“My memory goes back to the very first films. My ambition goes far ahead of today.”
Michael Powell, on the ballet sequence of The Red Shoes
Let me just tap this microphone a couple of times. Cough once. Thumbs up. We’re good to go? I have a little announcement to make and it is a wee bit off-topic.
You may remember that a few years back I wrote a book about Pandora’s Box (GW Pabst, 1929), in the BFI Film Classics series. That was fun. So much so that I wrote another one last year. But this one, full disclosure, is on a talkie.
A talkie that is, which excels at non-verbal storytelling, and employs camera effects that owe everything to the silent era. My new book is on Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s sublime The Red Shoes (1948). The film is one of my favourites of all time, and I hope you love it too.
This year the film celebrates its 75th anniversary and my book will be released in time to mark that, on 5 October. It is available to pre-order now, should you wish to. No pressure, at all.
There is far more to say about The Red Shoes than can fit into such a petite volume, but I took a look at the film’s rich symbolism, and what the film had to say about artistic ambition, as well as exploring the British ballet culture that surrounded the making of and the reception of the film, and the early 20th-century Russian ballet personalities who inspired it. Needless to say, I talk a lot about the genius of Powell, Pressburger, Moira Shearer, Jack Cardiff, Hein Heckroth, Anton Walbrook and more too.
Fellow devotees of Victoria Page: please look out for events and screenings around the book’s release date where I hope to be discussing everything to do with dance, film and deadly perfectionism.
Thank you so much for reading. Now I will pirouette away and leave you in peace. I hope to have more silent-film news to share with you soon.