I had the same reaction to “Black Swan” as to “The Red Shoes”…and it involved an eye roll

Apologies if I’ve offended you, or if these are among your favorite movies… The message I gleaned from both films is:



ballet kills.



So, if you dance, have talent, discipline, drive, and receive thunderous applause for your efforts you will lose love, go mad, and plunge to a grisly ballet inflicted death.

red shoes moira shearer


Damn those toe shoes!




  1. You could also turn it around and say that ballet is for very passionate people, and that being really passionate can make life hard.
    Next to that, imagine how boring a movie about a healthy hardworking dancer would be ;).

  2. George Kaplan

    Bwahahahaha! BLASPHEMY! About The Red Shoes that is, I could care less about The Black Swan! The way to understand the Powell/Pressburger film is to see it as *not literal*, it is MELODRAMA, dah-ling, and it parallels the Hans Christian Andersen tale. It’s *heightened* it isn’t supposed to be “real”. Look at the scene when the shoes “dance” by themselves. Literal? No. The Red Shoes is an exercise in pushing melodrama as far as it can go, look at Anton Walbrook’s fantastic camp, tortured, martinet Lermentov he’s less character than *symbol* of the Artist for whom Art is All, it’s only at the end, when Moira Shearer is driven to death (SPOILER!) that he realizes his mistake, and if you view it in the way it’s *meant* to be viewed there is no way that you can be failed to be moved when he cries, as he realizes it is his fault. This ain’t The Turning Point, it’s *metaphor*! It isn’t “realist” (pah!) drama it’s about the cost of Art. Besides take a gander at the fates of some of the greats in Ballet and Opera, they are as melodramatic as anything in The Red Shoes! Look for instance at what happened to Nijinksky, if you dare…
    One more thing, even if you can’t see that The Red Shoes is more fairy tale than documentary just *drink in that color and design*! The coruscating titian of Moira Shearer’s hair, the plush pink paleness of her skin, the RED of the red shoes! And not to forget the performances, that find the balance between grandiose camp (coded gay, in some cases) splendor/emotional excess and the delicate and more human. It’s Great!
    Well, that’s George’s Film Art Master Class for today, I’ve chastized you enough I think. 😉

    • Well, well, well… The return of George! And what an entrance! The scales have fallen from my eyes and I will take another look at The Red Shoes as a gorgeous metaphor. But, I don’t know if it qualifies as a classic fairytale, because I thought the point of those children’s stories was the ability to overcome and learn from amazing obstacles…

  3. George Kaplan

    For ballet on screen you may like look for Lesley Ann Warren and Muppets Ballet or Swine Lake on youtube, I don’t know but I think they should be there. Fun! And no one dies!

  4. George Kaplan

    Interesting, ma amie! Regarding fairy tales, some of them are really grim – pun almost unintended! I forgot to say that “Ballet Kills.” and “Damn those toe shoes!” are hilarious!

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