transfer from the 2009 restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
  • In the 4K UHD edition: One 4K UHD disc of the film presented in Dolby Vision HDR and one Blu-ray with the film and special features
  • In the Blu-ray and DVD editions: High-definition digital transfer from the 2009 restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Introductory restoration demonstration with filmmaker Martin Scorsese
  • Audio commentary from 1994 by film historian Ian Christie, featuring interviews with actors Marius Goring and Moira Shearer, cinematographer Jack Cardiff, composer Brian Easdale, and Scorsese
  • Profile of “The Red Shoes,” a 2000 documentary on the making of the film, featuring interviews with members of the production team
  • Interview with director Michael Powell’s widow, editor Thelma Schoonmaker Powell, from the 2009 Cannes Film Festival
  • Audio recordings from 1994 of actor Jeremy Irons reading excerpts from Powell and screenwriter Emeric Pressburger’s novelization of The Red Shoes and the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale “The Red Shoes”
  • Collection of rare publicity stills and behind-the-scenes photos
  • Gallery of memorabilia from Scorsese’s collection
  • The “Red Shoes” Sketches, a 1948 animated film of Hein Heckroth’s painted storyboards, with the Red Shoes ballet as an alternate angle
  • Trailer
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • PLUS: An essay by critic David Ehrenstein and a description of the restoration by UCLA film archivist Robert Gitt

Cover by F. Ron Miller

The Red Shoes
Cast
Anton Walbrook
Boris Lermontov
Marius Goring
Julian Craster
Moira Shearer
Victoria Page
Robert Helpmann
Ivan Boleslawsky
Léonide Massine
Ljubov
Albert Basserman
Ratov
Ludmilla Tchérina
Boronskaja
Esmond Knight
Livy
Austin Trevor
Professor Palmer
Eric Berry
Dimitri
Irene Brown
Lady Neston
Credits
Director
Michael Powell
Written, produced, and directed by
Michael Powell
Written, produced, and directed by
Emeric Pressburger
Production design
Hein Heckroth
Editing
Reginald Mills
Music composed, arranged, and conducted by
Brian Easdale
Art direction
Arthur Lawson
The "Ballet of the Red Shoes" choreography by
Robert Helpmann
The part of the shoemaker created and danced by
Léonide Massine
The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by
Sir Thomas Beecham
Cinematography
Jack Cardiff
Director
Emeric Pressburger

Current

The Red Shoes: Dancing for Your Life
The Red Shoes: Dancing for Your Life
“Why do you want to dance?” “Why do you want to live?” A question followed by another question stands at the beating heart of The Red Shoes. It’s an entirely rhetorical exchange, but it underscores the power and the mystery of Michael Pow…

By David Ehrenstein

The Red Shoes
The Red Shoes
Before The Red Shoes, there were films with dance numbers. After it, there was a new medium which combined dance, design, and music in a dreamlike spectacle. Hollywood musicals were quick to pay tribute—An American in Paris was the most obviously i…

By Ian Christie

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Is The Red Shoes a Film Noir?

Dark Passages

Is The Red Shoes a Film Noir?

While considered to lie outside the highly policed boundaries of film noir, films like Douglas Sirk’s Written on the Wind and Powell and Pressburger’s The Red Shoes nevertheless share many of noir’s stylistic and thematic tropes.

By Imogen Sara Smith

Explore

Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger

Writer, Producer, Director

Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger
Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger

Though The Red Shoes is possibly the most popular and visually entrancing dance film of all time, the producing, directing, and writing team of the British Michael Powell and the Hungarian Emeric Pressburger created numerous other odes to the power of art and the imagination, always going against the realist strain of British cinema. Known by the name of their production company, the Archers, Powell and Pressburger forged a working alliance that lasted from the late thirties to the early seventies, and from the anti-Nazi propaganda of 49th Parallel and the astoundingly designed and edited epic The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp to the erotic, magical excesses of A Canterbury Tale, I Know Where I’m Going!, Black Narcissus, and The Tales of Hoffmann. The duo were never as successful on their own as with each other, though Powell’s controversial Peeping Tom remains one of the most subversive and disturbing films ever made.