44 The Red Shoes

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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Tommaso
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Re: 44 The Red Shoes

#26 Post by Tommaso » Sun May 03, 2009 6:13 am

Matt wrote:Just buy it already. Life is too short to continue living without this movie on your shelf.
Absolutely. But if there's one film I would ever even consider buying a Blu Ray player for, it must be this one. But until then, buy the SD. You will forget about its imperfections very, very quickly once you immerse yourself in this mesmerizing experience.

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denti alligator
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Re: 44 The Red Shoes

#27 Post by denti alligator » Sun May 03, 2009 10:20 am

It's been a while since I saw this film, but I definitely did not like it. However, since then I have fallen in love with IKWIG and A Canterbury Tale, both of which rank among my favorite films of any period. Is it time to give The Red Shoes another try?

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Michael
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Re: 44 The Red Shoes

#28 Post by Michael » Sun May 03, 2009 10:54 am

denti alligator wrote: Is it time to give The Red Shoes another try?
It depends. What is it about The Red Shoes that you didn't like?

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Tommaso
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Re: 44 The Red Shoes

#29 Post by Tommaso » Sun May 03, 2009 1:40 pm

Truly sorry and somewhat astonished you didn't get into "Red Shoes" yet, denti. I had the same problem with IKWIG at first, and now I too love it, so you should definitely try again. Well, you could argue that "A Canterbury Tale" is the better film because of its pitch-perfect script and its surprising complexity that is easily overlooked if one just considers it as a celebration of the English landscape or - heavens forbid - only as a propaganda piece. "The Red Shoes" might be slightly less complex, even though it also has the typical theme of an ambivalent manipulator figure and the questions about how far 'art' can or should go and how it interrelates with life. Also, "The Red Shoes" tends to be perhaps a bit too long especially in its first half - and I've also come to rate "Canterbury" higher as a whole -, but once you see that BALLET SEQUENCE and then the ending of the film there's no doubt that "Red Shoes" contains what might be P&P's finest moments ever. Not to speak about Moira Shearer, of course.

BTW: it might have been mentioned elsewhere, but powell-pressburger.org have a one-liner without any further info that the restored version of "Red Shoes" will be shown in Cannes. So the resto is ready, and CC better hurry to put it on disc. Though without Cardiff at hand anymore (and what a loss that is, even though he was an old man of course) one might fear that the colour scheme might be different, more 'natural' and less 'psychedelic' than the current CC disc.

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denti alligator
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Re: 44 The Red Shoes

#30 Post by denti alligator » Sun May 03, 2009 4:20 pm

Michael: hard to say what I didn't like. It just left me "blah." I won't go into details for fear of offending someone or (worse) making myself cringe later if I see the film differently.

Tomasso: you know my tastes better, and I too had a luke-warm first reaction to IKWIG. Strange. Second time (at the behest of a friend) it blew me away. Third time it became one of my very favorite films of all time.

A Canterbury Tale is another story. I saw it for the first time with Criterion's release and it instantly became one of my top 10 films. Period. The emotional complexity, the ambiguous tone, the shifting registers throughout the film, the weird sexual undertones, the beautiful cinemtaography--it all adds up to something far greater than the sum of these parts. Wow.

I'll wait for the resto of Red Shoes to revisit it.

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Jean-Luc Garbo
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Re: 44 The Red Shoes

#31 Post by Jean-Luc Garbo » Sun May 03, 2009 5:03 pm

I've always loved this film for two reasons: Technicolor and Anton Walbrook. As a Jeremy Irons fan, by way of comparison to their mannered performances of strange dudes, I've always been fascinated by Walbrook's character. I also loved him in Blimp, but here he's so peculiar yet charismatic. The tension between him and Marius was always interesting to me. Alas, the only way to explode that tension was Kerr's death. But that central triangle with Walbrook at the head was compelling to watch and continually fascinating. I'd say watch it for Walbrook.

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Tommaso
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Re: 44 The Red Shoes

#32 Post by Tommaso » Sun May 03, 2009 6:21 pm

Denti, I couldn't have expressed what I think about "Canterbury Tale" any better than you did. I too saw it first via the CC set, and it probably not only made it into my top ten, but rather top five or three films, for exactly the reasons you describe (and how they got away with the glue man plot and its sexual implications in 1944 is completely beyond me, but they managed to). But "Canterbury" just touches a very soft spot in me, without it ever becoming sentimental or even approaching the 'reactionary nostalgia' associated nowadays with the so-called 'heritage film'.

And I have a very similar reaction to yours if it comes to IKWIG: when I first saw it, it somehow didn't convince me because I found that transformation of Wendy Hiller's character too abrupt, and the Walter Scott atmosphere somewhat dated. On second and third viewings, I found it to be a logical continuation of "Canterbury" (and of "The Edge of the World"), and a perfect expression of what P&P were up to at that point, i.e. the 'crusade against materialism' that Pressburger spoke of at the time.

"The Red Shoes", however, blew my mind immediately and thoroughly, which may have something to do with my liking for ballet films in general, that utterly amazing central ballet sequence, and apart from the divine Moira, indeed Anton Walbrook. If anyone wants to see some of the beginnings of Walbrook's screen or real life persona, i.e. that type he plays in "Red Shoes" and perfected in Ophuls' "La ronde" (another film that immediately made it into my top twenty), I would recommend "Viktor und Viktoria" (1933), an early German operetta/ musical directed by the great Reinhold Schünzel, which I believe was even remade by Hollywood many years later. The Schünzel version is out on a German disc, unsubbed. But if that doesn't bother you: it's a real treat and it's great to see Walbrook (then Adolf Wohlbrück) already displaying his usual refined stylishness in that film.

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foggy eyes
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Re: 44 The Red Shoes

#33 Post by foggy eyes » Sun May 03, 2009 8:39 pm

denti alligator wrote:I won't go into details for fear of offending someone or (worse) making myself cringe later if I see the film differently.
Very wise! Perhaps your memory is playing tricks - I cannot imagine any attentive/perceptive individual with their eyes and ears open not having a transformative experience during the ballet sequence. The only "musical" sequence that might be comparable in the history of cinema is Lullaby of Broadway, but it's even more sublime than that...

Ditto everything Tommaso has said.
I'll wait for the resto of Red Shoes to revisit it.
Ian Christie says that apparently it's stunning (he's written a piece for some catalogue or other - not a DVD, I don't think), and that they've uncovered material from the original negative that nobody has ever seen before...

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Dadapass
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Re: 44 The Red Shoes

#34 Post by Dadapass » Sun May 03, 2009 9:28 pm

denti alligator wrote:hard to say what I didn't like. It just left me "blah."
I felt this way about every P&P film I've seen except IKWIG. I tried to watch the Red Shoes again a couple of months ago and couldn't make it through. I think a couple of years before trying again will do me good.

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Person
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Re: 44 The Red Shoes

#35 Post by Person » Sun May 03, 2009 9:48 pm

Dadapass wrote:
denti alligator wrote:hard to say what I didn't like. It just left me "blah."
I felt this way about every P&P film I've seen except IKWIG. I tried to watch the Red Shoes again a couple of months ago and couldn't make it through. I think a couple of years before trying again will do me good.
You fucking heartless heretic. Be gone with you! Throw this fellow out of doors!

karmajuice
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Re: 44 The Red Shoes

#36 Post by karmajuice » Sun May 03, 2009 9:53 pm

I would just like to mention, I threw this in yesterday and watched the ballet sequence. Christ. Christ christ christ christ christ. I was actually trembling once it was over. I think it impresses me more every time I see it (this being my third or fourth time).

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Tommaso
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Re: 44 The Red Shoes

#37 Post by Tommaso » Mon May 04, 2009 7:36 am

foggy eyes wrote: they've uncovered material from the original negative that nobody has ever seen before...
To use karmajuice's words: Christ. Christ christ christ christ christ. Fantastic news indeed. I don't remember having ever heard that anything is missing from the finished film as we know it, so I suppose these will be outtakes or additional scenes? Though I do remember Powell saying that he wanted to be the ballet sequence somewhat longer than it is now, but Pressburger objected to this. So this gives room for speculation about what this uncovered material actually might be.

And yes, I have absolutely the same reaction as karmajuice when it comes to that ballet, including the trembling. I have a similar reaction to the scene in "Canterbury" when Alison first sees the Cathedral from afar on the Pilgrim's Way and Colpeper appears out of nowhere. I guess it has something to do with Powell's extraordinary knack for knowing how far he could push the beauty of his images and sounds without getting over-the-top and thus becoming sentimental. With the ballet, I suppose it also has to do with the way how the dance and the visuals explore the depths of Vicky's psyche in a dilemma that is pretty much known to everyone. Thus the great empathy that is created in the viewer, so that those images are hard to be watched with a great intellectual distance, like it's possible with "Hoffmann", and not to speak of something like the big dance sequences in Minnelli's "American in Paris" or "The Band Wagon". I love these films, of course, but what in Minnelli is basically an amazing visual treat becomes almost a semi-religious experience in "The Red Shoes". Ah well, I'm waxing lyrical again, but I think Powell had a point when he described himself (without much irony, I fear) as a "high-priest of the mysteries." Thank God he didn't think he was Richard Wagner....

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foggy eyes
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Re: 44 The Red Shoes

#38 Post by foggy eyes » Mon May 04, 2009 10:11 am

Tommaso wrote:To use karmajuice's words: Christ. Christ christ christ christ christ. Fantastic news indeed. I don't remember having ever heard that anything is missing from the finished film as we know it, so I suppose these will be outtakes or additional scenes? Though I do remember Powell saying that he wanted to be the ballet sequence somewhat longer than it is now, but Pressburger objected to this. So this gives room for speculation about what this uncovered material actually might be.
Oh, sorry, I meant in relation to the restoration process - detail, colour, etc. No changes in terms of extra "footage", just material facets of the image that haven't been seen due to technological constraints until now, apparently. I should have been more careful with my wording - it's a suggestion that couldn't fail to make us RS devotees rather hot under the collar!

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Antoine Doinel
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Re: 44 The Red Shoes

#39 Post by Antoine Doinel » Wed May 13, 2009 11:42 pm

Scorsese talks about the film and his relationship with Michael Powell. At the end of the article it notes a new DVD and BluRay will be released in R2 at the end of June.

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Tommaso
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Re: 44 The Red Shoes

#40 Post by Tommaso » Thu May 14, 2009 5:47 am

Nice article, apart from the misinformation about "Peeping Tom" being Powell's first solo film, and good to hear not only about the new dvd release, but also that apparently other P&P movies are being restored now (though I always thought that most of the discs currently available already had good prints, "Red Shoes" being the exception rather than the rule). I also feel relieved in another department. Powell's walking-out of "Forty Guns" definitely makes me feel less ashamed now, because I also wasn't able to understand why everyone seems to be raving about that one...

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david hare
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Re: 44 The Red Shoes

#41 Post by david hare » Fri May 15, 2009 4:18 am

Never mind about Forty Guns! The announcement of a BluRay Red Shoes has knocked me onto the floor!

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JAP
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Re: 44 The Red Shoes

#42 Post by JAP » Sun May 17, 2009 6:35 pm

The Film Foundation site has a news release about the restoration (check the nice PDF booklet at the end of the page).
At 4K resolution and given Janus Films partnership in the restoration a Criterion Blu-Ray release seems almost unavoidable. (I hope...)

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Dr. Snaut
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Re: 44 The Red Shoes

#43 Post by Dr. Snaut » Tue May 19, 2009 1:31 pm

So can the news of the new print and the Blu-ray in R2 be taken that Criterion will be re-releasing Red Shoes? I know that just because a new film print has been discovered does not mean that a new DVD will be released.

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Tommaso
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Re: 44 The Red Shoes

#44 Post by Tommaso » Tue May 19, 2009 1:51 pm

Well, it's not just the rediscovery of a new print, but a whole new restoration; I very much suppose that all the annoying debris, scratches etc. that are on the CC disc (and, from all that I heard, also on the Institut Lumiere disc) will be gone. Whether the resto retains the Cardiff-approved colour timing of the CC disc is uncertain, of course, and actually my greatest cause of worry after seeing the new Sony AMOLAD. But supposing everything will go right, I'm pretty sure CC will re-release it, not least to make it Blu (and hopefully not blue).

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Matt
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Re: 44 The Red Shoes

#45 Post by Matt » Tue May 19, 2009 4:23 pm

Dr. Snaut wrote:So can the news of the new print and the Blu-ray in R2 be taken that Criterion will be re-releasing Red Shoes?
Janus Films was a partner in the restoration. I can't imagine that would be the case if there were no plans for Criterion to follow through with a re-release.

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ellipsis7
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Re: 44 The Red Shoes

#46 Post by ellipsis7 » Tue May 19, 2009 5:03 pm

Judge for yourself with these fresh images glimpsed along with Schoonmaker i/v whether the new resto is truer to P&P's purpose and palette than the Cardiff approved transfer...

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swo17
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Re: 44 The Red Shoes

#47 Post by swo17 » Tue May 19, 2009 5:07 pm

Matt wrote:
Dr. Snaut wrote:So can the news of the new print and the Blu-ray in R2 be taken that Criterion will be re-releasing Red Shoes?
Janus Films was a partner in the restoration. I can't imagine that would be the case if there were no plans for Criterion to follow through with a re-release.
Yeah well, what about this?

Granted, it's a little vague, but I would think that a newly restored Red Shoes transfer would result in a re-release and probably a Blu-ray, but not just a Blu-ray.

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HerrSchreck
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Re: 44 The Red Shoes

#48 Post by HerrSchreck » Tue May 19, 2009 5:13 pm

Well, they seem to be going at it in the right spirit...

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Matt
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Re: 44 The Red Shoes

#49 Post by Matt » Tue May 19, 2009 5:43 pm

swo17 wrote:Yeah well, what about this?
I stopped putting stock in any Mulvaney statements about what's coming and not coming in about 2004.

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knives
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Re: 44 The Red Shoes

#50 Post by knives » Tue May 19, 2009 6:31 pm

That restored footage looks great. I'm not sure if it's the most true to what P&P wanted, but that little clip makes it look like a new film.
Off topic, but does anyone else think Scorsese looks very much like de Sica?

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