Remembering "The Red Shoes"

Posters!

So you don't think you like ballet, huh?

And - obviously this is a movie about ballet! So, you may be asking yourself, "what am I doing here?" Please read on. . .

Many of us appreciate its beauties and other attributes but for anyone who may be instantly turned off by the idea of ballet, and you know who you are! - before I begin to discuss this movie and its incredible story, beauty, longevity and lasting appeal - by way of encouragement and introduction - let me offer a couple of quotes from admitted non-balletomanes:

Commentary 1:

"A true measure of a great film is that you love it despite its subject matter and not because of it. I have never been to a ballet, I have no particular desire to go to see a ballet and yet I not only love The Red Shoes but actually believe it is one of the best films ever made. Orson Welles commented many times on how he learnt to make movies by watching 'Stagecoach', not a bad schooling! There are a lot of filmmakers around these days who could learn a lot from 'The Red Shoes'. "

_____Fandango Groovers Movie Blog
Commentary 2:

“Every time I watch 'The Red Shoes' I feel like I'm watching a different movie. That's because it effortlessly combines the freedom of a Disney animated feature, the grace of ballet, the inventiveness of 'Citizen Kane' (1941), the truth of a documentary, and the magic of movies. . . .

'The Red Shoes' was made by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, otherwise known as the Archers, at the height of their power. They did not -- could not -- make a bad film during the 1940s or the years bookending that decade. But The Red Shoes is something special. More than the other films, it caught on with audiences, and many of us have fallen madly in love with it and treasured it for life. . . .

This enthusiasm is not for a Britney Spears concert. This is for a ballet. I have seen so precious few films that have an explosive, exciting start like that, much less made in the 1940s. The film does eventually slow down, but instead of blasting you in the face, it enchants you and casts a spell over you.

Then there is the color. The Red Shoes uses color like you've never seen. Even the opening title cards (before the banging on the doors) are jaw-dropping in their vibrant beauty. The cinematographer was Jack Cardiff, who was hot off an Oscar win for his last film, Powell and Pressburger's Black Narcissus (1947). It was almost as if he were challenged to do even more and go even farther.

I'm not a lover of ballet, and I can imagine it would be hard to make yourself watch this film if that's the case. But the dancing here is not boring by any stretch of the imagination. It's like the best stuff from Disney's musical numbers. Don't let ballet scare you from seeing this magnificent motion picture.”

____ by Jeffery M. Anderson

Let me add that in commentaries about The Red Shoes, several of those most involved in the making and the restoration of this classic admitted to knowing zip about ballet when they took it on but the story was so fascinating, they proceeded; and once into it, they learned more to appreciate the art and athletic excellence involved in ballet itself. What these quotes and testimonials tell us is that it's well not to "judge a book by its cover" and to give it a chance to speak for itself. Of course it is a choice.


The spectacular 1948 movie speaks for itself!

Moira Shearer as Victoria Page
Moira Shearer as Victoria Page

More accolades. . .

Now add to all that has been mentioned the drama, the underlying relationships and power struggle, the surreal scenarios, the tragic struggle between two passions to the death, the fierce obsessions, the incredibly lovely music and artistic grandeur, - and surely there has probably never been another film as spectacular, whether or not one really likes ballet, per se. It's much more than just a story about dancing, though it is that, too.

This story touches on basic passionate human drives and what we are willing to do to achieve them, as well as basic human willingness - even determination - to madly believe in seductive illusions and luck. It illustrates how intricate webs of deception are woven and how eagerly one can fall prey. It illustrates, both in the story about ballet and in the ballet itself, how vulnerable we are, especially to those forces which fit our own dreams, hopes and desires and make us follow blindly, even when they turn destructive.

In short, there is a majestic story of the human condition here, and it has been majestically woven into what can only be called "eye and ear candy", making it the classic it was 60 years ago and still works in this brave new era.

In ways, with slightly different scales of measurement, this movie's lasting appeal reminds me of great movies about sports or war, history, period literature, medicine or science, - various themes which - whether or not they are primarily one's interests - are so well woven as to bring the viewer rewards beyond the themes which surpass their genre and which become time-honored masterpieces of story-telling and epic movie-making in categories above and beyond their central subjects.

In The Red Shoes, when the big ballet impressario asks the little ballerina, "Why do you want to dance, Miss Page?" she replies with a question of her own: "Why do you want to live, Mr. Lermontov?". When he, a little shaken at this audacity, replies haltingly out of character, "Because I - er - must." She says, "That's my answer, too."

Note the candle; In the FINIS frame it will be burned down.

The movie

Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale.
Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale.

My love affair with The Red Shoes

While more experienced film reviewers than I have fully exalted this one, my feelings for it are intense and first-hand. Bear with me as I try to relate from whence they came and how they have followed me.

I was one who fell it love with this movie at sixteen when I first saw it in 1948 when it was making its premier rounds of theaters around the country and when I was away at school in Abilene. It was the year I graduated from High School and started to college. My friend for years, Jean, was able to join me at school, sponsored by my parents that year.

Movie-going was not encouraged at this school, but neither was it taboo, though dancing was! We simply signed out of the dorm and walked from the campus downtown after we'd realized that a movie about ballet was in town. Like many girls, ballet was on a high echelon in our esteem. Luckily we were not questioned about our downtown outing. It was a matinee and therefore raised no doubts since we were back early with only dancing eyes to betray signs of mischief making; if only the dorm mother had been more perceptive or observant, it might have been a different story!

In fact, though, Jean and I were so fond of ballet slippers that we almost always wore them; and not mere street-wear adaptations of their style, but authentic Capezio ballet slippers with the toes pleated underneath, though not with stiffened toes. Still, I could stiffen my own toes and walk around on their tips (with or without slippers) for short periods and distances, which I did frequently. I had no training, of course - there just weren't dance studios near ranches nor in ranch towns. (I also longed to play the harp but was lucky even to get piano lessons, which was another story about my mother's clever ways!)

But I dearly loved movement as well as music and in this, the "instrument" was my own body, so to dance, I simply put on records and moved around in the house, though not on my toes! I never quite recovered from this self-directed method. It took a strong "lead" in a partner to make me coordinate and look good dancing cheek-to-cheek!

I became strong, fluid and attuned to the rhythms and moods of the music. I still love to walk to music, and at our local gym, have been known to practically dance around the track with a portable CD player before the advent of iPod for me! No telling what I'd be if I'd had the chance to study ballet.

When I saw theThe Red Shoes at that Abilene movie theater I was twitching in my seat, feeling myself pirouetting and floating across the stage with Moira Shearer. It's amazing that 60+ years later, I can literally FEEL how I felt then, as well as how sad it was that the movie made its rounds and went into the vaults where movies were stored. I had to remember it vividly, since I never expected to actually get to see it again! It wasn't even the kind of movie shown on late night TV in black and white when TV finally made an appearance. Just as well, it would have been a travesty to air it in B&W! Showings in movie theaters after a movie made its first rounds were rare, if indeed there were any. There was no such thing as DVD or even video tape. Movies were on the reels and a long movie such as this one probably involved many large reels in their big round storage tins. If there were any re-showings over those many years, I missed hearing of and seeing them. So what a joy it was when the team of movie experts, led by Martin Scorcese, restored the film to modern media and I found it on DVD!! I watch it periodically, and for this hub, I've almost learned the script!

I must add that it has taken those 60+ years for maturity and experience to open to me the full realization of so much greater meaning and depth of this story than that of the bedazzled teenager who fell in love with it originally. All I saw then was the magic of dance, the beauty of Moira Shearer - whom I'd loved to be like, - and the love story with its tragic conclusion. I could identify with the students pouring into the upper balcony to see the show. And perhaps I noticed how similar Lermentov was to my sister Harriet in being able to get his way and get others to comply unquestioningly.

Perhaps it even set up a precedent for me to be drawn to strong, charismatic, domineering people, especially when I accepted my position as a baby sister, a student, an apprentice or - eventually - a mate. I didn't question these setups; these were simply relationships I accepted with the mores of that day and in which I was accustomed to gracefully assuming my role. It may seem bizarre and impossible by today's standards that inferior positions were accepted gracefully, but every era has its bizarre twists and implausible standards when viewed in retrospect. And soon there are no survivors to try to supply the first-hand experience of it and, perhaps, make it more understandable. This is a small attempt to clarify mine.

Perhaps seeing the movie at 16 gave me hope that being good at my present role would fit me for ultimately advancing to the next level. It wasn't so much a conscious goal or hope, but it did seem more possible, even likely. But, oh, did I have much to learn! Perhaps if I'd paid more attention to the outcome ...

In that Abilene theater in the fall of 1948, I certainly didn't then see the subtlety of manipulation and of ambition which so easily and often entrap people unawares. But the movie is a study in psychology, human nature and historic patterns. The same sort of relationships exist on football fields, in institutions of higher learning, in prisons, in boardrooms, offices, corporations, religious hierarchies and governments, as well as in families and social situations. People comprise all these "playing" fields, playing the roles in them. In order to successfully navigate any of them, understanding people with clarity is essential, especially oneself.

It's seldom that one movie brings together so many facets and pieces of the puzzles that exist in every human enterprise. For those not especially involved in the field of ballet, perhaps the facets and pieces illustrated in The Red Shoes will be easier to identify and won't require 60 years to assimilate!

Of course part of its overall appeal is that the ballet's story, built around its theme of an enchanting tale, The Red Shoes, by Hans Christian Anderson, was incorporated and adapted by an inspired team of movie-makers, led by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, who together wrote, produced and directed it. They were masters of movies featuring mesmerizing fantasy - film-noir, gripping stories. Known as The Archers, this innovative team made such movies as Black Narcissus the year before The Red Shoes - and many others which won high regard.

And so, for me, having long been entranced with the idea of dancing, it was like a silent wish fulfilled, stepping into this gloriously, brilliantly, dazzlingly Technicolored story, The Red Shoes! Technicolor itself was "bigger than life" - making the ordinary seem extraordinary. But this was no ordinary film about an ordinary story or ordinary people.

And COLOR was an actor in the film. Color and light have always been my passions, too. I think what I love so about art on a computer is that it has the element of light as a "given". So the vivid colors in this movie - of the characters' eyes, the stage makeup and costumes, the props - and most of all - the red shoes themselves - are exquisitely part of the story as it unfolds. As much as I like bright, vivid colors, I also love muted, subtle colors, and this movie wisely has balance of both.

The role of color here is probably not unlike bright athletic team colors and mascots, or horses' owner's colors at the Derby - or, for that matter, matadors' capes and kings' and queens' colors and flags of countries. Color is a giant player in life. And this is no exception!

Of course, a professional dancer is physically as well trained, toned, conditioned, fit and rigorous as any athlete and his or her mind is as technically quick and honed as a martial artist's. Reaction without thinking means being all of this. Added to those demanding qualifications which also apply to an NFL, NBA or PGA athlete, a dancer must also possess deep understanding and mastery of music, (which is a form of Physics), grace, poise, art and performance. It's a challenging discipline, not one for "sissies" in the least. Appreciating it as a spectator requires at least as much insight and enthusiasm as that needed by any sports spectator. Living among avid sports enthusiasts, I have ample occasion to observe their dedication to detail, their sensitivity to the most subtle indicators and their disdain for the uninformed, especially if one such creature happens to make an uninformed comment about a play or - worse - wins the office football lottery by "dumb luck"! :-)

(Moira Shearer), Victoria Page, ballerina par excellence
(Moira Shearer), Victoria Page, ballerina par excellence
(Marius Goring) Julian Craster, her love, composer, orchestra director
(Marius Goring) Julian Craster, her love, composer, orchestra director
(Robert Helpmann) Ivan Boleslawsky, her dance partner
(Robert Helpmann) Ivan Boleslawsky, her dance partner
(Anton Galbrook) Boris Lermentov, her coach; impressario of the Ballet Lermentov
(Anton Galbrook) Boris Lermentov, her coach; impressario of the Ballet Lermentov
(Leonide Massine) Grischa Ljubov, "The Shoemaker" in the ballet -
(Leonide Massine) Grischa Ljubov, "The Shoemaker" in the ballet -
(Ludmilla Tscerina) Irina Boronskaja, Lermentov's prima ballerina.
(Ludmilla Tscerina) Irina Boronskaja, Lermentov's prima ballerina.

Cast of Characters

Moira Shearer, the dancer who plays Miss Page, called Vicky, was becoming the prima ballerina of the London ballet company in which she danced and strenuously resisted the thought of taking a leave of absence in order to film this movie. In fact, it took several years of coaxing to persuade her to make the movie and she finally simply gave in to end the pleading. Making The Red Shoes would make her name memorable, but it also curtailed her regular dancing career. Other dancers were too intimidated and surely, so were dance directors. However, it's told that she was the antithesis of haughtiness on the set, being natural and even offering to fetch tea for others and making no prima ballerina demands of her own.

The ballet company in the story is the Ballet Lermentov, and its founder and iron-fisted ruler is Boris Lermentov, played by Austrian actor, Anton Walbrook. All of the dancers - in fact all of the musicians in the movie - are real-life professionals in their fields; some are virtuosos.

Léonide Massine, was a Ballets Russes dancer and choreographer and also Diaghilev’s protégé in the wake of Nijinsky’s departure. Like Shearer, Massine had never acted before, but one would never guess it from his exceptionally skillful performance as the antic Grischa Ljubov, who is as warm as Boris Lermontov is cold. In the Red Shoes ballet, he plays the shoemaker (a role the film credits him with creating), the weird, long-haired figure who lures the girl into his shop to take the footwear that will both fulfill her dreams and end her life. That Lermontov casts the cheery Grischa in this role is downright diabolical.

Lermentov does seem diabolical much of the time as he seems to use the dancers as a master puppeteer uses his puppets. His word is law and his cold heart is relentless, choosing to ignore the feelings of the heart and the inklings of the flesh. It's not enough that he sets himself high above such things, but he demands it of his puppets, as well, and brooks no exceptions, including the troupe's prima ballerina, Irina Boronskaja.

Boronskaja, whom Vicky will replace at Ballet Lermentov in the story, is played by dancer/actress Ludmilla Tchérina. As prima ballerinas do, she gets all the major parts in the ballet stories produced by the company and has an almost free hand with time schedules and demands on the staff and other musicians, even, at times, on Lermentov himself. The unforgivable, however, occurs when she announces her upcoming marriage. Lermentov demands that his prima ballerina have only one passion, to dance with Ballet Lermentov. There is no leeway. In her first scene, Irina has arrived late (as usual) for rehearsal, simply walking into the theater, carrying herself in such a way that proclaims the instinctive glamour of the ballet world. That aura is carried a step further by Robert Helpmann, who plays Ivan Boleslawsky, a principle male dancer with the troupe. Helpmann also choreographed the dramatic namesake ballet, The Red Shoes for the movie.

When we first see Julian Craster, it is as one of the multitude of eager students crowding into Covert Garden to see the ballet Heart of Fire. In a later scene, as he's trying to get past the security desk and is rescued by Irina, it's as yet unknown that this young composer, played by Marius Goring, will write the music for the namesake ballet and become intimately involved with our heroine, Vicky. Our first iinauspicious acquaintance with his genius was when he and his fellow students realize that the score for Heart of Fire was his and that their Professor Palmer stole it and claimed it as his own with his own title.  It was Julian's angry letter to Lermentov complaining about the theft of his score which brought him in contact with the great man and opened up the career opportunities.  The professor also plays a part in getting Vicky to Lermentov's attention, but other than that, he is a minor player in the story and fades away after the scene at Vicky's aunt's party at which she meets the mighty man and shakes him up a bit.

Others in supportive roles throughout the movie are:

New members soon to be admitted into the troupe.

Boris gives Julian a job of coaching the orchestra and advises him to destroy his silly letter, though He acknowledges that "Heart of Fire" is Julian's work,  but says it's worse to need to steal than to be stolen from.
Boris gives Julian a job of coaching the orchestra and advises him to destroy his silly letter, though He acknowledges that "Heart of Fire" is Julian's work, but says it's worse to need to steal than to be stolen from.
Boris talent-scouts a the Mercury Theater where Vicky performs, after refusing to see her dance at her aunt's after-performance party.
Boris talent-scouts a the Mercury Theater where Vicky performs, after refusing to see her dance at her aunt's after-performance party.

And so -Boris Lermentov meets Victoria Page and Julian Craster

Our heroine and hero and the impressario meet at about the same time, though each in entirely different circumstances. Vicky's aunt, a patron of the arts, has arranged a party and invited Boris. He was urged by a Professor Palmer, who happens to be Julian's music professor. As mentioned above, hanky panky is involved there, because the good prof has stolen a work written by Julian which was debuting at the very presentation in which these characters are all present.

Julian rashly writes Lermontov the letter complaining about the theft, but goes the next morning to try to retrieve it unopened, without success. Boris has already read it. From this meeting, an arrangement develops, though, in which Julian becomes the orchestra trainer for the Lermentov Ballet Company and so begins a creative career.

Meanwhile the "uptown" after-the-show party hosted by Vicky's aunt, which is a ruse to get Boris to see Vicky dance is in progress. But when Boris gets word of the plan, he squelches it and heads to the party's bar for a champagne cocktail. He doesn't want to be invited to a party and find himself at an audition. Vicky happens alongside him and orders the same. He is instantly lit up by her beauty and strikes up a conversation about how fortunate they were to be spared the "horror" of some amateur dancing. She immediately informs him that she is "that horror". He's properly embarrassed and she's in good position when he asks her why she wants to dance. The rest is history and he invites her to come to the set the next day.

As the picture shows, in order to see what she can really do, Boris goes talent scouting where she is the main dancer giving an impressive performance on stage at a small theater, leading to his approval for her to dance when she appears on the set, at the same time. as Julian is there to start coaching the orchestra. But both of them are given the Lermentov cold shoulder when they attempt to approach him for acknowledgement, though he is opening doors for them by approving Vicky to join the troupe and soon handing Julian his ticket to advancement: rewriting the score for The Red Shoes.

Vicky rehearses with troupe; is discouraged; Boris peps her up.

"Don't forget a great impression of simplicity can only be achieved by great agony of body and spirit."  he reminds her.
"Don't forget a great impression of simplicity can only be achieved by great agony of body and spirit." he reminds her.

Trying to Have it Both Ways

Needless to say, his rigors are easier for him to demand of them than for his puppets to fulfill. Even beyond the ballet fantasy, real life captures Vicky and Julian in real love with an outcome surpassing that of the tragic ballet, in the act of falling into love's clutches of temptation in spite of Lermentov's rule leads Vicky to real tragedy and Julian to real loss.

Lermentov filled with private self-loathing
Lermentov filled with private self-loathing

“You cannot have it both ways,” Lermontov tells Grischa, meaning for Vicky to overhear. “The dancer who relies on the doubtful comforts of human love will never be a great dancer. Never.” He refers to Irina Boronskaja, who had just announced to the company that she was leaving to get married, then looked beyond the happy circle of dancers joining in her joy for Lermontov's response, but finds he has quickly left the room upon hearing the happy news. “He has no heart, that man,” says poor Irina poignantly. Of course, he has one, but keeps it well hidden. We detect the depths of his emotions in the picture of Lermontov sitting in his darkened office, brooding.

Or is he merely bemoaning the loss of his prima ballerina, whom, we may be sure, he takes credit for creating!

But - aha! He's found her replacement already. When he invites Vicky to join on the world tour and at the train boarding, Boronskaja approaches him on the concourse. He brushes past her with merely, "Adieu". She stays behind.

He can't, won't even extend his regards. She ceases to exist for him.

Enter Victoria Page as new Prima Ballerina

Her spotlight appears!

The Plot Thickens

Our anticipation intensifies and grips us from the first mention of the story line as Lermontov relates it to Julian while assigning him the editing task of the score of the ballet which is in Lermentov's possession but is not to his satisfaction. Through a series of events, Julian is assigned complete rewriting of the ballet, which he'd done on his own even before being assigned. He's expected to give his full time and attention to the task of dressing it up with all parts for the orchestra.

Lermontov explains to him: “The ballet of The Red Shoes is from a fairy tale by Hans Andersen. It is the story of a girl who’s devoured by an ambition to attend a dance in a pair of red shoes. She gets the shoes, goes to the dance. At first, all goes well and she’s very happy. At the end of the evening, she gets tired and wants to go home. But the red shoes are not tired. In fact, the red shoes are never tired. They dance her out into the streets. They dance her over the mountains and valleys, through fields and forests, through night and day. Time rushes by. Love rushes by. Life rushes by. But the red shoes dance on.”


“What happens in the end?” asks Julian. “Oh, in the end, she dies,” says Lermontov, with indifference to the anguish of the poor dancer in the story, which brings to light, once more, his attitude toward human emotions at the same time as it brings again into question whether we may have stumbled into the den of the Prince of Darkness himself!

The pivotal moment in the ballet is electric, built by a crescendo of obsessed dancing and hallucinogenic imagery in which the girl is exhausted, but the shoes compel her to keep dancing. The other partygoers leave, still she dances. Her white frock becomes tattered and stained. Her face is no longer joyous. Her delight has given way to terrible dispair. No one is there to help her; no one can help her. The shoemaker reappears, gloating over her predicament, waiting to rescue the red shoes to tempt the next innocent who comes his way. The outcome is inevitable.

Bear in mind that this movie was over half a century before "Avatar" and others of today's freaky fantasy genre, yetThe Red Shoes managed to combine the evil and gruesome with the enchanting and beautiful with human techniques and with an ease and grace which may never be incorporated digitally. There is room for both, but let us never forget to honor and enjoy the earlier skills of film makers whose results rested less on technology and more on personal ingenious skill and artistry.

Vicky's assignment

Next, Vicky is summoned and given the lead role in new ballet. She's amazed as she receives her orders, as well, the first bing to abandon her party plans for that evening and go straight to bed, in order to be fresh for the early morning rehearsal.

During the night, though, both Julian and Vicky are too excited to sleep and have both gone out to the veranda overlooking Monte Carlo. The train happens to pass by below this veranda as they compare notes. A friend - collaborator relationship begins, since their projects are mutually allied. Soon Boris has them set up even more closely. She is to take all her meals in a room where he is to be playing the music for the ballet on the grand piano. He tries to give her his vision of birds and clouds flying but to her, just mastering the techniques of getting off the ground at all dominate and that her only. He assures her that his music will pull her through it when she admits that her only vision during the presentation will be a wall to separate her from the audience. They share some disagreements during rehearsals about tempo, which she claims is too fast, but on opening night he tells her to dance whatever tempo she likes; he'll follow it.

This is the sort of perception that, I can assure you, wins a girl's heart! It hints that Vicky and Julian's relationship is developing past the collaborators stage, though Lermentov doesn't realize till an accidental event brings it to his notice, which marks the beginnng of disaster. Bear in mind his attitude toward human love and emotions.

Vicky gets the part in Julian's new ballet!

Boris advising her to scrap her party & get some rest for an early morning rehearsal.
Boris advising her to scrap her party & get some rest for an early morning rehearsal.

Vicky becomes one with the girl in the ballet

Visualizing herself in the shoes lures her on.
Visualizing herself in the shoes lures her on.

She covets the red shoes! She is obsessed!

The shoemaker entices her every-which-way-but-loose!  The shoes glow, he "dances" them, he polishes them  They're irresistible!
The shoemaker entices her every-which-way-but-loose! The shoes glow, he "dances" them, he polishes them They're irresistible!

The shoes are overwhelming her ability to tell fact from fiction!

Her obsession is driving her mad.  She sees Lermentov in the shoemaker's place.  Is it performance, or is it reality?
Her obsession is driving her mad. She sees Lermentov in the shoemaker's place. Is it performance, or is it reality?
She rushes into them!
She rushes into them!
She dances!
She dances!
And dances!
And dances!
And dances. . .
And dances. . .
She's flying - literally.
She's flying - literally.
She's hallucinating!
She's hallucinating!
She thinks she's dancing with a newspaper.
She thinks she's dancing with a newspaper.
The knife turns into a twig. . .
The knife turns into a twig. . .
She expires - they reclaim the shoes.
She expires - they reclaim the shoes.

The Psychodrama-Allegory

This psychodrama goes beyond psycho, adding the strong physical elements of dance - of the most demanding kind. Vicky's body drives her mind and the shoes drive her body. The poor child is caught in a terrible, inescapable trap.

But at first, she's enthralled. She so wants the red shoes for the party and the little shoemaker lures her to desire them more and more.

She resists - but as they distract her again and again the shoemaker entices her and alternately rejects and abandons her until she gives in to her desire.

When finally he sets them upright on the stage, she rushes into them - and magically, they are on, tied and dancing to The Red Shoes theme music Julian has written! At first the dancing feels effortless. She happily dances everywhere - with the party goers, up and down the streets and surrounding fields. But as she returns again and again - looking for the shoemaker, who seems to be hiding, the compelling need to keep dancing overtakes her joy.

Soon she's "seeing things' - Her Julian - the orchestra leader - comes onstage and she dances with him - in her imagination - till he becomes Lermentov and then the entire audience becomes the sea. She is so confused - and so weary.

When all the others have left the party and the shoes are still "partying" - she tries to quit. Her mother reaches out of her door to try to grab her hand - but the shoes move her away from her mother's reach, Her white dress is tattered and soiled - but the shoes are still bright and sleek, dancing and dancing endlessly. She's beside herself.

The breeze blows a castoff newspaper around and it seems to be dancing - she takes hold of it like a partner - and it turns into her partner briefly.

She collapses on the church stair, but the shoes are pulling her to rise and continue dancing as the shoemaker appears and hands her a knife to cut them off. but when she raises the knife, it becomes a leafy twig which she casts off, where it resumes the form of the knife and lodges in the floor. She is helpless and exhausted; the death knoll sounds. Her partying friends come out in mourning to dance-march the final sequence.

When she indicates she wants the shoes removed Ivan and the shoemaker unlace them and the shoemaker gathers them up and lovingly returns them to the display window in his store - surely to await another gullible innocent. The final ballet scene is his gloatng over them.

But the story is only partly told. The insistence of the slippers is Lermontov's insistence that she dance for him and reserve her entire being for the dance.

The ballet

The movie shows the entire ballet - it IS the high drama - and runs 17 minutes long, with never a boring or blah moment in it. It makes no effort to "show off" dance techniques or teach the viewer about dance or musical composition. This is almost like spontaneous movement. Sometimes there's a hint of Gershwin in the rhythm. The setting plays major parts. The party is an almost carnival scene, with booths, games, streamers. Then the church, which reaches out to her when she's ensnared, but can't retrieve her. It's on its steps that she finally succumbs, perhaps from Hans Christian Anderson, a moral to the story, the climatic scene - like a close-played football game or a climactic action movi -, except here, an unprecedented concept: the spirit of a ballet and of the movie itself.

Vicky and Julian fall in love

The hard work pays off for Ballet Lermentov. The Red Shoes opens to much applause and international acclaim. When Grischa tells Vicky she wasn't bad, and claims that is even better praise than all the other acclaim - and then adds that she was good, she feels the work is successful. Then when Boris calls her in and demands that she reaffirm her commitment to dance he promises her the world as the greatest dancer, playing all the great parts in Ballet Lermentov's repertoire on a world-wide tour. All those who had doubts about her talent are more than won over. The tour begins and is in full swing.

But there is a fly in the ointment.

During the preparation and presentation of The Red Shoes, Julian and Vicky are literally thrown together in constant close contact and, sure enough - Cupid strikes. Their continued contact on the tour, as she dances and he conducts the orchestra helps develop and maintain the momentum begun by their mutual attraction as it deepens. They say incredibly sweet and loving words to each other in moments of privacy when they are beyond the spotlight of audiences and Lermentov.

On one occasion when they are headed off together, Boris had planned to ask her to dinner, but she was nowhere to be found. A party for Grischa's birthday known to be in progress was finally offered as the explanation of her whereabouts, leading Boris to go to the party, where he doesn't find her and during which the lovebirds' situation is revealed.

His antenna become acutely attuned and when he catches them in an embrace in her dressing room, his anger erupts, but he doesn't lash out or retaliate to Vicky. In his typical autocratic way, he manages to push Julian into quitting, which involves scrapping his latest ballet, a major frustration to the other dancers who are rehearsing it enthusiastically. In fact, Grischa threatens to leave too, but eventually that is reversed. But when Vicky threatens to leave if Julian is going, she follows through and joins Julian as he leaves.

They marry and Boris manipulates situations so he can offer Irina the lead dancer role again without losing face, but he's merely biding his time for the right opportunity to lure Vicky back. This happens when she comes to Monte Carlo with her aunt on holiday while Julian is at Covert Garden presenting his new opera's opening night. Boris arranges a chance meeting and entices her to come back and dance The Red Shoes, which no one else has ever danced or ever will, he promises her. He's deleted it from the repertoire to reserve it for this chance to lure Vicky back. He's denied her nothing legally but claims possession of all that Julian created while under contract to him. He's even read letters she writes to others in the troupe when away to keep tabs on her frame of mind so as to better watch for his opportunity.

The lure of the Red Shoes again captures Vicky

Boris is a master of the manipulative technique of alternate wooing and flattery with abject rejection & indifference and it still has power over her. She's missing dancing "big time" though she's stayed in form and dances in smaller arenas. Boris has read her like a book and knows her vulnerability. Here in Monte Carlo the ambience grabs her even more tightly and he recognizes it as his moment. She agrees to dance The Red Shoes.

She's in costume backstage, preparing for the presentation when Julian arrives, having abandoned his own main passion to be at his opening night to come to her rescue. A dramatic scene takes place in which Boris comes in to see what is happening, and becomes involved, so that Vicki is being pulled between them, Boris representing her love of dance and Julian representing her human love. Each of them passionately presents his offer to her. She tells Julian she loves him ore than anyone. He agrees but says she loves "this" more and leaves as Boris is bad-mouthing him and the shabby life he offers her all the while.

She's crumbled and confused, but the ballet draws her, with the help of Boris whispering how her audience and fame await. She staggers to he feet as her assistant hands her the red shoes to put on, torn, tear-soaked and miserable as she is.

The shoes go on and Julian leaves. Out in the hall on the way to the stage, the shoes begin to move her in the opposite direction - back toward the veranda. They race her down the hallway, to the spiral staircase leading down and the stairs to the veranda. She rushes faster than lightning to look down below for Julian - to the edge of the veranda. She sees him walking away on the concourse far below, and reaches out - - - oblivious to the drop-off or the train passing below; and she tumbles over the railing onto the track. Julian has seen her running and was rushing toward her, trying to stop her from her fate below. . . to no avail.

He makes it to the site of her fall, where she is bloodied and dying. She asks him to remove the red shoes before she expires.

Inside, the orchestra has begun The Red Shoes Overture and the audience awaits.

Lermontov tells the audience of the tragedy.

In fact, he's a beaten man, at least temporarily.
In fact, he's a beaten man, at least temporarily.

The tragic conclusion

Meanwhile, Boris emerges to face the audience in front of the curtains. His face is devastated, there are even tears on his cheeks. The audience gasps. A distraught staff and troupe are weeping but they take up the stiff upper lip when Lermentov announces Vicky will not be able to perform that evening, nor, indeed any other evening but that The Red Shoes will go on, as, he says, she would have wished.

So we see Ivan fetching an invisible girl from her door to join with friends and he dances her empty spotlight over to where the shoemaker entices her to look at the red shoes.

The remainder of the ballet with an invisible leading lady is left to our imaginations till the shoes have been removed from her expired feet and body and once again the shoemaker has gathered them up - and, in front of his store window, projects and offers them again for the next unwary victim.

The candle is burned down and melted ~

                                                       FINIS

The Red Shoes Revival

The Red Shoes retains its power to astonish in the 60+ plus years since its initial release, with its restoration rendering it perhaps even all the more potent, so that audiences who have seen it dozens of times before to see it as though for the first time and audiences who have never before seen it - or possibly have never even heard of it - can see it actually for their first time. It should be a national treasure - or I should say, - an international treasure!

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85 comments

warrioRR profile image

warrioRR 6 years ago from Rawalpindi Pakistan

Don't have any words for comment

You're Great!


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 6 years ago from The Fatal Shore

Nellianna, I saw this film just recently, although I have seen it before as well and it is special...a beautiful film and this is a beautiful tribute to it. (I love the red framed presention too). It must have been mind-blowingly innovative in 1948.

Moira Shearer is so lovely and it was interesting to see a young Robert Helpman (he's something of an Australian icon).

The dancing is mesmerising and the red shoes an apt metaphor for the kind of obsession required for dancing in that kind of sphere. The ballet has always seemed such a rarefied world to me...exquisite but oh so demanding of heart and soul.

I too was taken by the colour...rich and varied and the 'really red' shoes so lustrous. In fact I had toyed with the idea of using those shoes as an avatar at one stage. They stay in the mind.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Warrior - it's always a pleasure to see you've been by! Thanks so much!


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 6 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

What can I say? I,ll have to try and see the film sometime. I was hoping that the shoes would dance her off to happiness with Julian, but that would be too much to expect from a ballet.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Yes it was mind-blowing, although The Wizard of Oz and Gone With The Wind in the late 1930s, both of which I saw at age 7 on their premier rounds, did pave the way for the drama of Technicolor and its vivid array. Interesting that you've seen the film recently and even more so, that you considered the idea of the red shoes as a personal avatar. They are, indeed, unforgettable!

Thanks so much for your excellent comments, Jane!


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 6 years ago from Ontario/Canada

Wow, Nellieanna, I don't remember what year, but I was probably no more than 8-9 when my Mom took me to the ballet for the first time. It was a minor ballet troupe who presented a version of the red shoes. It was not as overpowering a performance like the movie, that I saw many years later but it still instilled a love of ballet in me. Which was very odd as I had been a tomboy and loved to hang off trees rather than do anything girly. Ballet and Opera performances became something special to my Mom and I as my Dad couldn't stand either.

What a great hub

hope you're well

regards Zsuzsy


Merlin Fraser profile image

Merlin Fraser 6 years ago from Cotswold Hills

Hi Nellieanna,

When I saw the title I thought you were goint to talk aboutDorothy in The Wizard of Oz....!

My only brush with Ballet was a fantastic visit to the Bolshoi in Moscow while I was working there.

The ballet was Giselle, I had to get someone to interpret the programme for me at the interval but it was a moment of pure joy and one of my treasured memories.


alekhouse profile image

alekhouse 6 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

Nice hub....enjoyed it. I will never forget The Red Shoes, as my daughter who danced professionally in Austin, had the lead in the ballet in Plano. I flew all the way from Chicago to see her and cried through the whole thing...It's a wonderful ballet...also saw Moira Shearer dance the lead.


Loveslove profile image

Loveslove 6 years ago from England

I loved this film ... my daughter teaches Ballet and i have taken her on many occasions to see Ballet's at The Theatre Royal Newcastle so I was very interested to read you Hub,I realy enjoyed it...wonderful thank you .


Mentalist acer profile image

Mentalist acer 6 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

The politics and drama of ballet are as interesting as the art itself;)


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Christopheranton- I hope you do get a chance to see it. It's a treat and now that it's on DVD, so accessible!

I know, - and I, too, prefer happy endings. But we mustn’t overlook the fact that this is in a way - a morality play. She made a choice for dancing instead of going with him and though we understand the agony of her dilemma and her human weakness in choosing what, in essence, was the bright lights and adulation, the self-gratification of not just the dancing, (because she had been dancing her best and practicing her skill and art, only on a lesser scale of public acclaim) - over the love they both shared. So consequences were the consequences. He abandoned his acclaim and most special performance in order to rush to her side, illustrating the other kind of choice. But it takes two to tango, as they say and love together involves two kivers equally preferring each other over other conflicting bids for each's favor. Hers was so nearly equal that it drove her to her death after she'd chosen a preference.

I do dearly love your perspective on things and very much appreciate your coming to see me and sharing it here!! Thank you! I hope to see you more!


50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 6 years ago from Arizona

A great detailed introduction of what strikes me as a rounded work of entertainment. I don't recall if I ever heard of it or saw any promotion of it either. I would have to set down and watch it to find out if it was a fulfilling story line for me. It seems as though it has a place like "Gone With the Wind" that the majority seems to have treasured after seeing it. I sat through it and was never impressed as others, I'm the odd man out. I voted you up as the work you've presented seems like it holds much thought and feeling, and putting into print as well as you have done is quite impressive in and of itself. Kudos, 50


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Zsuzsy Bee - what an interesting memory of your first exposure to ballet. And amusing that it surprised you to like it so well, being a tomboy. It’s funny how many activities and interests become associated with tastes and preferences attributed to genders so that they dominate thinking in the face of reason. Perhaps we all have some overlapping likes and dislikes which have been traditionally the domain of the other gender than our own. All I’d like to ask is that a fair shake be given before dismissing something as too girly or boyish. For the tomboy in you, being able to hang off trees involves a similar agility and body coordination as ballet dancing! Wherever those attributes are an advantage, ballet training can improve them. Some football teams and boxers are encouraged to take ballet lessons, in fact! Obviously your Mom guided you in the right direction in that. Think how your life was influenced in many subtle ways by it! Fun that you went on to share love of opera together as well. If your Dad couldn’t stand these art forms, it’s great that the two of you still enjoyed them without him.

I guess I was almost fully grown before I got to see a live ballet performance. I’m not even too sure how I came to admire it so much so young! Perhaps there was a ballet sequence in a Shirley Temple movie. She was my ideal when I was a kid and she was only a year or so older than I. And she did seem to be able to perform all the performing arts like a pro. Oh, yes, There was also the Disney film, Fantasia, with classical music of many genre, including ballet. Mother and my eldest sister were both into “acrobatics” - or gymnastics as they’re called nowadays. My Dad’s early religious background discouraged a love of the arts, actually, and dancing was the most foreign to him. But he loved classical music, & was especially fond of Strauss waltzes - so go figure! LOL

Thanks for sharing your memories and for contributing to my hub by these great comments!


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 6 years ago from South Africa

I definitely want to see this movie! Thanks for the charming introduction, Nellieanna. Ballet becomes beautiful - stories without words - once you know the meaning of the different moves. (Choreography). Thanks for an awesome hub! Voted up and up.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Ah, yes, Merlin! The Ruby Slippers of Oz fame! They too had magic powers. I’m amazed how many traditions do include magic shoes, especially red ones, in fact! One wonders what common ancestor came up with the seeds of the idea and whether or not it was transmitted by DNA!! LOL

II hope you noticed that my account of "The Red Shoes" is not just another slick review, but a very personal one, a visceral part of my memoirs. I'm not really much into reporting without the personal touch and for that, the subject must occupy a place in my personal treasure trove.

When I first considered writing about The Red Shoes, doing so did seem like another sphere until I let my own responses to & interpretations of it be expressed. But to do the movie justice, I included some excerpts from slicker, more objective reviewers! LOL

But then, as I was telling it "my way", I realized that many of the actual factual technology of the making of the movie had "soaked in" to my awareness too so as to become part o my subjective connection to it. So it's a blend of reporting and the personal experience.

Fact is, I especially thought of you in light of your philosophies as I was interpreting some of its "messages".

Thank you as always for the attention to my hub and your kind comments!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Oh, Alekhouse - how glorious for you to get to see your own daughter as Victoria Page! - and to see Moira Shearer do it as well - too fantastic! Thank you for sharing that!!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Loveslove - oh - that's such a treat to get to go as reguarly as your heart desires. Your daughter must be quite accomplished to teach ballet! Congratulaions! I'm so pleased that you came and enjoyed my hub on this movie about ballet and the backstage world of ballet! Thank you!!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Mentalist - ah, yes. The politics and drama! I suspect that under the surface of any art form, one would find them lurking and supporting the visible product. Probably is so of all disciplines, in fact. What is visible as finished works is a mere "surface tension" of what lies underneath!

Thank you for this most interesting observation!!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Dusty - thank you! You hit the nail on the head referring to The Red Shoes as a rounded work of entertainment, which is a main point of my choosing to mention it. It is that!

You’re too young to have been likely to have heard of it when it first came out. If you were around in 1948, you were surely too busy growing up and enjoying what all young boys prefer doing, which surely isn’t usually going to movies about ballet! And it really didn’t hang around the theater circuit too many years, either. Like Gone With The Wind, it made its virgin voyage and retired to movie archives, as was customary with most movies back then. They came, made their splash in big city theaters, made the rounds in the boonies and retired on their laurels.

GWTW which debuted in 1939, was revived and brought to TV, videotape and DVD much sooner than The Red Shoes, but even with it, one probably didn’t hear of the reviving of it unless into movies in general and classic movies especially. You were again probably involved elsewhere and had formed no bonds with it, in any case.

My acquaintance with them both goes so far back and was planted so deeply, I couldn’t fail to care. It never had to do with public acclaim or fashion, or in what was the 'rage' because my world was too insulated. We were in the super-boonies! If our one local theater had it on the marquee, and we had the dime admission, we went.

If by chance it was recommended, we had to hurry to see it while it was "on". There were no "multi-theaters" with a wide selection of features on 15 or 20 screens,- there was just the one, & as soon as the main feature had been viewed by most of the town's population and ticket sales fell off, they imported a fresh new film, even if the one that had exhausted its audience was a 60-year classic and the "fresh" one was just a "B-movie"

But each of these classics, as well as a couple of others, one being Lost Horizon in the 30s, which was mother's all-time favorite movie.- all began with me by touching something in my young life which discovered and formed special & lasting connections. I actually read GWTW dozens of times! I was used to getting into stories by reading, in fact. Movies were like a brand new dimension of my own active imagination. I always had “pictured” the stories with or without the aid of the movie versions.

I had a similar attachment to "Tora! Tora! Tora!" in the mid 1950s. It, too was obscured for years but has found its way into the DVD sales. It's the story of Pearl Harbor told by both sides. Interesting broadening movie. It makes the deed no less dastardly but at least it shows the people as being people with consciences, not robots.

I think I might be justified in comparing reading or seeing movies about Vietnam for me, compared to your personal first-hand experiences of the war. I could see it all on the screen told vividly & I could project the sense of it out of my own experiences, but it would never grab me in the guts the same way it would you. You’d know what was accurate and what was not, as well. Your own personal visualization would dominate the 2-dimensional screen before you. In a way - that’s how it is to get into how these stories are for me which have been with me so long, and how differently they must impress you. It’s not being an odd-man-out - it’s being an individual with different experience to bring to the thing. We are all subjective creatures and when it overlaps a little, it's a miracle!

Your kind and honest assessment of the merits of my presentation shows how deeply you do relate to things you relate to - in that case, the telling of a heart-felt story or experience as the writer, whether or not the actual experience is a shared one. To me, this is one of the things I most appreciate about YOU - your honest responses and keen perceptions, which are not just polite comments, but real communication which can be all too rare these days.

As said at the start of the hub, the value in a good presentation does not rest upon one’s main interest in its subject but in being able to appreciate and relate to the appeal and quality of the presentation itself. And that is what I hear you’ve done with my hub! I thank you big-time!


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida

The "Red Shoes" was an amazing film when it was first shown 62 years ago and it has lost none of its freshness and creativity for movie-goers who are fortunate enough to view it today.

Nellieanna, my dear, with your what must have been painstaking research, you have brought back to life a miracle of movie-making that set a standard of excellence few have emulated since then.

I was an impressionable young woman when I first saw that film and marveled at Moira Shearer, her beauty and her talent.

I had wanted to be a professional dancer as a young girl and had started taking dancing lessons in a very big city. Then my family and I moved to a small town and the only dancing school was run by a "smorgasbord" teacher. I call him that because he was the proprietor as well as the ballet, tap and acrobatic teacher. But he had a passion for dance and that made up for the lack of actual talent.

I never became a professional dancer but I never lost my passion for dancing. So thank you, m'luv, for bringing back this incarnation of that never-to-be-forgotten film. Hope all is well in your world.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Oh, dear, Martie. See, I’m such a rube, I have no idea what ballet moves’ traditional meanings are and until you mentioned it, hadn't thought of it as the language of ballet. But perhaps, being a wordless language, it's excellence & the mark of a great ballet and dancers are that their movements are so clear that they simply portray the meanings whether or not the viewer is keyed into the art form's vocabulary at that level so long as the viewer brings to it sufficient visceral sensitivity.

There’s no doubt about the emotions Vicky and her partners are expressing by the choreography even though I only relate by the vibes they send out. I know there are fixed ballet moves and steps so it stands to reason that they physically express and illustrate the silent messages of the story, along with the music itself expressing them. When one hears a crescendo one 'knows" it is building toward a climax in the story. And when one sees the shoemaker prancing around in flirtatious little steps and hunching over in a teasing, pleading way, one knows his intention is to lure Vicky into putting on the red shoes he's caressing and playing with.

But if choreography and performances are doing their work, the audience “gets it” even if they never heard of ballet before. But then, I’m not too formal a person or artist or writer or anything I produce or am given though I find it fascinating, as in a Jane Austen novel! Every event called for a formal response. But it seemed to cover up the truth and honest feelings more than enhance them.

So I just felt The Red Shoes viscerally, I guess I’d have to say. And if I hadn’t, no amount of formal gestures’ meanings would have transmitted them to me. Rather, I’d get involved in wondering about the formalities, rather than the emotions they were supposed to communicate. LOL.

Actually I’m a bit embarrassed to be such a bumpkin! And I’m awed by your familiarity with the details of the discipline. If you do see the movie, surely your knowledge of that and, if you let go and just feel it will give an even more spectacular experience.

Hugs and thank you for the lovely comments, my friend!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

drbj - oh my - what similar, yet diverse paths we share! I love hearing about your actual study of and passion for dance! And then, what forks in the road we encounter and head off in other directions. I love it that you had the dream and actually danced, whether or not it became as a professional. What lovely memories those must be! In the scene in which Vicky is whirling around and around and one sees the audience and stage flying past from her eyes at the dizzying speed of it, I could FEEL the sensations of it inside me. You must have many first-hand memories of doing that and seeing the outside flying by in the same way!

It’s truly wonderful that this marvelous film is still available in all its glory for today’s audiences. One wonders how personally it will affect them, though. Will they see it as an amusing artifact or as the wonderment it is?

Yes, I did research it, but not in a very technical manner. I more or less absorbed myself in both the movie itself and in the array of online stuff. Then when I started writing the hub, it just poured out. The strange part is that I’m in the process of converting to a Mac computer, where some operations I’m accustomed to just aren’t available or not in a way I’m accustomed to, among them being able to copy and paste still pix from the internet. So was capturing pix on my old (now defunct as of a night ago when I added to its infirmities by letting some water spill onto it while working on its part of the hub.) The process was rather convoluted, to say the least and the accident didn’t help. I felt like the red shoes had me in their clutches, in fact. But what a feast and fun!


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

Your mind-body and spirit "connection" was/is absolute. Everything in life is about relationships... a majestic story of the human condition here reflects this. Many levels to this... Thanks for sharing.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Thanks for reading and responding, Dallas! Wonder how or if it ties in with the GUT & parallel universe hub of yours somehow or is that reaching too far? ;->


msorensson profile image

msorensson 6 years ago

Wow...I will definitely get this film. You storytelling infused with your own analysis makes this film a must, Nellieanna.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Good for you, Melinda! I believe you will like it! Thank you for the great compliments!


msorensson profile image

msorensson 6 years ago

I love ballet...I am not good at it..not graceful...not good enough to do it well but I love it so I was totally immersed in this hub and especially it was done a long time ago.

Thank you, again. Much love always.


VioletSun profile image

VioletSun 6 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

You have convinced me with your very well done hub, to check my library and see if they have this classic. I attended a ballet presentation in New York years ago and enjoyed the elegance of the experience. As a little girl, I used to stand on my toes, and made believe I could dance ballet and jump up in the air, LOL, but it was just a fun dream. :)

Rated up!


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Nellieanna, that is a masterpiece. I had to read in two session because there it such a wealth of information and description of feeling and characters. Unbelievable. I couldn't read it all at once because it was too much, at leasdt for me. I never was so spellbound for a long time and really had to stop. Your are such a fantastic writer. Thank you so much for such a great joy to read this hub.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Melinda - I hear you! I can identify via my piano-playing. I was never good but love it to this day. I’m lost without it, in fact. I just play for the sense of joy and peace it brings me, not to be great - which I guess I’m incapable of. Whenever I know I’ve “got it” or have improved, I’m happy. I’ll never forget a moment when, after playing the piano for nearly 40 years, I suddenly “got it” as far as Burt Bacharach’s tempo was concerned and then I began to get tempos I had never really internalized before.

I’m so pleased you keyed into the hub and enjoyed it. Yes, it was a really long time ago when the movie came out! Amazing, isn’t it?

Love to you, too!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Violet Sun - obviously we shared the same little girl dream of being a ballet dancer and practicing our toe-stands the best we could.

Mother grew up in what she called “the frozen north” - Indiana, where she had ice-skated as a girl and young woman. I, on the other hand, had never seen snow, much less ice, being born and growing up in what she fondly called “the sunny south”. But her own nostalgia led her to get me a Sonja Henie doll for Christmas, complete with little laced-up ice skates. I loved that doll but could never relate to it as fully as I might have to a ballerina doll! Still, there are similarities in their grace, their apparel and dedication.

But - little girls are funny little people, weren’t we? LOL. I loved hearing of your experiences both as a little girl dreaming of ballet and later seeing a live performance which so deeply impressed you. I do hope you will obtain a copy of the movie and enjoy it thoroughly.

Thank you for the great comments!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Hello, hello - thank you! I seriously thought of breaking it up into more than one hub, but somehow, with my “global thinking” mentality, it was “all of one piece” and whatever pictures or videos I placed in one area also serve to illustrate things in another, so I just left it whole. I figured if anyone was put off by the length, he probably wouldn’t go to the second segment either and for those interested enough, they would either do as you did and take a break at some point and return to finish it or else persist on through it. It was long - longer than I set out to make it. I tried to edit out redundancies, but am sure I missed some, which further extend the length. I’d been on it so long, I finally figured it was time to post or forget it.

I appreciate your saying you were spellbound by my relating the story, because that’s exactly how I feel about the movie itself. And I greatly appreciate your voting it up! Thank you!!


tittles35 profile image

tittles35 6 years ago from Conway, Arkansas

First of all let me say this was completely awesome. I just love classical movies especially the musicals. Although I have never seen this particular movie I will here very shortly. It reminds me alot of Gone with the wind in the fact that it is a classical love movie and musical and it keeps your attention through out the movie wondering what will happen next. I really enjoyed this post it was great. Thanks for such an inspiring post.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

tittles35 - Aren't you kind to visit my Hub abode and read my hub just minutes after you joined HubPages! I feel most honored! And to show my appreciation - and also because I can tell you're going to fit in well here - I just became your first follower and fan!!

I do hope you will get to view the film and see what you think. It does have classical movie tradition, a love story (with considerable uneasiness, as well), it has gorgeous music - as GWTW had, though it wasn't its major feature or focus as it is in The Red Shoes, and it certainly holds one attention from beginning to end, as you say!!

You may want to get the DVD like I did - it's a "keeper" for sure. I seldom add DVDs to my collection which are not keepers that I would want to watch again and again. I just don't subscribe to the movie channels any longer. It got so that the only ones they listed I wanted to see were ones I either have in my collection or would want to add to it! So I figured the money spent on those channels would be be better spent on the DVDs I want or just saved for flowers for my table! ;-) Know what I mean?

So thank you and welcome to HubPages!!


MPG Narratives profile image

MPG Narratives 6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

This is a movie I will have to watch with my daughter, it is such a classic and you have done is even more justice Nellieanna with this amazing hub. Seeing Sir Robert Helpman so young was great, he was a fantastic performer.

You know ballet isn't really my thing but having seen Mao's Last Dancer I have more of an appreciation for it these days.

BTW, you are the same age as my Dad, so now you are even more special to me. Marie xx.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Aw, Marie - that's so sweet of you to say I'm special to you! I'm most honored. Thank you for the kind comments! I value your opinion!

Certainly it is a pleasure and privilege that movies preserve famous people in action in their youth for generations to come. It's one more reason I'm so pleased that this one was restored and revived. I do hope you can obtain a copy of it. You'll enjoy it. As testified by others than myself, one needn't be a balletomane to enjoy this movie which is outstanding in its own right! I know I was thrilled to discover it again after that first viewing so long ago!

I'm unfamiliar with Mao's Last Dancer but then, I'm really not a follower of ballet as an active pursuit, though I love it and appreciate it when I see it. In so much of my life, the most available ballet to be seen live was always "The Nutcracker" which I adore and have seen live several times, including once at the Children's Theater presentation at the lovely Frank Lloyd Wright designed Dallas Theater Center when it was still called that. I subscribed to the Saturday Children's Theater there for my little stepdaughter and myself and must admit that I got as much from each performance as she did! What a delightful memory that is.


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Hello, Nellieanna, I hope you didn't take it in the wrong sense. I just tried to emphasize that every sentence was so full of meaning, feeling and so wonderfully expressed that I really had to read it very slowly to take it all in. Therefore, I read it in two parts because I couldn't digest it all in one. You put so much contents in it. You were right to write right through because I think it would lost something on the magic which you let it right through. It is a fantastic work. I too saw the film years ago. Thank you again for your wonderful work.


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akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon

That is just the most fantastically, artistically done hub I've seen in such a long time on such a beautiful movie! Well done and I need to re-see the movie as well. Thanks so much for bringing this classic back to the forefront.


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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Oh, no, hello, hello. I understood that you needed to read it in a couple of sittings so you could digest it. No problem at all! I mentioned my thoughts about its length in the same sense - realizing it was quite lengthy but deciding to leave it as it was so as to not cut off its flow arbitrarily, as you mention it would do. It was one of those decisions we have to make when we compose. And also one we have to make when we read! I have read a book straight through but my normal practice is to linger over it and read it in several sessions. The author usually inserts chapters or other headings to indicate "stopping places" but the next chapter is right there to be read and kept in sequence as wished.

A hub is not a book, but it can be either short or long as suits the author's subject and style. Headings help show breaking places in hubs, too.

So - no - absolutely no wrong take on your explanation. I considered it flattering that you were that much engrossed in it! Thanks again!


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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Audrey - I'm so pleased that it delighted you! I don't know when I've enjoyed getting so caught up in a movie either! Watching to get the subtle details to write about it is really a fun way to view a movie!! Do try to see it again!! And thanks for the great comments!


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notestoforget 6 years ago

A great movie,

one of my favorits.

http://hubpages.com/literature/Notestoforget


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Thank you for making a visit to m hub one of your very first visits. Hope you'll come back again. I look forward to reading you, too!


saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 6 years ago

Nellieanna a true artist with the Midas brush you painted another wonderful portrait of a movie that was made the year of my birth. Although I have never seen it, you have peeked my interest and it is on download now as I type.

I will watch it with you in mind and hopefully get dizzy with delight as the Red Shoes grace itself across my soul. I will let you know how it struck me, I'm certain it will put a delightful smile on my face and be so happy that you introduced me to a wonderful film.


SilverGenes 6 years ago

Thank you for reminding me - I will watch this again tonight. The Red Shoes is one of the stories by Hans Christian Andersen that I loved as a child and the movie was always very special. It had lessons one never forgets and for our family, an extra lesson in life, circumstance and courage. The art director, Hein Heckroth, won an academy award for his work. I have a painting he did of my father during Heckroth's transport in WWII from Australia to England (he'd been sent away to a prisoner of war camp because of his German birth). During the voyage, he painted my dad's portrait on a piece of ships canvas where it remained rolled up on a top shelf of a closet for nearly 50 years. It has now been stretched on a frame :)

The way you have presented this beautiful film is nothing short of spectacular - from the detailed descriptions that entice and beckon to the red frames around every photo. Your presentation is like the shoes. Even if one despised ballet, you would surely draw them to reconsider. I love this - from beginning to end. Brilliant!


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Dolores Monet 6 years ago from East Coast, United States

Nellieanna - as a lover of old movies, I can not believe that I have never seen The Red Shoes. It looks so beautiful and your review was awesome. I must see it. A great movie must be seen several times to be appreciated. Just like you saw this movie first when you were so young, we need to watch a movie again when we have matured and find so many aspects that we missed the first time. A great movie stays with you forever. Beautiful hub.


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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Saddlerider - Ken - thank you! I really do appreciate that you found it interesting enough to want to see it - and to be on your way to doing so! I hope you’ll find it as entrancing as I do - probably in a different way but just as much so. I’m honored that you’ll possibly associate it with me.

I did love writing this, being so caught up and immersed in it again as I became when putting it together. I was truly “in” it. George always described my thinking as “global”, meaning seeing in broad terms & many aspects all at once. And that’s true except when I shift gears and FOCUS on the core meaning and truth of the subject. But the intensity of focusing which is still against a globally expanding backdrop of myriads of colors and images of its every nuance - is, as I’ve come to realize, what makes things like this story bigger than life to me. As soon as I can tie the two views of it together, I have almost written the thing. All that’s left is to scribble or type as fast as my skinny fingers can while it’s cohesive. LOL. That was surely sort of how the experience of writing this was; - not that it’s the only instance but being as intense as The Red Shoes is in itself, it was a double-whammy magic-carpet ride into another lifestyle and world from what I know first-hand. Certainly the movie makers had beaucoup inspiration, too.

Maybe vivid imagination which can be painted by brush, pen, words or notes comes from reading a lot over the years & always getting right into the thick of it & participating in it as one reads. The words transport the reader to the degree the writer was transported to be able to lift them there. I hope young folks today still get that kind of pleasurable experience from reading, writing and from seeing - maybe even making - movies and other video presentations. There’s not much that’s “cool” about it!, though! More that “Some Like It Hot!” - like Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon and Marilyn Monroe. Sad to hear of Tony’s death just very recently.


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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

SG - Alexandra! So happy to see you and get to share some of your personal feelings about The Red Shoes! Somehow I missed that tale as a kid, which is surprising. I was so into the Oz stories, The Arabian Nights, Robert Louis Stevenson, Peter Rabbit, Little Women, Dickens and even the story-lines of some of the operas. But I missed The Red Shoes by Hans Christian Anderson. Glad I finally got to see it applied to this story! And glad you did enjoy it as a child!

What a treat to have the close connection with Hein Heckroth, the fantastic art director of this movie, through your own father! I was deeply enchanted with the way he designed the sets first as paintings, which had such imagination, charm and sensitivity! Now it’s all the clearer, knowing from whence they came. I hope the ship’s canvas masterpiece is in your care! What a treasure!

Thank you so much for the wonderful comments about my writing up this movie. It’s not my forte, per se. But such a personal enthusiasm, it almost wrote itself. I gathered up resource materials but didn’t know how to use them. Seemed like those had already been reported and needed no more of that, except to acknowledge and let them map the course when I got started writing it my own way. I’ve written things with needed bibliographies, which were just stitching together existing known pertinent facts from the various sources, but this wasn’t a bunch of facts. Not to me, at any rate. I’m glad you liked my treatment of it. Thank you so much for contributing your special insights! You notice things - like the red frames. That's so gratifying. They are part of the presentation in their own way.


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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Dolores - well - it happens. Some of the best ones can slip through our filters! I love ‘em too but am constantly finding some I missed. And others in which the books I loved were done a bit of disservice by the movie versions. “The Egyptian” is one I’m thinking of. I read it through and then read it aloud to my sister-in-law at the ranch while she was doing her things and there was no radio or TV to break the monotony. I loved that book. Others I had devoured as books were ok as movies but nothing compared to the vivid pictures I got from reading them - “Dragonwyck” is one of those. Oh, it was good and Vincent Price always delivered, but it missed some of the real jist. And I’d read it numerous times and could spot the lacking portions.

But ah - so sweet to find good films! I cling to them and revel in them while revisiting them like favorite books.

You’re absolutely right about the difference in seeing a movie of so much dimension as a youth and then later as an adult - how much more it means later on. But honestly - even now if I see it again after recently viewing it, I pick up on subtle things I missed or didn’t fully appreciate before.

Thank you so much for your appreciation of this. I don’t dare say “my” hub. It would be a bit of vapor it it hadn’t been for the movie and the fairy tale on which it’s based! All I did was reflect its beauty.

Hugs -


saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 6 years ago

Well Nellieanna I watched the re-digitized new version of The Red Shoes and it was magnificent. The colors were awesome and the cast of characters were enchanting. The story line kept my interest and of course the leading actors and actress portrayed their roles so well.

She a very starry eyed, anxious, tender, slender and attractive ballerina and the owner and conductor both knowing very well they were in love with her and playing against each other. I found Boris tyrannical and some what mentally abusive towards Victoria and Julian. He certainly was a controlling nature however portrayed so well Boris was certainly a force to reckon with in his ballet company.

What can I say about the actual performance. It was beyond description. I was enchanted by Victoria's grace and dexterity on stage along with the shoemaker. The settings were so well done and marvelous shades of colors and effects. When she put on the Red Shoes she was a dancing machine.

Her and Julian running off to marry and Boris upset and smashing his fist on the mirror in defiance of his loss and Julians gain. How sad as she loses Julian and commits suicide by throwing herself in front of a train.

My heart skipped a beat and it was so sad to see. I enjoyed this movie although I am not a ballet goer, I much prefer to go to an Opera,however this was certainly very entertaining and I did enjoy it. Thank you for publishing this on hubs, I learned something new. Hugs


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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Thank you so very much, Ken. One thing, though - I don't think it was suicide which took her life. The red shoes were obsessive and were speeding her - but remorse for choosing them over Julian and a head-long rush to get to him before he left drove her to that edge of the balcony, where she ignored the train and the distance down and across to where Julian was - - she just rushed off the balcony trying to reach him, with her eyes on him alone and her arms outstretched to him. That's my take on it.

She'd been so torn between her dancing fame-career and her true love; but over and over she had forsaken the career to be and go with Julian. She loved him and tried to put her career out of her mind, but the return to Monte Carlo where it had all unfolded for her, along with Boris' clever enticements, lured her to do it "just once more" in the role that created her fame and which she made famous - the role Boris had reserved for only her. That was an enormous temptation and Julian was off premiering his opera so it seemed benign enough - till he forsook his own fame and magic moment to come to her side. She was torn - but even after choosing to dance that performance, she was impelled to go to Julian. Sadly, it was to be her last-ditch effort to do so again. The red shoes compelled her to run too fast with only one thought in mind - to get to him before he got away.

She never loved Boris and he never actually loved her, he just wanted to "own" her completely. That's not love. As much as Julian loved her, he didn't DEMAND her to come with him. That was our of his real love. And it touched her at a subconscious level she couldn't ignore or resist.

So sad, though. . . .


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dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

Nellieanna... Have you danced lately in your "Red Shoes?" In your mind, strolled the fresh cut hay fields.. smelled the wild flowers....


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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Of course, Dallas! Always and regularly! Have you?

My red shoes are always Capezios, my hay fields are always alfalfa and my wildflowers are, of course, bluebonnets & Indian-paint-brush!.


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AliciaC 6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

Thank you for such a detailed look at “The Red Shoes” movie. You put so much work into this hub! I’ve always loved ballet, and I love this movie, although when I watched it as a child I always thought the ending was so sad.


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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Alicia, thank you! Yes it is sad. Vicky, the dancer, meets the same fate in real life as the character in the ballet and in the fairy tale on which it's based. Not that we need reminders of sad endings, but it is a reminder that even a beautiful life can become too obsessive and become a danger to itself, so that moderation is usually the best course.

I appreciate your visit here. Sometimes it is rather sad that our hubs get immediate attention and then taper off into obscurity, even those, as you mention, on which we put considerable work and research. But that's life, too. :-) Hub articles are a bit like periodicals' articles, passing into the archives when the new issue hits the stands.


Topper 2 years ago

Just watched this terrific film this afternoon and wanted to know other people's opinions so came across this review. Brilliant. I so agree with all of it. I'm primarily interested in the colour of the film (and the camera angles) and shall rewatch it this evening as it's too tremendous to take in in one sitting. A question, though - why do you think that Julian is wearing a black mac in the final scene when everyone around him is in summer gear - short sleeves and cotton dresses? My sister wondered if he represented Death but, surely, Boris was the main cause of her death? Can't quite work out that one. Any ideas, anyone?


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Nellieanna 2 years ago from TEXAS Author

I don't know you, Topper. Your observations of the film seem more than cursory. In fact, in the light of your awareness, I'm a bit surprised at your question about Julian's garb in the last scenes. Of course, he wore it in all the final scenes, including the one in which he & Lermontov struggle for Vicki's loyalty and the one when she dies, because he simply was there only because he'd left the opening of his own opera in Covent Garden in London to come by train to Monte Carlo, where Vicki's 'Red Shoes' was to open once again. He didn't come prepared to change clothes. He hoped to take the next train back to London, with Vicki at his side, because he'd come to plead for her to come back with him. Obviously the difference in climate in the two places accounts for the contrast in what he was wearing, which suited London's wet and chilly climate. The folks in balmy Monte Carlo were dressed for its balmy climate. As to the cause of her death, it was the intensity of her dichotomy in wanting and needing to dance, so being beguiled by the idea of the red shoes and her genuine love for her husband, Julian. She wanted to be with him but couldn't do so without giving up her own stardom and life's work. It was either/or and she was torn in two. Both men conspired to intensify her dilemma, of course, but it lay within herself. Whether or not any other outcome could have been achieved, had either of them compromised is at best, a doubtful one.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 4 weeks ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

Nellieanna, I have been thinking about you a lot, recently, and sought you out. Seeking you out brought me to this Hub. The reason? I love your work and wanted to immerse myself in something of it once more.

It is a good thing I have “all the time in the world” as there was a lot of information here, but how successfully put!

I have ‘The Red Shoes’ on my hard drive and have attempted to watch it a couple of times, but the time has not been right.

Strangle enough, I remember already having read the Hans Christian Andersen story in my childhood and had expected that this would be the same thing. My mother took me to see the film, and at the age of ten or eleven, I must admit that I wasn’t that taken with it. However, she loved it and I know that she saw it at least a couple of times later, but by herself. It was a film she spoke of many times.

But, as I have already said, I now have it on my hard drive and I have a feeling that I will be watching it this evening.

It is cold and miserable outside, but the front living room has a nice fire (gas – London is a Smoke Free Zone) and there is also a comfortable chair with a possibility of a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon or a Merlot to keep me company.

So I will get me thence, and while I am indulging in this highly recommended film, I’ll be thinking of you, my highly recommended recommender.

Hugs and much love

Ian


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Nellieanna 4 weeks ago from TEXAS Author

Thank you, my dearest Ian. I'm so glad you were thinking of me and stopped by! Yes - it s a lengthy hub! I've never been averse to verbosity in writing prose. haha. It separates my prose from my abbreviated poetry!

Watching this movie again is something I've done many times over the decades. I'm still immersed in the aftermath of the incredible election here, though, and have watched little else since the primaries started last spring.

It's such a major election for my country whose effects will be felt for many, many years to follow. I'm more than slightly trepidatious, based on my own observations and gut-feelings.

It's finally been chilly enough earlier today to turn on the heat, but only briefly to get the chill off. However, I'm wearing warmer clothing and sometimes grab a shawl or lap cover. Hard to believe it's into November and still relatively balmy.

George never finished a project to put in a gas-log heater in the fireplace, though the thing is sitting in there, unhooked-up. There has never been a wood-burning fire in there during the years I've been living here since March, 1986. It's a lovely through-the-half-wall of lovely stone fireplace between the den and the living room. I understand it was much enjoyed in the further past, though, especially for festive entertaining.

Your plan to have a glass of something tasty as you snuggle in a comfy chair sounds like something I may do this evening; - possibly a sherry. My other viable choice is Riesling but it's fully chilled and so is less appealing this evening. There're other types in the cabinet including Merlot but nothing tempting. Sherry was George's favorite, which increases its warming effect.

I'll think of you enjoying yours, the fire, "The Red Shoes" and all that lovely music, my friend! Hugs and love to you!!

Nellieanna


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 4 weeks ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

I didn't watch it, after all, but it is now on my agenda.

Trump and Clinton - Oh dear, so many things have been said already about both of them. I am a Socialist, and in consequence, would probably not vote Republican, but Hillary? Hmm! not exactly a Left Wing lady.

Bernie Sanders, perhaps, as I like idealists (unless they are Jeremy Corbyn) but you have a two party system, as do we, if not in name.

On to brighter and happier things...

I love the idea of your fireplace. I still imagine you and I, sitting into the late hours, drinking coffee, wine and words, and perhaps rising at the unexpected rap on the door to find Svetlana standing there, asking to join us; and Oh! how wonderful if Angie Jardine were there at her side. Dear Angie. A light went out there.

Sentimental old me, but nice thoughts. Nice thoughts shared with your wonderful good self.


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Nellieanna 4 weeks ago from TEXAS Author

What a joy to hear back from you! Trump is arriving in his plane to be whisked off to the White House to meet with Obama and be symbolically handed the keys to the Oval Office. Though there have been negativities on both sides but both respect and honor the tradition of peaceful transfer of power between sitting and elected presidents.

There have been animated protests in many major US cities last evening and night, including Dallas, of mostly millennials who adamantly do not want Trump and declare he's not their president and have burned his likeness in effigy; nor would they have wanted Hillery. Many of these young people supported Bernie Sanders, the democratic socialist who ran for the Democratic nomination but who has supported Hillery after she won it. He could have run as a third party candidate, but they never win over the major party candidates. There were two 3rd party candidates on the ballot this time, in fact. Of course, voting for them is a wasted vote.

I'm soon to be going to the Apple Store to upgrade my iPhone. Trent, my dear friend and helper (with the ranch and whatever I need) will pick me up and go, too. He has some issues on his iPhone to have fixed. I have the option of upgrading to the newer model every year under my no-interest payment agreement, and the newer model comes with twice the storage - and I may get even more storage while I'm at it. But I probably wouldn't upgrade except that the one I bought in Feb. has used all its storage space, which is even affecting my use of it! I purchased a hefty iCloud space for the phone and my Mac, but it's not taking care of the overflow. Grrrr. I'm not a big fan of 'the cloud'. I'm cyber literate but not totally dedicated.

Yes, I love the vision of our sharing some coffee, wine and words by the fireplace, and especially if Svetlana could join in. Would be so great to meet in person! Tell me what happened to Angie. I'm uninformed but sad at the thought of her light going out. Such a lovely, talented lady.

I've a Hubpage friend who lives in London. Do you know Manatita (his hubpage nickname)? If not, perhaps you should.

Well, I'll view the imminent arrival of Trump at the White House and then use go get ready to welcome Trent and leave for the Apple Store.

Hugs smiles and love!


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Nellieanna 4 weeks ago from TEXAS Author

p.s. I have no idea how the word 'use' got into the last line of my reply. It has no place in it. Even autocorrect fails to account for its appearance! haha. Trigger-happy computer!


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 4 weeks ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

I had a very worrying e-mail from Angie early last year in which she informed me that she had been diagnosed with bowel cancer and that she felt she had very little time to live... only weeks, in fact.

Of course I was horrified.

I admitted that I had only recently had a scare in that direction and said that I was so pleased to have got the "all clear". She responded by telling me that she had had many scans and that they had proved negative, so advised me to take care.

Of course we continued to correspond and things all seemed to be getting better. She kept her humour, and often said she was pottering around and taking the sun and all those things that happen.

Then the e-mails dried up and I heard nothing for a while until I received an e-mail from her husband, Roger, who informed me that she had died in October of that year. Died only days after seeing her newly born granddaughter for the first time.

Nellieanna, I cried like a baby and even now, as I am writing this, there are tears in my eyes. She was a wonderful and very talented person, as you know, and will be missed for her humour, her ready wit, he talents and all those things that made one wonderful human being.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 4 weeks ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

Sorry. I made a mistake concerning the date.

I include, here, a copy of the e-mail from Roger:

Hello

We don’t know each other, but I am Angie’s husband Roger. I found your email address while I was going through Angie’s contacts.

I don’t know if you have heard the news, but Angie died on Oct 29th. Happily she saw her newborn granddaughter hours before she passed away.

Best wishes

Roger


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Nellieanna 4 weeks ago from TEXAS Author

Oh, my. My eyes are so watery, I can barely see the screen. I'd been so absent from HP myself for awhile, I missed seeing any of the signs of her absence. Good that she saw her new granddaughter before she died.

I can't linger right now. I got the new iPhone yesterday, it was all set up and my stuff transferred to it in the Apple Store. Came home and was updating a few most personal things and goofed it all up. Was on the phone with them into the late hours last evening and still ran into a glitch stopping us from rescuing it - one which will require hands-on technical expertise to fix. The dear service person (who was VERY patient with this oddball ole lady!!) set me up at the Apple Store with probably the only available reservation to consult with a tech @ 3PM today. It was refreshing to work with such a nice person, but I find Apple people are especially nice. Probably chosen for it and then further trained in it.

Trent can't go with me this time to helping several ways, including carrying the computer and all, so am going to get started over here early. I'll need the computer to get back up for some of the phone data. It's Veterans Day today and Trent's daughters are involved in some parades as musicians. He must be there for them, of course.

I had to go out to get gas and some food this morning and it was absolutely exhausting. So I've been resting up between putting things away before I head out again for a longer challenging journey. I've learned to rest between activities when they're tiring. But I recover quickly. I'm up to it - long as it's not TOO challenging. I HAVE to have the cell phone. I don't live my whole life on it, but have been acutely aware of how much I do depend on it while it's out of service!

I'm thinking of Angie, Roger and you in the dreadful loss of our wonderful colleague. Such a humongous loss. I'm sure I have some comments from her on some of my older hubs. I'll go looking for them when I can. :'( Hugs and love, my dear friend.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 4 weeks ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

I can't believe you wrote "The dear service person (who was VERY patient with this oddball ole lady!"

If anyone in this lovely world is a an oddball ole lady, then I have to re-evaluate the term Oddball Ole Lady. You are one of the most modern women I know.

Thoroughly Modern Nellieanna - Have you seen the film? It stars Julie Andrews. You should enjoy it.

About Angie, I dedicated an e-book to her because I admired her talent. And i was proud to have her write a page/chapter of Twilight Lawns plc. If you like, I'll send you the link. It was brief, but full of her amazing humour and observation of a tilted world.

By the way...

Love you, Nellieanna

Hugs and more

Ian


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Nellieanna 4 weeks ago from TEXAS Author

I would like the link to your book with your dedication to Angie and her own contributions! Thank you!

Aw-w - You’re the dearest person! Thank you for the compliments.

I remember when “Thoroghly Modern Millie” came out in the late 1960s. I was stlll in Indiana and lacked any freedom to ‘go’ places at my own preference. I didn’t drive and my ex controlled my external freedom. If he didn’t want to see the movie, we didn’t. He was not OK with a modern woman. He preferred a very different t genre. haha.

I was modern and free inside but needed to keep it completely undercover, at the risk of his threat that I would lose my children otherwise. As it turned out, he instigated it himself so I would do so, but at least they were 15 and 17 in 1972. I’d managed to be unconfrontational for all those years and was prepared to stay indefinitely for the kids and family, but the ex grew impatient waiting for me to defy him so that he could impose his plans with which he thought he could act out all of his greedy threat to see to it that I signed over everything to the children before he disposed of me one way or the other. At that moment, plan was to have me immediately committed after signing over everything and he'd have custody. I had no recourse but would have handled it, I think. But I was rescued from that by my brother. Sadly, as it was, the children were being totally brainwashed and estranged so were most affected by losing their mother (one is still affected at age 60) but the ex was unable to enact his plans to take everything as he'd calculated through taking the kids. Still, he'd taken much over the 18 years of the marriage, so he'd benefitted greatly and still uses it to intimidate our son.

But I quickly learned to drive after severing the disaster. I tried to reconnect with the kids, continued writing my private poetry which had sustained me, supported myself and, though still quiet and reserved, I became more and more active in life and resigned to the loss and after a year, returned to my own Texas. I am a lively, alive person by nature, but require my privacy, too, which I'm able to have. So, yes, I am a modern woman. Lots of learning involved after all those years of severe limitations and isolation. I’ve said I was born at 40! haha. Not bad to have another whole life!

Horrid as that experience was, I was very much secure inside all along, so was able to go forward. I literally had no other real choice except to give up and perish as a person; - not possible in my being! I'm thankful to be OK and fully alive, greatly due to the inner being all those years.

Not too sure about him. We were the same age, though he's a few months younger. I don't get news about him, other than seeing that he's virtually lost the kids emotonallty and our daughter completely through her own defiance. Our son is still intimidated and is pressured to avoid me to stay in line for inheritance from his father. He is 60 so not sure if he will ever relent. Certainly not so far. After 44 years of the exclusion from him, I don't hold my breath. Finally, though, I've met his lovely family (mostly online, though his two children have visited me from Ohio and we've good relationships. Recovered better relationship with my daughter and her family earlier on, but she preferred to stay in Indiana and still is at 58. Life goes on. It's good, no matter what.

Main things still continuing for me as a person are enjoying great health and mind, a number of great people though I'm the only survivor of my natal family. But how great having enjoyed an ideal relationship and marriage with my beloved George , beginning in 1979 when I was 48 and he was 58. We married in 1985, happily, and were extremely happy together many years till his death in 2008. He was also a ‘with-it’ man who had experienced enough of life’s hills and valleys to appreciate a good respite. ( I still ‘talk’ to him.)

Actually he'd taught himself all about computers as they existed then in the early 80s and was able to program his PC to accommodate his great ovations and inventions. He was then an engineer in the Water Dept. in City Hall and was asked to teach the execs and administrators in the building to use personal computers.

So he kept encouraging me to get my first computer and in 1988, I did, though trepidatious, almost afraid to touch it. haha. I’ve learned and grown a lot since then in that area and others! I love my life! Life is dynamic if one is into it!

You are amazing yourself, my dear Ian! I'm so glad I know you!

Much love and cyber hugs! ~ Nellieanna


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 3 weeks ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

Nellieanna, my friend,

Just reading the above has reminded me that I once asked... suggested... told you to get on down and write that great novel which is your life and your parents' life. The bringing of water to Texas... or your part of it.

And all those incidents and joys and tragedies of your growing up; your sister and the heartbreak; your lovely mother and diligent father.

You owe that large, sweeping Steinbeckesque novel, to yourself and to the world.

And whilst you are sharpening those yellow pencils and gathering together the white lined paper to start (Note the reference to Doc Ricketts in 'Cannery Row' and 'Sweet Thursday'), perhaps you could run over this little piece of priceless writing from a sadly missed Angie.

http://www.twilightlawnsplc.co.uk/#/notices-hobbies-clubs/4554591693


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Nellieanna 3 weeks ago from TEXAS Author

I save many of my comments and other historical information sources I’ve written as resources for a book, if and when I do write one. Must admit that, at this stage of my life, I’ve become very much aware of the limits on time while blood is coursing through and thoughts are dancing and interaction is current with others. Choosing even to publish poetry, as I’ve been approached with practicality to do, looms as monopolizing so much of that time! I’m about interaction with others rather strongly and don’t skimp on it. So just setting out to write a book seems likely to absorb the remainder of my mentally and physically active life. Obviously the choices for one’s mental life could be the most limiting or freeing.

I might surprise myself with being speedier than anticipated but so far, have seen no spare time, living alone as I do, being 100% responsible for all effort and time which self-care and a home require, and staying alert to the ranch’s welfare; - actually I’m only loosely blessed with my dear person who actually DOES most all of it of his own good graces because he enjoys it and likes me. He has his own family and work to do, too.

I’m thankful to have almost no health demands on my time and focus. But that in itself comprises some of my self-care investment, keeping it so.

Even so, I’m well advised by you to think about writing the book, - and also publishing at least a few of my thousands of poems! By the way, I prefer unlined paper, though many of my older poems and other writing were on lined ‘notebook paper’. haha. But there is something freeing about unlined. I’m looking at a poem I wrote on the unlined cover of a manilla folder. it's - only 13 short lines long. hehe.

I did look at the writing you included but did it too briefly, upon opening my computer before doing anything else today and planning to go back and linger. I’m still just finishing my morning fruit and it’s 3:35 PM. But I was up late and arose late. Time is moving much faster these days!!

Hugs.

I must say that I’m so happy and honored to have a comment by YOU to greet me! I do treasure you.


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Twilight Lawns 3 weeks ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

Nellieanna, to open up my computer and see that you have left a comment or a explanation or whatever, always make that certain something in me spring forward.

The lined paper and the yellow pencils were a reference to Doc Ricketts preparing to write up his findings from the tidal pools in the Monterey Bay area of California. I adore Steinbeck's writing and the pictures that he created resonate within me as do your reminiscences and your poetry and the whole ethos of the Nellieanna that I love, admire and adore.

x


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Nellieanna 3 weeks ago from TEXAS Author

I saw Don Rickles on TV occasionally but didn't follow his work, so obviously I missed that reference. If he was retrieving notes stuffed into bottles floating in the Bay, he might have found mine (if I'd ever launched it.) haha

BOTTLES

I’m right here now.

The words I write in poems

Retrace my voyage here

Through inlets making

Mockery of maps,

Whirlpools changing course,

Twinkling streams

And placid ponds for rest,

Exciting rapids racing.

All - in pages, pressed.

Where I am just now

Is where I need to be

To see the way to go.

I don’t look back,

I can't look back!

So I stuff it into bottles

To float to shore someday!

______© Nellieanna H. Hay

3-9-72

I adore John Steinbeck's writing too. "East of Eden" is an all-time favorite. Any comparison with him is - - wow!

Thank you for making my day! Hugs and love!

Nellieanna


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Twilight Lawns 3 weeks ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

A lovely poem, Nellieanna. Really splendid, in a warm and comforting manner - if that could reasonably be.

The Doc Ricketts I was referring to was Doc in 'Sweet Thursday' (and 'Cannery Row').

OK, so I got the colour of the pencils confused with the colour of the paper, but this has stayed with me for years. The lining up of the pencils and the note taking - or not, as it happened.

"Doc bought a package of yellow pads and two dozen pencils. He laid them out on his desk, the pencils sharpened to needle points and lined up like yellow soldiers. At the top of a page he printed: OBSERVATIONS AND SPECULATIONS. His pencil point broke. He took up another and drew lace around the O and the B, made a block letter of the S and put fish hooks on each end. His ankle itched. He rolled down his sock and scratched, and that made his ear itch. “Someone’s talking about me,” he said and looked at the yellow pad. He wondered whether he had fed the cotton rats. It is easy to forget when you’re thinking.”

― John Steinbeck, Sweet Thursday

How beautifully Steinbeck describes the most mundane action and makes poetry out of every thought - as do you in the lovely poem above.

"Doc" was Ed Ricketts the noted biologist in both of the books mentioned above.

"Edward Flanders Robb Ricketts commonly known as Ed Ricketts, was an American marine biologist, ecologist, and philosopher." Wikipedia


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Nellieanna 3 weeks ago from TEXAS Author

Oh, my! I certainly missed that reference, - all due to my unfamiliarity with that Doc Ed Ricketts, the person in real life and the Steinbeck novel character. He is vastly more interesting to me than Don Rickles ever was or could have been! I shall follow up on Doc Ricketts more!

One of my favorite real-life people is Dr. Bob Hudspeth, George’s nephew who is a Professor Emeritus at Oregon State University in his field of Coastal and Ocean Engineering, has authored many studies and an impressive book on Marine life from his perspective (he has 76 books published) and is an Emeritus Professor at U. of Oregon. Marine studies are fields I would not seek, not being an ocean person, but it’s vastly interesting.

Having just read the Wikipedia story about Ricketts, I am really eager to continue to learn of him and follow his story. Some other names mentioned there have influenced me, such as Joseph Campbell and Henry Miller. How fascinating life is!

I also see many places and themes which Doc Ricketts and Steinbeck shared which Steinbeck used in his works.

Oh, yes, his writing rises above others' as he transforms the events in his scenarios into literature and poetry! He brings the reader into his very thoughts.

I just thought of the movie, “Midnight in Paris”, in which the hero, a writer, has ‘sold out’ by becoming a well-paid Hollywood screenwriter but still dreams of writing his own great novel. In Paris with his materialistic fiancée & her parents, he starts wandering around town at night while she is playing around with an old boyfriend and his wife. At midnight every night, the hero runs across a time-warp which transports him back to Paris of the 1920s, where he meets and intermingles with all the famous writers and artists of that day. Steinbeck asks Gertrude Stein to critique the hero’s novel, which she agrees to. The story in the present day progresses, and after a bit, the complications with this situation work out, of course, and it is an entertaining bit!


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Twilight Lawns 3 weeks ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

‘Midnight in Paris’. I LOVE that movie. I have it on my hard drive and have watched it a couple of times already and am definitely not going to delete it as I do with films that are "alright" or rubbish.

I think Owen Wilson is perfect for the part and the scenes in which he meets celebrities of the past almost make my heart race. I love the period in literature, so when F. Scott and Zelda and a host of others I have read about or have read, appear in person, but exhibit human feelings and passions not shown sometimes in their works, I feel my heart pounding as if I have been drawn back in time and am about to meet a long lost love, a friend.

That genre of literature and filmed is my all time favourite, so it was easy to catch me in the thread. That and novels about the thirties... ‘Brideshead Revisited’, ‘The Great Gatsby’, Waugh and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

I loved ‘The Time Traveller’s Wife’ – both the film and the book by Audrey Niffenegger. The film ‘Frequency’ with Jim Caviezel and Denis Quaid has had me watching it, perhaps, a dozen times or more. Déjà Vu with Denzel Washington wipes me out, as does ‘The Lake House’ with Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves. Yet again there is also a British film, ‘About Time’ with Bill Nighy. I love Bill Nighy’s acting – it’s so wonderful and somewhat bizarre.

Enough said. I think you know what I like by all the above.

Take care, good friend

Ian


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Nellieanna 3 weeks ago from TEXAS Author

Dear Ian ~ Why am I not surprised that we share a number of favorite movies? I have and love “The Lake House” on DVD and “Frequency” and “Déjà Vu” in recordings. I don’t know “The Time Travelers’ Wife” or “About Time”, but no doubt I’d love them!

I still love "Somewhere In Time" with Jane Seymour and Christopher Reeve. Have it on DVD.

Your description of the delight of “Midnight in Paris” is so great. I felt that personal connection with those famous people in it come to life, too. They seemed much as I’d visualized them, even though they don’t always display their humanity in their works. When I watch it (many times), I always feel I”m taking the physical and emotional step back with Owen Wilson, who, I agree, is so right for it.

Yes, I also love stories set in the 30s. “The Great Gatsby’ is a long-time favorite movie version of it, though I confess I still prefer the film of it which I own, made in 1974 with Robert Redford and Mia Farrow to any of the several others before and after. I’ll have to seek out “Brideshead Revisited”.

I’m so happy that you shared these things with me. Remember when we compared all our DVD collections? Mine continued to grow, and then I subscribed to AT&T U-verse for my TV, Internet and land phone supplier. One of its features is that one can record movies from whatever movie channels one includes in one's subscription, right onto the U-Verse control receiver. I have over a 100 saved on it. If some of the films are not to be replaced if space is needed, one can indicate that and they’ll stay as long as one subscribes. I have quite a few that stay. But the good thing is being able to try them and then see how they hold up. haha So it’s opened more movies for me with no need to buy them to have them. They’re also handy! No need to insert a DVD, set it up and all that. Just click over to “Recordings” and go!


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Nellieanna 3 weeks ago from TEXAS Author

ps. Are you familiar with "Meet Joe Black" with Anthony Hopkins and Brad Pitt? It's a slightly different genre, with the character, Joe Black, being the Death Angel, come to 'get' Hopkins' character, Bill Parrish, but hanging around awhile, constantly near Parrish until the ideal moment to take him.

The human's body taken by Black for the mission, had just met and shared mutual attraction with Parrish's lovely M.D. daughter, Susan, played by Claire Forlani. As he appears as Black, of course looking the same, he is often near her, too, so the plot thickens. I recommend the film if you're not already into it.

Of course, we've discussed "The Picture of Dorian Grey" in the past, another slightly different genre, but bearing similar other-worldly attributes. Did we disagree about it on the basis of Oscar Wilde? I am certainly not his champion but I've liked that story since I saw the movie as a teen and was deeply inspired to try to be a good person because of it! I'm aware that I mentioned it to someone who objected to Wilde.


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Twilight Lawns 3 weeks ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

You are so right when you say that we agree on so many things.

I loved the Robert Redford Mia Farrow version of ‘The Great Gatsby’. In fact, when I read it, and like you, I have read it many times, I thought that the director must have seen exactly what I saw on every page. I have seldom found that when I have watched a film adaption of a novel or short story as much as that. I have seen the Leonardo Dicaprio version and find it sensationally unintelligent on its concept. F. Scott Fitzgerald would not have seen the world like that, or if he did, he didn’t write it that way.

Yes, I have seen ‘Meet Joe Black’ a couple of times and really like it a lot. It is exquisite in the way it gracefully unfolds.

Babar bought me a hard drive some time back and I download movies (films Ha Ha Ha) from a site on my computer. Presently I have 998 and when I watch, if I like them, I keep them, and when I don’t, I delete and move on.

I also like Wilde, but I must admit that Dorian Grey and his eventual downfall did nothing to persuade me to be a better person. I could have been positively evil, given the chance, but unfortunately I was also born with the lazy gene, so I didn’t get around to any of that fascinating stuff.

I like Wilde a lot, but I am so tired of being told that he is the Master of the Epigram; H. H. Munroe (Saki) holds that title as far as I am concerned. I think his writing is absolutely superb. Have you read ‘The Unrest Cure’? If not, please do. I think it is possibly the funniest bit of writing ever.

I have seen ‘Somewhere in Time’ but, although it is very clever, I wouldn’t put it up there with my favourites.

‘Brideshead Revisited’, ‘The Great Gatsby’ and ‘A Ballad of Love’ are possibly my three favourite novels ever.

‘Brideshead Revisited’ was produced as a British television serial produced by Granada Television in 1981. It was magnificent. ‘Downton Abbey’ to the nth degree. The cast was chock a block with wonderful actors – Laurence Olivier, Jeremy Irons, Diana Quick, Claire Bloom, Nicholas Grace, Anthony Andrews, John Gielgud...

There are eleven chapters, all set in wonderful county houses and Italy and a plethora of ravishing scenes and places.

You must catch up with it. It’s stunning. Read the book first or afterwards... they are as magnificent as each other.


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Twilight Lawns 3 weeks ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

Forgot. Two others of the novels I really love reading time and time again.

'The Bridge of San Luis Rey' by Thornton Wilder. Also 'The Cabala' by the same author.

I don't need to mention that virtually everything by John Steinbeck is in there, also.


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Nellieanna 3 weeks ago from TEXAS Author

Oh, yes. I like Leonardo DiCaprio in some roles but he was totally disappointing as Gatsby. I wonder if he had any idea of the essence of the story and the character. For me, it fell flat.

Haha. Well, perhaps it was vanity which inspired me to not be an evil person like Dorian Grey, considering how horrid his evil deeds made his picture look. But I’ve always felt much more revulsion to the evil people do, especially if it’s disguised as good or as looking good, than to any of the spookiest kinds of scary monsters.

When a kid in Del Rio, it was traditional to see the Halloween horror midnight movie. They were black and white and often involved evil human monsters, who sometimes did their evil to retain their beauty. It left an impression on me. Sort of a prelude to "Dorian Grey" in my teens.

I don’t know H.H. Munroe (Saki) or “The Unrest Cure”. That can be remedied! Sounds interesting.

Several years ago, when so wrapped up in Downton Abbey” and eagerly waiting for each season of it to begin, I bought several British TV series in their entirety . The best was “Upstairs, Downstairs”, with its five-year run from 1971-1975. I watched it all the way through, and then over again several times during one winter. When it came out I was not aware of it, but it was the forerunner to “Downton Abbey”, featuring the lives of the two distinct peoples living under one roof. It covered periods from 1903 through 1930. It was set in London, rather than out in the country like “Downton Abbey”. There were some outstanding performances. The DVDs included behind-the-scenes information which was so interesting.

Another shorter series came out after Downton, “Berkeley Square”, set in 1902, about 3 young women from various poor backgrounds who are employed as nannies by 3 wealthy families living on Berkeley Square in London. Their lives intertwine. I enjoyed that series. I may watch it again.

Then there is “The Duchess of Duke Street”, a series set in London between 1900 and 1925, based loosely on a real-life story about a lowly servant who works her way up to becoming a renowned cook, then to being proprietrix of an upper-class hotel on Duke Street, St. James’s, in London, - with many wealthy patrons. It wasn’t as involving to me as the other series, but I was so enchanted with the entire genre at the time and I almost immersed myself in them. “Upstairs, Downstairs” was my favorite, next to “Downton Abbey”. I felt like part of their lives.

I haven’t visited them for quite awhile, but on Sunday evenings, I enjoy several current series on Masterpiece Theater, which was where we ‘Mericans could first see “Downton Abbey” in the U.S. starting in late January after its run on British TV each season. I always ordered the DVD and got it after the Masterpiece series began but before it finished, though, so I didn’t have to wait as long to get all the latest editions of the latest seasons.

Now I’m enjoying one Masterpiece series called “Poldark”, based on a series of historical novels by Winston Graham. I love the characters, scenarios and ambiance. Another seres I”m enjoying there is “Indian Summers” . It details the events of summers spent at Simla, in the foothills of the Himalayas, by a group of British socialites at the time of the British Raj. The first series is set in 1932, but I started following when it was already in progress. Very colorful and the characters are wonderful. Sunday nights are good for relaxing and not watching any news which is mostly repetitious on weekends, anyway. I'm still wanting to be informed about this unusual set of circumstances in my country's history. It's both dismal and fascinating.

I will find and have “Brideshead Revisited”. How could I resist such a recommendation from one whose recommendations are always superior? And that cast! All greats and Jeremy Irons is one of my most favorites!

“Somewhere In Time” was well-timed for me. The music was also incredibly nice. I first saw it at my daughter's house in Indiana when George and I went up there in 1988 for the birth of her 3rd (of 5) daughters, Sabrina, who is now grown and the mother of 3 herself. Sitting on my daughter's sofa with her other children watching that movie was memorable. Then I continued to enjoy it afterwards and mourned Christopher Reeves' terrible crippling accident. I think it was one of his last movies before the accident. Yet Jane Seymour continues to be lovely. Life is so amazing.

I started this reply before my hot water heater went out and was leaking on the carpet on Wednesday evening. A neighbor helped me drain it before all 40 gallons leaked out. I got it replaced yesterday. Whew. It' had been doing fine for so many years!

I tucked my reply start away, unfinished, while dealing with the emergency, and though am now somewhat panting on Terra Firma after running tiresome errands today, I am here to finish and to post it. Normalcy feels good. haha

It’s getting chilly today, finally, so am relieved to have the HWH replaced and being able to have a hot shower! A cold sponge bath yesterday morning before it was replaced was not fun. Makes a being humble and thankful! So many occurrences do that for me. So glad to be able to take them in stride. I'm honestly very much OK. :) Life!!

I’m sipping a mini-snifter of sherry before starting to prepare some salad and din-din. Keeping a wary eye on CNN to see what El Donald keeps doing about assembling his cabinet appointees before his inauguration in January. Doesn’t look too wonderful, so far. sigh. groan. I was hoping to be proven wrong about him. Still hoping. Miracles can happen.

Meanwhile, for me, it is better to focus on more pleasant things, at least for the weekend. What is, IS, in any case. Perhaps a sherry refill. (I only imbibe on weekends and usually only one per weekend evening. But it’s such a tiny glass. :D Yes, I shall.)

What fun to visit over good stories and joy of living! You know, it's a miracle!

Hugs and love to you.


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Twilight Lawns 3 weeks ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

Dearest Nellieanna, just a brief one this time, as I am feeling a little cold myself. I am in the dining room, huddled over an electric heater as we, also, are having trouble with the heating. It’s not that the Central Heating Boiler isn’t working, it’s that the C.H.B. has decided to switch itself on and of whenever it feels like it. But by chance, we insured it with British Gas a couple of weeks ago, and when it doesn’t look as if we are trying to con them and that it really just started, we’ll have them come in and have a look.

I love the idea of you having watched ‘The Duchess of Duke Street’, but once again, I beat you to it!

I had already read the book before it came onto the television as a series, and the original was ‘The Duchess of Jermyn Street’, written by Daphne Fielding. It’s the story, loosely based on the career of Rosa Lewis (née Ovenden), who ran the Cavendish Hotel in London.

It’s full of wonderful characters, and as far as I can remember, is much more fun than the series. Edward VII, who was a real trencherman, is known to have loved her food, and she apparently cooked for him on several occasions. Read the book – when you’ve finished ‘Brideshead’ (Ha Ha Ha) and I can assure you that you will love the characters (and hate many, because of their greed and disregard for so many things we now believe in.)

And the descriptions of the menus and feats are astounding to our modern eye and palate.

The ‘Poldark’ series looks like a good romp. Incredibly good looking chap returns from places unknown only to take off his clothes at the slightest opportunity to show a magnificent body; or to violate everybody’s senses, table manners and probity whenever possible, either by tearing the diaphanous muslin from the ladies’ bosoms or admitting to be blah-di-blah-di-blah.

That’s Cornwall for you. Incredibly romantic, swirling dark clouds, jugs of mead, over tight trousers and polite platitudes.

By the way, I just saw the trailer, but I know where it’s all going – or went.

Now I reach the best bit!

‘Indian Summers’. Oh my goodness!

As you know, I am an Anglo Indian, that is, I was born in the India of the British Raj, and the series drew me like a lodestone... but I was disappointed and frustrated.

Maybe I was sheltered from a lot of what went on and I know the series started in 1932, and things had moved on by the time I was around, but my heart bled at the depiction of some of the characters. Julie Walters, who is a really excellent actress (Yes, I still use that term) could not be more common or more of a bitch. Maybe that type was, but there was a more amenable attitude to, at least, the “Upper Class” Indians when I was there. I had several “Aunties” who would visit or we would visit them. Indian ladies in saris, sitting in threes on sofas in drawing rooms and using their hands so beautifully when they spoke (fond memories of mine).

My mother treated our servants with respect and love and was distressed when she saw beggars and Indians being treated unfairly. My father, on the other hand, was less kind, but I plan to write a hub about that one day.

I don’t know where you have got to in the series, but when the news of the Earthquake and the collection for the assistance to the victims takes place, it was not only in Simla, but across India. That earthquake took place in 1937 in the city of Quetta, which is the capital of Baluchistan, a Princely country within the British Raj.

The complete city of Quetta was destroyed.

Did you know that I was born in Quetta, two years later in 1939, and by then much of Quetta was still in ruins?

So of course I love that part of the series.

Simla is also very close to Babar’s hometown of Abbottabad, which is in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (formerly the North-West Frontier Province, or NWFP in the Raj). The scenery in that area is stunning.

Simla, the Summer Capital of India.

“So like Surrey that one feels at home, dontcha know.”

I was looking at pictures of Pakistan and Baluchistan yesterday and my eyes filled with tears because...

“Breathes there the man, with soul so dead,

Who never to himself hath said,

This is my own, my native land!

Whose heart hath ne'er within him burn'd,

As home his footsteps he hath turn'd,

From wandering on a foreign strand!”

And Nellieanna, I know that I will never walk on the arid soil of Baluchistan or see the Quetta Cantonment or breathe the air of the land of my birth again.

Enough said.

Much love

Ian


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Twilight Lawns 2 weeks ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

Nellieanna.

I've sent you the Saki I mentioned; direct to your e-mail address - well, both of them, because I can't remember which one you use.

Would it be better if I were to send it as an attachment, remembering that you are Posh and use Apple and I am using Windows 7?

Hugs


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Nellieanna 2 weeks ago from TEXAS Author

Dear Ian ~ I hope your heating issue is resolved. We’ve had the first really cold temperatures the last few nights. Finally my warm fleece-lined things feel good, though friends up north think it's balmy temperature down here. I got the outside water faucets winterized with water turned off, pipes insulated, and garden hoses put away. There are faucets both in front and back. Getting it all freeze-safe is not a huge job, but is close to the ground, which is not my best level. haha. A relief to have it done.

How about that! You know “The Duchess of Duke Street”!, too. I’m not surprised. I guess I do need to read the book, though at present I’m so in arrears on my reading books I already have! I have several ‘started’ and needing to be finished! Time moves faster than I do!

I was aware that you considered India your country of-the-heart, but didn’t know you were actually born there. Now I’m all the more fascinated with “Indian Summers”, though I’d thought of you as I’ve watched it all along. But I’m not sure that the versions we see here are the same as the originals shown in the U.K. You must not think you’ll never walk on Baluchistan again and experience all those special, important places and the air! It could happen!

Sunday was Masterpiece Theater night on public broadcasting. I watched the lineup, starting with “The Durrells of Corfu”, then “Poldark” and “Indian Summers”. I so enjoy them. But these days, mostly for my TV watching, I’m keeping up closely on CNN with what our new President-Elect is up to - it’s ‘iffy’. New Year’s may be the last of traditional American anything, once he’s in the Office, as of Jan. 20th. His appointees for cabinet positions so far include some of the most justifiably controversial people in the land, and he's certainly controversial. His intentions of doing it all his way do not bode well. He's like a steam-roller. But what will be, will be. I’ve survived stuff & dictatorial, steam-roller people before.

I’ve received the email copies from you of the Saki story, “The Unrest-Cure”, and have printed it out, since I love to read printed words. haha. I’m so looking forward to it. It looks wonderful. No need to send it as an attachment. I just printed it directly from the email. No problem.

Both those emails of mine are active but I visit nellieanna@nellieana.com more frequently. Doesn't hurt to send to both.

Our American holiday of Thanksgiving is coming Thursday. It’s usually a time for overeating, which is not my thing. My previous plans for the main dinner have fallen through. My glamourous 91-year-old friend, Val, and I had planned to go out to a restaurant specializing in Thanksgiving and Christmas traditional feasts, 3 or 4 course, for a flat fee, not cheap. But her grandson’s girlfriend, Holly, invited her to join for a family feast with her family out in the country, so I’m thrilled for her. I suspect Holly’s grandfather saw Val’s picture and wanted to meet her! Anyway, it was an invitation she couldn’t refuse. I’m not in the least displeased, since I cannot eat large quantities and am careful about the healthful quality, as well. It would have been mostly for the company. I would have brought home a large ‘doggie bag’. So it will save some money and waste, as well as allowing me to eat healthier, at my leisure.

I considered just going to a restaurant alone, but will be happier eating here at home. As for the cost, I just now went to the grocery store and got the items I want for my private meal, and the tab rang up more than the average price at a restaurant. haha. But it included some lasting items, as well, and a whole turkey breast, a sweet potato, frozen green beans, a slice of deli pecan pie and a bottle of sherry. I have everything for a lovely salad on hand, so am set. Everything for my meal suits me just right and my own simple preparation will suit me, too. No battling traffic, parking and crowds. I’m such a homebody. I'll love smelling the turkey roasting, also.

My stepson and his wife are sharing with some of her kin for Thanksgiving, but will treat me for Christmas dinner. That has been a very special tradition for several years. They drive and pay and it’s at a lovely French Bistro with wonderful atmosphere. One can either order the traditional Christmas turkey meal or substitute other entrees and choices, which are outstanding. It's a real treat.

Val and I will do our traditional New Year’s Eve dinner at a restaurant, unless she gets entangled with Holly’s grandfather at Thanksgiving and is kept busy, which I would applaud. She’s been a widow for a couple of years. She always prefers a Thai place for our New Years meal, which isa restaurant where we used to go with our husbands for New Years. It's colorful and pleasant, but I’m rather tired of it. So we shall see. It’s only one evening in the year. On New Years day, it’s traditional in the South to make black eyed peas for good luck all year. That’s fun.

I’m sorry to have been slow to respond. I so love our exchanges!


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Twilight Lawns 2 weeks ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

Your "No battling traffic, parking and crowds. I’m such a homebody. I'll love smelling the turkey roasting, also." expresses something really lovely and reassuring about you, Nellieanna.

I love the atmosphere that is created by cooking a festive meal at home.

I have a friend who is starting into the very first stages of a rather nasty divorce, and as a result, has asked if she can share Christmas with me, or at least spend the day here. It is really as a protection from her husband and his mother, who will be determined to take her child from her over the period.

Tina, her husband and the mother-in-law are all Muslims, but in the UK, Muslims celebrate Christmas, not as a religious festival, but as a great coming together and also a time for decorations and family. I am sure that it must be the same where you are.

Babar (bless him) always says, “I don’t celebrate Christmas,” but I’m sure he must be one of the only Pakis in the UK who feels like that – apart from those who live in ghettos and ethnic bubbles in Yorkshire or the East End of London.

I hope you realise that I am being a bit sweeping and stereotypical in my words here. After all, I’m one of those Pakis who do celebrate the birth of a great Prophet who is also mentioned in the Qur’an.

Enough of all that. Tina’s little boy, Zachariah is the most beautiful child; and from me, that’s a great recommendation. I don’ like children per se but this one is exceptional. Can you imagine what would happen to him if his father and the mother-in-law got hold of him on a permanent basis?

You would know better than most about these things.

“The Durrells of Corfu”? Sounds wonderful. I discovered Gerald Durrell several years ago and have read most of his books. ‘My Family and Other Animals‘ is priceless. I have also read ‘Justine’, the first of ‘The Alexandrian Quartet’ by his brother Lawrence. I loved it; I’m really fascinated by decadence. But I never finished ‘Mountolive’. I must have another go.

End of a rather muddled reply to your last

Hugs

Ian


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 2 weeks ago from TEXAS Author

I love you muddled reply! Hugs.

I’m comfortably looking forward to my private Thanksgiving and am glad to not be scheduled to be out in traffic or even with company. My meal will be fun. And yes, it does express something vital about who I am! I truly get my support and succor from private, quiet activities and time. Busy-ness is fine but I require the quiet privacy to recharge. My early domestication also shows through. haha

I am thinking that it may be lovely for you to share your home with Tina during the Christmas season. To help her keep her child safe will be most gratifying. The chlld sounds special. I know a couple of children who seem so special, they almost seem angels on earth. It would be sad if the father and his mother got hold of Zachariah.

The main reason I docilely stuck with a impossible man for 18 years was to be sure I was there for my children as long as possible. He’d threatened in no uncertain terms to take then if I ever defied him, so I made sure that I didn’t. But his agenda was that I would and that would give him advantage for his agenda, so he caused it to erupt and then took them anyway, thinking to intimidate me to his agenda by it. But my brother saved me. I may have told you that already.

Yes, Christmas is a coming together time, though it’s not a biggie coming together for me. I’ve been minimal in decorating for quite awhile. Even before George died, we were often at the ranch right up to the day and sometimes for the day. That was an interesting experience. There was something so very reminiscent of the Christmas story, to be out there, far from festivities and activities. I recall one Christmas Eve when I walked out where there were bales of hay for the deer, the night sky was incredible and it felt so close to the manger imagery, it was very touching.

I’m not a rabid religious person. Been there, done that. It’s not my passion, though I feel a personal connection, - in my own way. I’ve lovely memories from my youth of Christmases, being in little school reinactments, etc. I loved the old-fashioned Christmas carols and I sang and played them on the piano. Mother could always entice me to go to Church to hear the pipe organ!

I would love it if people who profess to be Christians truly followed that great one’s example as human beings. I’m very well versed in the biblical studies from years of schooling in them, but I find there is a bigger scope which is not necessarily in sync with how it’s interpreted and applied in formal religion. So I don't try to fit it in to that. My faith can be summed up as "There is no problem." No call to make it one.

Here at home, George and I had a simple Christmas together with very personal - and limited - gifts. We had a tree and hung stockings but kept it simple. He invested a lot of time and thought into the gifts he gave. I’ve a lovely wall cabinet he gave me filled with adorable Swarovski crystal animals he gave me, one at a time over the years. Each one was selected with great care to be sure its expression was just right. The shelves of the cabinet act as home for sky, earth and water animals. They're mixed in with other of my own treasures.

We enjoyed the stockings as much as any of it while sipping sherry that came as overflow of the stockings hung on the mantel. We had to guess what was in each present, so it took a long time to open and the sherry and our beloved cats kept it all cozy.

For many of my earlier years in my first marriage, I handmade all the gifts my family and I gave, so the only shopping involved was for materials, and I saved up for the ‘making’ all during the year. Most were personally designed and sewn but I also cooked to make gifts. I even used old Christmas cards we’d received in the past to decorate the gift packages. They were all works of art, but the inlaws covered them under the aluminum tree with gifts wrapped in uninteresting paper with stick-on bows. haha. So I’m old-fashioned about celebrating the ‘season’ to begin with. Commercialism and ‘me-first’ attitudes of shoppers offend my senses. Over time, I suppose I became a bit jaded to it all.

Now, though I have Christmas decorations stored in boxes, I put out almost none. I’ve no desire to put it all out and then have to put it all away. I’m usually invited out for Christmas dinner, as I mentioned. I send gifts to my progeny up north and to George’s two grandkids and his great-grandson in Austin. Eventually they get their gifts sent to George Jr & wife to distribute. They live in Plano, a suburb in North Dallas. Then we get together sometime long after Christmas to exchange gifts. They come here for the exchange, and we have a glass of wine and it’s an occasion, but it’s almost the only time they visit me except to pick me up to go out occasionally or to bring me birthday gifts. All my own natal family are long gone & my own progeny all live several thousand miles away. I have about 8 nieces and nephews in the vicinity but only see one nephew and his wife, though I did see most of them at my sister’s funeral 4 years ago and several of them are on Facebook, so we exchange news there, as I do with some of my own progeny. It's off and on. haha. So much for family. I’m fine with it. I may even rather prefer it. I love people but am not very dependent on them and need my breaks from them. What can I say? There is history.

I started watching “The “Durrells of Corfu” well into the series. It’s interesting. I had no idea how it relates to Gerald Durrell, but it is an adventure. Here is what Google says about it: “ Keeley Hawes (Upstairs Downstairs) stars as an intrepid widow who decamps from dreary England to a sun-dappled Greek island with her four recalcitrant children, ages 11 to 21, on this six-part adaptation of Gerald Durrell’s My Family and Other Animals and its two sequel. “ It’s never a dull moment and always fun. Each of the kids has a definite personality. The youngest is an animal lover who has started his own zoo. Last episode the mom was planning to marry a nice looking younger man who was quite attentive but she discovered he was gay and possibly had questionable motives, so she didn’t.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 2 weeks ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

It was lovely to speak to you yesterday,

Much love

Ian


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 2 weeks ago from TEXAS Author

Works both ways! Hugs ~ Nellieanna

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