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Submitted by Neal Lofthouse
Moira Shearer - Fairy Tale Girl
Picturegoer, page 11
Nov 24th 1951
Referred to in earlier article.
Following on her sucess in "The Red Shoes," the famous ballet dancer scores a triumph in "The Tales of Hoffmann"
The now generally released 'Tales of Hoffmann' is precisely Moira Shearer's second screen appearance ; it is also precisely her second screen triumph. First, of course, was 'The Red Shoes'.
Moira Shearer, who had a flying start, anyway, in being number two ballerina of the Sadler's Wells company, was an immediate success.
In short, Moira Shearer was something new and lovely to watch.
Now 'Hoffmann', after wide pre-release runs, goes to local cinemas next week. Whatever you may think of Powell and Pressburger's interpretation of the opera (personally, I fell for it), you will have to admit that Shearer is a fascinating and sensitive personality.
This sensitivity is partly due to her ballet training, partly due to the inherent quality of Moira Shearer herself. She unquestionably imparts a strange unworldliness to the characters she plays.
This touch of enchantment was very noticeable in 'The Red Shoes'. The same applies to her role as Stella in the prologue and epilogue of 'Hoffmann', as distinct from the pure ballet of the Dragonfly Dance and her dancing as the doll, Olympia, though both these dances brought new freshness of their own to the screen.
It is interesting to reflect on these things. 'The Red Shoes', angled on ballet, was superficially a tale about ballet folk. Woven into it, of course, was the inspiration of Hans Andersen's "The Little Red Shoes."
Thus, 'The Red Shoes' was a fairy tale in essence.
'Hoffmann' is, again, a sort of fairy tale trilogy. In the accomplishment of both these works Moira Shearer gives much to the necessary "un-reality," being herself something of a woman from the land of dreams.
From this one may be allowed to speculate. It is excellent that she is now teaming up with the equally enigmatical Danny Kaye. They are making a film in Hollywood for Sam Goldwyn.
An unexpected and surprising teaming? Superficially yes. But not so surprising when one realizes that the intended film for these two is based on Hans Andersen.
There's promise in that, with ingredients exciting enough to whet anybody's appetite. Moira Shearer and Danny Kaye are artists to their fingertips ; both are gifted as dancers and actors. Both are unusual.
[Presumeably this is Hans Christian Andersen (1952). Moira wasn't in it, but Zizi Jeanmaire was and Moira & Zizi later co-starred in Black Tights (1960). There's a piece about how Moira was to have done it here.]
A screen alliance of this callibre, I hazard, can produce a film that will be an occasion.