The Masters  
The Powell & Pressburger Pages

Dedicated to the work of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger and all the other people, both actors and technicians who helped them make those wonderful films.

A lot of the documents have been sent to me or have come from other web sites. The name of the web site is given where known. If I have unintentionally included an image or document that is copyrighted or that I shouldn't have done then please email me and I'll remove it.

I make no money from this site, it's purely for the love of the films.

[Any comments are by me (Steve Crook) and other members of the email list]

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Close up: Moira Shearer

Given that she has contributed to some of British cinema's defining moments, it is a surprise to realise Moira Shearer's career in film has not been more prolific.

A leading ballerina with Sadler's Wells (now Royal) Ballet, she was launched on to the screen by Michael Powell, who waited over a year for her to accept the lead role in his ground-breaking and highly popular ballet film The Red Shoes which proved that ballet could be successfully presented on screen. After a brief return to Covent Garden, she went back to Powell and Pressburger for their even more commercially daring project The Tales of Hoffmann. She was tempted to Hollywood in 1953 for The Story of Three Loves, an old-fashioned tale of love aboard a transatlantic liner, then returned to Britain to make The Man Who Loved Redheads; her personal favourite, it enabled her to demonstrate her flair for comedy. As a favour to Powell, she then took the very small but iconic - and ironic - role of the hopeful dancer performing a banal routine in Peeping Tom. She went to France in 1961 to make Black Tights (Un, Deux, Trois, Quatre), a compilation of Roland Petit ballets in which she danced Roxanne in 'Cyrano de Bergerac' but which was then drastically cut by the studio. Although offered further roles, Shearer has prioritised a happy and fulfilling marriage and children over films, so regretfully audiences have not had the opportunity to see her on screen again, but we can still enjoy these very fine moments.

Hilary Smith

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