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http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/powell.htm
U.K. 1948

The Red Shoes, the singular fantasia from Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, is cinema’s quintessential backstage drama, as well as one of the most glorious Technicolor feasts ever concocted for the screen. Moira Shearer is a rising star ballerina torn between an idealistic composer and a ruthless impresario intent on perfection. Featuring outstanding performances, blazingly beautiful cinematography by Jack Cardiff, Oscar-winning sets and music, and an unforgettable, hallucinatory central dance sequence, this beloved classic, now dazzlingly restored, stands as an enthralling tribute to the life of the artist.

***

A glorious Technicolor epic that influenced generations of filmmakers, artists, and aspiring ballerinas, The Red Shoes intricately weaves backstage life with the thrill of performance. A young ballerina (Moira Shearer) is torn between two forces: the composer who loves her (Marius Goring), and the impresario determined to fashion her into a great dancer (Anton Walbrook).

Posters

Theatrical Release: September 6th, 1948

Reviews      More Reviews      DVD Reviews

DVD Comparison:

Warner Home Vidéo (2-disc) - Region 2 - PAL vs. Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Carlton  - Region 2 - PAL vs. ITV DVD - Region 'B' - Blu-ray vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

1) Warner Home Vidéo (2-disc) - Region 2 - PAL LEFT

2) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Carlton - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) ITV DVD - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

DVD Box Covers

 

Distribution Warner Home Vidéo
Region 2 - PAL

Criterion

Region 0  - NTSC

Carlton 
Region 2 - PAL
ITV DVD
Region 'B' -
Blu-ray
Criterion - Spine #44
Region 'A' -
Blu-ray
Runtime 2:07:52 (4% PAL faster) 2:13:32 2:08:04 (4% PAL faster) 2:15:04.137 2:15:29.162
Video 1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio 
Average Bitrate: 6.24
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio 
Average Bitrate: 6.24 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio 
Average Bitrate: 6.39
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 27,605,861,540 bytes

Feature: 23,430,383,040 bytes

Video Bitrate: 20.02 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

1.33:1 - 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 49,137,258,077 bytes

Feature: 36,569,591,808 bytes

Video Bitrate: 31.56 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Warner

Bitrate:

Criterion

 

Bitrate:

Carlton

 

Bitrate:

ITV Blu-ray

 

Bitrate:

Criterion Blu-ray

 

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0) English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono) , Commentaries (Dolby Digital 1.0) English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)

LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz /
1536 kbps / 16-bit
Dolby Digital Audio English 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz /
256 kbps

LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Subtitles French and none English and none English and none English and none English and none
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Warner Home Vidéo

Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen (Standard) - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
Introduction by Bernard Tavernier (6:41) with English subtitles

Disc 2

Memories of Michael (11:24) in English with optional French subtitles

Daring with an Aventuer - French with optional English subtitles (17:23)

"A Profile of The Red Shoes" documentary (23:50) English with optional French subtitles

A Step Into the Dance

• 44-page liner notes booklet with Photos and essays (In French only)


DVD Release Date: April 4th, 2006

Three tiered digipak inside slipcase
Chapters: 16

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen (Standard) - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Jeremy Irons reads excerpts from Powell and Pressburger's novelization of "The Red Shoes" and the original Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale
• Martin Scorsese's collection of "Red Shoes" memorabilia
• Publicity and behind-the-scenes production stills
• The Red Shoes Sketches: animated film of Hein Heckroth's painted storyboards, with a comparison to "The Red Shoes" ballet
• Powell and Pressburger filmography, including film clips and stills (38 stills)

• Trailer (2:26)

 

DVD Release Date: May 18th, 1999
Keep Case

Chapters 36

Release Information:
Studio: Carlton Visual Entertainment Ltd

Aspect Ratio:

Full Screen (Standard) - 1.33:1

Edition Details:

  • "A Profile of The Red Shoes" documentary (23:50)
  • "The Ballet of The Red Shoes" featurette (15:21)
  • behind-the-scenes stills gallery (24 stills)
  • cast and crew biographies, trailer, 
  • Unrestored theatrical trailer (2:21) animated menus.

DVD Release Date: May 21st, 2002
Magnificent firm cardboard box with clear plastic insert containing black and white photos behind

Chapters 15

Release Information:
Studio: ITV DVD

 

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 27,605,861,540 bytes

Feature: 23,430,383,040 bytes

Video Bitrate: 20.02 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Edition Details:

  • "A Profile of The Red Shoes" documentary (24:14)
  • "The Ballet of The Red Shoes" featurette (15:23)
  • Cannes 2009 - Martin Scorsese Introduction
  • Cannes - Thelma Schoonmaker (14:04)
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Stills gallery; cast and crew on location

Blu-ray Release Date: July 6th, 2009
Standard Blu-ray Case

Chapters 15

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion
 

1.33:1 - 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 49,137,258,077 bytes

Feature: 36,569,591,808 bytes

Video Bitrate: 31.56 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Edition Details:
• Introductory restoration demonstration with filmmaker Martin Scorsese (4:17)
• Audio commentary by film historian Ian Christie, featuring interviews with stars Marius Goring and Moira Shearer, cinematographer Jack Cardiff, composer Brian Easdale, and Scorsese
• Profile of “The Red Shoes,” a documentary on the making of the film, featuring interviews with members of the production team (25:30)
• Video interview with director Michael Powell’s widow, Thelma Schoonmaker Powell, from the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, in which she discusses Powell, the film, and the restoration (14:41)
• Audio recording of actor Jeremy Irons reading excerpts from Powell and Pressburger’s novelization of The Red Shoes
• Collection of rare publicity stills and behind-the-scenes photos
• Gallery of items from Scorsese’s personal collection of The Red Shoes memorabilia
• The “Red Shoes” Sketches, an animated film of Hein Heckroth’s painted storyboards, with the Red Shoes ballet as an alternate angle
• Audio recording of Irons reading the original Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale “The Red Shoes”
• Theatrical trailer (2:30)
• 26-page liner notes booklet featuring an essay by critic David Ehrenstein and a description of the restoration by UCLA film archivist Robert Gitt

 

Blu-ray Release Date: July 20th, 2010
Transparent
Blu-ray Case
Chapters:
25

 

Comments:

NOTE: These Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc and are linked to their 1920X1080 counterpart if you are interested to see.

 

ADDITION: Criterion Blu-ray (June 10'):  We all knew about the, digital, restoration - Scorsese - Cannes - and anticipated the Criterion re-release of The Red Shoes ... but in the new 1080P Blu-ray format. ITV in the UK beat them to the punch in an excellent region 'B'-locked edition but it would be almost a full year later that a Criterion package would become available to those region-locked to 'A', and the army of fans of both the distributor and the filmmaking team of Powell and Pressburger. It's here, and expectantly,... it is gorgeous.

 

I wasn't anticipating extensive differences between this and the existing ITV transfer. I thought there would be more variance in the two Black Narcissus Blu-rays. And, frankly, the differences are quite subtle. I believe it is in the color representation - something so small that few people would complain about but the Criterion seems slightly less red (this is most notable in the skin tones - see Shearer with the heavy make-up later captures) and maybe minutely more blue. In many sequences it makes the ITV flesh tones more 'pink' and the Criterion more pale. Does this make the Criterion more accurate? I'm unsure... but looking at the technical stats the Criterion has more than a 50% superior video bitrate with the feature taking up more than 13 Gig of additional space. For most the color variances will be totally imperceptible. The Criterion is, in small ways, more detailed and has some desirable depth. Without re-iterating much of the accolades of the ITV appearance as stated below - we can simply say that the Criterion, both technically and being visually apparent, is the best digital edition of one of the most ravishing looking films ever made.

 

I thought that the ITV may be slightly horizontally stretched. It is something I wouldn't have noticed without a side-by-side comparison (or toggling back and forth between two Blu-ray players - as I did). But upon further investigation this doesn't appear to be true. There is a lot of parity between these two editions - visually speaking - but we do give the edge to the Criterion. This would be more prevalent the larger the system you see this on - if you project more than 100" and are a serious fan of the film - then you will probably notice more than someone with a more modest HD TV.

 

Audio has no differences in the two lossless linear PCM tracks that I could pick-up on. The Criterion is, more faithfully, 1.0 channel to the ITV's 2.0 stereo and purists will want the former. What is always amazing is the depth that the mono track can export. I'm always flabbergasted at the richness. The two separate Dolby Digital 1.0 channel tracks on the Criterion represent the Ian Christie commentary and the other is the audio recording of actor Jeremy Irons reading excerpts from Powell and Pressburger’s novelization of The Red Shoes which you may listen to as you watch the film. The Criterion has optional English subtitles and the Blu-ray disc is locked to region 'A'.

 

One other note, while I remember, - this Criterion took the longest of any Blu-ray I own to load on my Oppo Digital BDP-83. It didn't require a firmware update so I have no idea why.

 

'Stacked' seems appropriate to describe the supplements on the Criterion - we get the 5-minute introductory restoration demonstration with filmmaker Martin Scorsese showing many split screen comparisons amongst discussion of the mold and color breathing. As most know the restoration was a major challenge undertaken in 2009 by the Film Foundation from the film's original three-strip Technicolor negatives - supervised by the UCLA Film and Television Archive. We get the same excellent audio commentary by film historian Ian Christie, featuring interviews with stars Marius Goring and Moira Shearer, cinematographer Jack Cardiff, composer Brian Easdale, and Scorsese... plus the duplicated The “Red Shoes” Sketches, an animated film of Hein Heckroth’s painted storyboards, with the Red Shoes ballet as an alternate angle as well as the interesting gallery of items from Scorsese’s personal collection of The Red Shoes memorabilia and the rare publicity stills and behind-the-scenes photos. Excerpts of the aforementioned Jeremy Irons reading excerpts from Powell and Pressburger’s novelization of The Red Shoes which was also available on the 1999 DVD. New for Criterion is a Profile of “The Red Shoes,” a documentary on the making of the film, featuring interviews with members of the production team also found on the ITV Blu-ray but here is in NTSC and in HD. I could have listened to Thelma Schoonmaker Powell (Michael Powell’s widow) in the included 15-minute video interview from the 2009 Cannes Film Festival (also on the ITV), in which she discusses Powell, the film, and the restoration. We get a 2.5 minute theatrical trailer also in HD (as are all video extras) and a 26-page liner notes booklet featuring an essay by critic David Ehrenstein and a description of the restoration by UCLA film archivist Robert Gitt.

 

This, along with Black Narcissus, is another title that I feel every cinephile HD enthusiast should have in his/her digital library. You really don't need Avatar  but The Red Shoes is an absolute essential. Film very rarely reaches this level of beauty and timelessness. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if this was the Blu-ray of the Year 2010. It is totally deserving.   

 

***

 

ADDITION: ITV DVD Blu-ray July 09': Just to clarify a few things first - this Blu-ray is indeed region 'B'-locked as verified by my Momitsu.

I've watched it once and will get onto the extras this evening although quite a few seem duplicated from the Carlton DVD including - "A Profile of The Red Shoes" documentary (24:14) + "The Ballet of The Red Shoes" featurette (15:23) but there is some new stuff that I will comment on at a later date. I will refer to an opinion I greatly respect, David Hare from our DVDBeaver ListServ:

"On that subject I've been watching the ITV Red Shoes Blu-ray - the photochemical restoration of this is a glory and a testamentary labor of love by all involved. There are details that catch your eye that I don't remember seeing since 35mm screenings decades ago - one such is the scene of Vicki in Princess gown and turquoise tiara proceeding up the overgrown star is at Monte Carlo to go to the production meeting with Lermontov, in which Powell and Cardiff have obviously used a huge reflector panel behind the camera to cast a spot (within the actual daylight shooting conditions) just above Vicki's head to "guide" her up these mysterious stairs to her destiny. Details like this abound. The color blue in particular is extremely vibrant now and the transfer conveys something like real IB inky blacks and a huge tonal range of whites and grays. The three strip scanning has been meticulous and there is no trace of Technicolor (uneven YCM strip) "pulsing", and the image overall is spotless with not a visible scratch, tear, rip, speck. A couple of shots - which both follow complicated opticals look "soft" but return to sharpness with the next clean edit.

The ITV package, if you can call it that, is less than brilliant. Far too few chapter stops for instance, and the ballet is only heralded by the Titles Booklet, without a further chapter at the opening curtain. And the disc itself begins with an atrocious "trailer" reel for some VERY unrestored minor titles which would be of zero interest to Powell and Pressburger fans. But the movie's the thing..."

I would tend to agree, in general, with most of what David has said at this point, but will give further comments when I have 'lived' with the Blu-ray disc for a while (at least 1 more viewing).

From Steve in email: "Your correspondent, David Hare refers to this latest restoration as a photochemical restoration. They did try that, but it didn't work. That's why it took so long and cost so much. They finally decided to do it digitally. Digitising the original Technicolor negatives and the soundtrack at a very high level of accuracy (bit rate), much higher than that used by any Blu-ray or other HD system.

Thelma Schoonmaker has done a series of stills and short clips to show the damage to the original negatives. There was mould growing on them!
They had also become mis-aligned as some of the three strips shrank at a different rate in different parts. There were scratches and other physical damage. The soundtrack has also developed a few hisses, crackles and pops. One of Thelma's examples shows one of the best prints that was previously available and then does a screen wipe to show the same scene after the restoration.

I saw it when Martin Scorsese premièred it at Cannes and I've just seen it again at the Bath Film Festival. It really is stunning. But I do agree with what David says about the light from the reflectors now being visible. I noticed it at Bath and it's not a thing I had ever noticed before despite having seen the film many times. I have even seen the nitrate print (shown with firemen standing by). But this new restoration is far better than any of those.
"

NOTE: I can concur with David in that the Dolby Digital 2 track audio is very slightly out of synch although the PCM track appears to be fine.

 - Gary W. Tooze

****

ON THE DVDs

ADDITION: Warner Home Vidéo (April 06'): This is quite hard to comment on. We have no way of really being positive on which DVD edition is reporting the most accurate colors - the one that is most true to the theatrical version initially shown almost 60 years ago. Looking specifically at the transfers we see:

The Warner Home Vidéo appears to be the least digitally manipulated of the three, but it also seems to be the most worn, damaged and faded. The Criterion has done the most boosting, in both lights and darks giving certain scenes an excessive luminance and overly red skin tones in others. It is stated that the Criterion transfers was supervised by cinematographer Jack Cardiff and Maria Palazzola. Telecine colorist were: Pete Makosz/The Machine Room, London and Skip Kimball/varitel Video, L.A. The Carlton appears to have some contrast boosting as well.

So what this comes down to is personal preference in regards to the image. I still prefer the Carlton as I tend to be quite sensitive to manipulations - but I also enjoy a clean print and feel the Warner Home Vidéo has too many weaknesses although I am glad I own it for the additional extras and appreciate that they are all 'English friendly'. The Warner package is, as the others in the 'Collection Institut Lumiere' , beautifully presented. Although the Carlton packaging (cardboard box with plastic insert and photos visible behind) is no longer offered it remains the best I have ever seen. I am glad I own all three, but if I was to watch the film again tonight, I'd be playing the Carlton disc.

*****

Firstly, I better state that BOTH of these editions are wonderful despite there differences. But being picky (which I guess is what we do here) I see some overly red skin tones in the Criterion version (capture#1). Actually I see a reddish tinge in comparison to the Carlton disc which has a greenish tinge in certain scenes. My guess is that one is more accurate than the other, but I have no way of telling. The Criterion looks "thin" in comparison to the Carlton which looks very rich and deep. Presently, I am leaning toward the Carlton being the most accurate in the color area. The Criterion is sharper, but has much more dirt and speckles than the Carlton. This is the deciding factor in swinging me to the Carlton as having the better image. The extras go to Criterion, but it should be noted that the Carlton region 2 has some strong additional features as well. Both discs sounded very strong to me. I like the Carlton menus much more. Bottom line is you won't go far wrong owning either edition, but I am recommending the Carlton which comes on the best packaging I have ever seen (cardboard box with plastic insert and photos visible behind) and is one of the best looking discs I own. True fans of this masterpiece should own both. 

 - Gary W. Tooze

NOTE: Just a quick note to let you know that the Carlton release of The Red Shoes now ships in a regular clear Amaray case. I never saw the packaging mentioned, but their first run of Hitchcock's 39 Steps was packaged as you describe in your Red Shoes review, and I agree that the presentation was stunning. (Thanks Brian!)


DVD Menus

 

Warner Home Vidéo (2-disc) - Region 2 - PAL

 

 

Disc 2 of the Warner Home Vidéo (2-disc) - Region 2 - PAL

 


(Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Carlton - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)


 

Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Warner Home Vidéo (2-disc) - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Carlton - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) ITV DVD - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Warner Home Vidéo (2-disc) - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Carlton - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) ITV DVD - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Warner Home Vidéo (2-disc) - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Carlton - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) ITV DVD - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) Warner Home Vidéo (2-disc) - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Carlton - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) ITV DVD - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) Warner Home Vidéo (2-disc) - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Carlton - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) ITV DVD - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Warner Home Vidéo (2-disc) - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Carlton - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) ITV DVD - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray Captures

NOTE: the following capture pairings were not matched to be exact frames - with the ITV on TOP and the Criterion on the BOTTOM

1) ITV DVD - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) ITV DVD - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) ITV DVD - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) ITV DVD - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


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Report Card:

 

Image:

Criterion Blu-ray

Sound:

Criterion Blu-ray

Extras: Criterion Blu-ray
Menus: Criterion Blu-ray

 

DVD Box Covers

 

Distribution Warner Home Vidéo
Region 2 - PAL

Criterion

Region 0  - NTSC

Carlton 
Region 2 - PAL
ITV DVD
Region 'B' -
Blu-ray
Criterion - Spine #44
Region 'A' -
Blu-ray

 




 

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Gary Tooze

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