Marrying Trilby to Hans Christian Andersen, Pressburger's original script about a ballet dancer was written for Korda in the late 30s, but The Archers reclaimed it to create an allegory of art feeding off and ultimately destroying normal life, as Vicky Page achieves stardom under the impresario Boris Lermontov, but is then forced to choose by her composer husband, Julian, which leads to her death.
In the depths of post-war austerity, Powell and Pressburger were to carry their Technicolor crusade into even less fashionable territory with The Red Shoes. This time their backers were aghast at the lavish concentration of artistic forces, while critics were bemused by the perverse romanticism of a fairy-tale that ’comes true' and destroys its characters. Powell contributed his now formidable technical skills to the stylization of the film's two elements - the fantasy realism of its narrative outline and the realistic fantasy of its dance/dream episodes - employing a battery of techniques new and old. The Red Shoes was above all a work of creative collaboration between artists and technicians in many fields, on a scale rarely attempted in the cinema.
Ian Christie (Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger: Arrows of Desire)