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Criterions Announces Red Shoes/Black Narcissus

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pvitari
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Criterions Announces Red Shoes/Black Narcissus

Postby pvitari » April 16th, 2010, 1:00 pm

Criterion has announced for July 20 the release of the restored version of The Red Shoes on Blu-ray and DVD.

http://www.criterion.com/films/233-the-red-shoes

And also Black Narcissus on Blu-ray and DVD:

http://www.criterion.com/films/632-black-narcissus

YAY!!!!!!!!! Finally. ;)

On Wednesday I caught the last 40 minutes of a screening of the restored Red Shoes and it was glorious beyond all description. It kills me I wasn't able to see the entire movie, but the screening conflicted with another event that sadly, I was in charge of and thus had to attend. But once my event was over I dashed next door to see The Red Shoes and simply REVELED for 40 minutes of Powell and Pressburgian Technicolor sublimity. I still want to put Julian Craster (Marius Goring) over my knee and paddle his backside though. Lermentov needs a good talking to too but at least I understand where he's coming from. Besides, he's played by Anton Walbrook, who was -- still is on screen -- a priceless treasure and could do no wrong.

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Mr. Arkadin
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Re: Criterions Announces Red Shoes/Black Narcissus

Postby Mr. Arkadin » April 16th, 2010, 5:00 pm

The original Criterion restoration of Black Narcissus looks pretty good. Is this an improvement, or are you just mentioning it long with The Red Shoes, (which did need further restoration badly!)?

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pvitari
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Re: Criterions Announces Red Shoes/Black Narcissus

Postby pvitari » April 17th, 2010, 3:21 am

I'm mentioning Black Narcissus because a) it has a "new, restored high-definition digital transfer" (per the Criterion web page linked above) and not only is it being re-released on DVD with this new transfer, but it's getting its first Blu-ray release. That is news worth mentioning, at least to me.

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Mr. Arkadin
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Re: Criterions Announces Red Shoes/Black Narcissus

Postby Mr. Arkadin » April 17th, 2010, 6:58 am

OK, that's what I wanted to know. Thanks for the info.

jdb1

Re: Criterions Announces Red Shoes/Black Narcissus

Postby jdb1 » April 23rd, 2010, 8:57 am

So once again I tried to sit through TCM's showing of The Red Shoes last night, and once again I was unable to stay with this gorgeous movie.

But an interesting thing happened -- I had a revelation and I think I understand why I can't watch it: the first time I saw it I was a very little girl. I was taken by my father to see this is some art house in Manhattan. The movie really frightened me. Think of yourself as 4 or 5 years old, watching this expressionisticly mounted, wildly colored, nightmarish piece. And I think that's why I haven't been able to stand it since then, a fact that I've forgotten/repressed all these years. Repressed, probably, since movie lovers are supposed to admire and revere this one and I probably didn't want to sound unknowledgeable.

I don't love every Michael Powell movie, but at least I can stand to watch them. Except for this scary one -- and when you think about it, Hans Christian Andersen's stories, and most of Powell's movies, are pretty scary in one way or another.

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Re: Criterions Announces Red Shoes/Black Narcissus

Postby knitwit45 » April 24th, 2010, 9:59 pm

You're not alone, Judith! I have never liked this movie, the colors seem nightmarish and the story really is scary. I've heard more women say "After seeing The Red Shoes, I wanted to be a ballerina". Huh? That's the last thing I would want to be after watching her dance herself to death....YIKES :shock: :shock: :shock:

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Mr. Arkadin
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Re: Criterions Announces Red Shoes/Black Narcissus

Postby Mr. Arkadin » April 25th, 2010, 6:03 pm

Funny, it was the dark elements of The Red Shoes that initially drew me to the story, combined with the idea of heavy sacrifice, which art demands (both themes constantly crop up in other films). I guess I'm just one of those types. :twisted:

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JackFavell
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Re: Criterions Announces Red Shoes/Black Narcissus

Postby JackFavell » April 25th, 2010, 9:00 pm

I have to be in the mood for The Red Shoes, but the other night I was... I think the idea of committing everything to a career (like dancing) is, or at least was, a very romantic notion, and also the idea that one must sacrifice love to get fame. It's kind of like a really warped version of 1937's A Star is Born (also technicolor, also very badly in need of restoration).

To me there are a lot of reasons why one might be drawn to this film, not as a five year old, but maybe as a fourteen year old and up. There is that romance about career - that would have been a huge issue at the time. I could definitely see a girl who did not fit in, or didn't necessarily dream of getting married to Joe Smith, Hardware, being instead smitten with the idea of making a career as an artist. And Anton Walbrook, well.... poor Marius Goring stood no chance next to a mesmerizing personality like his, and neither would a young, impressionable girl. I agree, he can do no wrong. There is also a lot of magic involved in this story, and this is actually what always surprises and pleases me most about the film.

I really liked the lineup of films Thursday night, though I slept through Once Upon a Time in the West. The programming of The Red Shoes, The River and Bonjour Tristesse was perfection. Even though the ostensible reason for placing those three was to showcase the work of restorers, the other link between the three films was fascinating. They each used color in a lavish, almost expressionistic way, to show conflict, love and buried emotion. That would be enough to link the films, but they also all deal with the internalization of two forces working against each other - in The Red Shoes it was Love vs. Career, or more to the point, sacrifice of one's own dreams for someone else's. All three were about love and how it somehow presages death. Two of the films dealt with death as a direct result of a girl's growing up, equating death of love with becoming a woman, or death of innocence. So really, love dies when a girl reaches sexual maturity. That's kind of a weird idea to put out there, not just once, but two or three times, in different films.

I finally saw The River, after waking up and not being able to get to sleep again. Part of the reason I couldn't get to sleep was the extroardinarily lush color and music in this movie. I loved the poetry of it and the barely held in British emotion.... I'd love to see these three together again . They somehow seem perfectly in tune with each other. Symbols of the eternal struggle between Creation and Destruction.

There is something of magic in all three films.... and the magic goes uncontrolled.... some of it is good and some bad. Once it is released by the unknowing girl, it cannot be stopped until something is sacrificed ( her innocence?). The woman she becomes through suffering must pay. Even in Bonjour Tristesse, one can say that Cecile's machinations are something like magic or witchery --- the witchery of youth.

jdb1

Re: Criterions Announces Red Shoes/Black Narcissus

Postby jdb1 » April 25th, 2010, 9:33 pm

I'm so glad you got to see and enjoy The River, which is one of my favorite movies. It's so rare to see a non-condescending story on film which is told from the girl's point of view, and the fact that this movie was made 60 years ago makes it even more valuable. I think this and the 1934 version of Little Women may be my favorite "women's pictures" -- junior grade.

You ought to read the Rumer Godden novella upon which this movie is based. It is very small potatoes compared to the movie, and not nearly as good. Godden grew up in India and wrote a lot about it, but her book really doesn't give you a sense of the experience that the movie does. I suspect that Godden lived an even more colonial life, apart from the native population, than do the characters in the movie. Godden is credited as the screenwriter, but so is Jean Renoir, and I wonder just how much input Godden had here. The River expresses a real love and admiration for India that is not really present in Godden's works.

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JackFavell
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Re: Criterions Announces Red Shoes/Black Narcissus

Postby JackFavell » April 26th, 2010, 10:55 am

I was so surprised at the "real" India represented in The River...most Hollywood portrayals are so phony (which I can also get into) and the British films are usually so colonial minded that if I even think of how the actual Indians portrayed in them felt, I get sick to my stomach.

Someone wrote that watching it was like reading a really page-turning book, and I felt that literary quality too, but in the best way. It's a marvelous, almost perfect film about adolescence and it rings so true. I love Little Women as well, but would probably place A Tree Grows In Brooklyn and Curse of the Cat People on the list as well, although they are closer to childhood than adolescent movies. I'll have to think of some other films about that particular age...

I did read some Rumer Godden at some point when I was young, but have completely forgotten it as I did the Isak Dinesen stories I read as well. I don't know why they did not stick with me for even a moment. I did read Bonjour Tristesse and some other Francoise Sagan, and do remember them, especially the bitterness pervading BT.... I find the film to be much more satisfactory and balanced.

jdb1

Re: Criterions Announces Red Shoes/Black Narcissus

Postby jdb1 » April 26th, 2010, 12:28 pm

Rumer Godden's stories probably didn't stay with you because they aren't all that good. I think their popularity is due in large part to the nostalgia felt by the British Raj community in reading them -- yes, yes, old bean, that's just how it was for us out there in uncivilized country.

We've mentioned here before how Godden objected to Sabu being cast as the young rajah in Black Narcissus. She doubted he could handle the role, and she thought his appearance was "too Indian." How wrong she was.

I think Sagan was a better writer than Godden. Normally, I wouldn't care a fig about the boo-hoo trials and tribulations of the rich and useless, but BT speaks volumes to me. Of course, the performances in the movie have a great deal to do with it (and my long-standing girl crush on Jean Seberg), but I liked the book as well.


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