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NFT bfi Pilgrims' Progress: Powell and Pressburger Revisited
The Red Shoes
Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Producers: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Screenplay: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Additional dialogue: Keith Winter
Based on the original screenplay by: Emeric Pressburger
Based on a story by: Hans Christian Andersen *
Director of Photography: Jack Cardiff
Editor: Reginald Mills
Production designer: Hein Heckroth
Music/Music Arranger/Conductor: Brian Easdale
Marius Goring (Julian Craster)
Jean Short (Terry)
Gordon Littman (Ike)
Julian Lang (a balletomane)
Bill Shien (a balletomane's mate)
Leonide Massine (Grischa Ljubov)
Anton Walbrook (Boris Lermontov)
Austin Trevor (Professor Palmer)
Esmond Knight (Livingstone 'Livy' Montague)
Eric Berry (Dimitri)
Irene Browne (Lady Neston)
Moira Shearer (Victoria Page)
Ludmila Tcherina (Irina Boronskaja)
Jerry Verno (George, stage door keeper)
Robert Helpmann (Ivan Boleslawsky)
Albert Bassermann (Ratov)
Derek Elphinstone (Lord Oldham)
Madame Rambert (herself)
Joy Rawlins (Gladys, Vicky's friend)
Marcel Poncin (M Boudin)
Michael Bazalgette (M Rideaut)
Yvonne Andre (Vicky's dresser)
Hay Petrie (Boison)
Alan Carter (solo dancer/assistant maitre de ballet)
Joan Harris (solo dancer/assistant maitresse de ballet)
Joan Sheldon, Paula Dunning, Bryan Ashbridge,
Denis Carey, Lynne Dorval, Helen Ffrance,
Robert Dorning, Eddie Gaillard, Paul Hammond,
Tommy Linden, Trisha Linova, Anna Marinova,
Guy Massey, John Regan, Peggy Sager,
(Dancers (The Ballet of the Red Shoes))
(accompanist (The Ballet of The Red Shoes))
Richard George (doorman) *
Those aficionados who read the credit titles on films may wonder why Alfred Junge, hitherto our chief designer and senior senior, is not credited on The Red Shoes, while Hein Heckroth and Arthur Lawson are. The answer is that Uncle Alfred was no longer designing the film, and Hein and Arthur were.
Alfred was a professional among amateurs and he organised his department with maximum efficiency. He was a Prussian, and fought his pictures through as if they were campaigns. He never overspent. His sets and costumes were always ready on time. He was probably the greatest art director that films have ever known. Ever since I had been in films I had longed to work one day with Alfred Junge. When at last I achieved this, we made together some of the most spectacular and fantastic films ever made. Alfred was always grateful to me for rescuing him from the Army Camouflage Department to design Colonel Blimp. It was all the more sad that when we parted it was by my doing.
It was a case of realism versus fantasy. Alfred was the realist. What was Alfred going to say when I told him that one of my key decisions in making The Red Shoes was that there would be no audience except the film audience? (How many people, I wonder when they think of The Red Shoes, or when they see it, notice that there are no shots of the theatre audiences at all, except in the Mercury Theatre sequence?) And when I told him that once the curtain had gone up for the performance, we would no longer be in a theatre, but inside the heads of two young people who were falling in love, what would he say then?
He said what I feared he would say: 'Micky, you want to go too far.'
And when one of my collaborators tells me that I want to go too far, that's the end of the collaboration.
I found Hein Heckroth in our art department, working on the costume sketches for Junge's version of 'The Red Shoes Ballet'. He jumped up and stood to attention. I pointed to the sketches and said: 'Why in period?' His large opaque eyes stared at me. 'I do not understand.'
I shuffled the sketches, glancing at the delicate Copenhagen porcelain costumes, at the colour in the Hans Christian Andersen period. 'Very pretty, but why not today?' He still stared at me, trying to make me out. I said: 'The Red Shoes girl is a girl like other girls. It's a good story, but there's nothing period about it. We are making this film for a twentieth century audience with a twentieth century girl.'
He struck his great forehead with the flat of his hand as if he had just seen daylight for the first time. He bellowed: 'You are right!'
Production Companies: Archers Film Productions,
J. Arthur Rank Film Productions
Assistant Producer: George R. Busby
Production Assistant: Gwladys Jenks *
Production Secretary: Majorie Mein *
Assistant Director: Sydney S. Streeter
2nd Assistant Director: Kenneth Rick *
3rd Assistant Director: J.M. Gibson *
Continuity: Doreen North
Assistant Continuity: Joanna Busby *
Colour Consultant: Natalie Kalmus
Associate Colour Consultant: Joan Bridge
Camera Operator: Christopher Challis
Technicolor Composite Photography:
F. George Gunn, E. Hague
Focus Puller: George Minassian *
Clapper Loaders: Bob Kindred, John Morgan *
Stills: George Cannin *
Assistant Stills: Alistair Phillips *
Special Stills: Cornel Lucas *
Liaison Editor: John Seabourne Jr.
Assistant Editor: Noreen Ackland *
2nd Assistant Editors: Tony Haynes, Laurie Knight *
Art Director: Arthur Lawson
Assistant Art Director: Elven Webb *
Draughtsmen: Don Picton, V..B. Wilkins, V. Shaw,
Alan Withy, G. Heavens, Bernard Goodwin *
Paint: Ivor Beddoes
Special: Joseph Natanson
Scenic Artist: Alfred Roberts
Miss Shearer's Dresses: Jacques Fath, Mattli
Mlle Tcherina's Dresses: Carve
Wardrobe: Dorothy Edwards, Elsie Withers
Masks: Terence Morgan II *
Makeup Supervisor: Ernie Gasser *
Make-up: Eric Carter *
Music of Cafe de Paris Sequence:
Ted Heath's Kenny Baker Swing Group
Music Played by: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Aria Sung by: Margherita Grandi
The Red Shoes Ballet Sequence Conductor:
Music Recording: Ted Drake
Choreography of the ballet 'the Red Shoes':
Part of the Shoemaker Created/Danced by:
Sound: Charles Poulton
Boom Operator: Al Burton *
Dubbing: Gordon McCullum
Dubbing Editor: Leonard Trumm *
United Kingdom 1948
I said: 'I'm not satisfied with the designs for the ballet. Mr Junge and I do not agree. I want to see what she's feeling. I want to know what she is feeling while she is dancing.'
He nodded, his eyes sparkling. I said: 'I don't want a theatre-ballet, I want a film-ballet. I want such a ballet as audiences have never seen.' He nodded furiously, but still looked at me. Why was I saying all these things to him? I said: 'Where do you live, Hein?' It was the first time I had said his name. 'In Chelsea.' Perhaps we could talk there?'
We talked European art and European theatre until two in the morning. Hein was the man I was looking for. We agreed that he should work at home for the present on just a few sketches and ideas. Then we would talk to Junge together. Until then, secrecy. But in a Prussian organisation, however rigid, there is always someone who has direct access to the commander-in-chief's office.
Hein was at his drawing table etching the figures of boys and girls for the fair. The girls wore short skirts and the boys wore jeans and striped jerseys. Hein was just putting bowler hats and Apache-like caps on their heads when the door opened and Alfred stormed in. Hein had no time to hide what he was doing.
Junge marched up to him and thundered: 'I wish to ask you a question. As a German!'
This onslaught, and by a Prussian, brought out the old Hessian fighting spirit in Hein. He squared up to Junge and snapped: 'As a German?'
'Yes, as a German.' By now, the whole department knew there was a big confrontation on. Hein shouted: 'Ask it then.' The listeners trembled.
'Are you, or are you not making sketches for 'The Red Shoes Ballet' for Micky Powell?'
'Yes, I am.'
'Thank you.' With one contemptuous look at Hein's sketches on the board, Uncle Alfred marched out, and as far as I know, the two men never spoke to each other again.
from Michael Powell, A Life in Movies (Heinemann 1986)