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'The Red Shoes' takes a bow at Cannes

May 15, 2009 |  4:22 pm

Redshoes If there is one thing that most dance fans can agree on, it's that "The Red Shoes" (1948) is one of the best ballet films ever made.

A new print of the classic movie was screened at the Cannes Film Festival today. Martin Scorsese oversaw the restoration process, working with the UCLA Film & Television Archive.

"The Red Shoes," directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, tells the story of an aspiring young dancer (Moira Shearer) who joins a prestigious ballet company. There, she lands the lead in a new ballet called "The Red Shoes," based on a story by Hans Christian Andersen.

Times film critic Kenneth Turan reports in this Sunday's Calendar section about the 2 1/2-year restoration process undertaken by UCLA's Robert Gitt. The movie contains 192,960 frames in the print and 578,880 in the tripartite negative, all of which had to be examined for mold and negative shrinkage.

While there are no play dates scheduled for Los Angeles yet, ballet fans can safely expect the new print to make its way here within the next year or so.

Meanwhile, the Criterion Collection offers an excellent DVD edition of "The Red Shoes" that features plenty of ballet-related extras.

And if you're looking for more ballet and dance-themed movies, click through to see Culture Monster's recommended list ...

"The Company" (2003, d. Robert Altman): Neve Campbell performs her own dance numbers in this story about a rising star in a Joffrey-esque ballet company.

"Talk to Her" (2002, d. Pedro Almodovar): The story of a young dance star and a bullfighter who both end up in comas at the same hospital. Featuring dance sequences by Pina Bausch.

"Billy Elliot" (2000, d. Stephen Daldry): An emotional heart-tugger about a working-class boy's initiation into the world of ballet. The musical version on Broadway recently received 15 Tony nominations.

"Ballet" (1995, d. Frederick Wiseman): An engrossing three-hour documentary that follows the daily lives of the members of New York's American Ballet Theater.

"White Nights" (1985, d. Taylor Hackford): Mikhail Baryshnikov plays a Russian ballet dancer in this Cold War adventure tale.

"The Turning Point" (1977, d. Herbert Ross): Shirley MacLaine and Anne Bancroft ham it up as ballet doyennes who envy each other's career choices.

-- David Ng

Photo: A scene from "The Red Shoes." Credit: Festival de Cannes.