Friday, November 27, 2009
The Red Shoes
I've always enjoyed the tales of Hans Christian Andersen, but my personal favorite has long been The Red Shoes, a tale of a young peasant girl named Karen who dons a pair of red dancing shoes that have a mind of their own.
Karen is adopted early on by a wealthy old woman and subsequently becomes very vain and spoiled. Karen cons her new mother to buy her a pair of red shoes that I'm assuming are pretty damn amazing. Like any good shoe lover, the shoes rule over Karen's life to the extent that she doesn't bother to pay attention in church or help her adoptive mom out when she is sick. One night at a party, she dances in the shoes and can't stop. The shoes have a mind of their own, leaving Karen powerless to remove them and attend her adoptive mother's funeral.
An angel comes to Karen and says that Karen will continue to wear the shoes and dance until she drops dead to serve as a lesson for being so vain. Unable to continue and probably developing the blisters of a lifetime, Karen gets an executioner to cut off her feet. She wears wooden feet and carries crutches and heads to church where lo and behold, she can't get in because her cut-off feet in their red shoes block the entrance. I'm getting a fairly disturbing but intriguing image in my mind of that event. She tries to get into the church a couple more Sundays later but no dice as her disembodied feet are still in motion.
Karen goes home and prays to God which is such a strong experience, it's as though the church came to her. She is so happy her heart bursts (again, a fairly disturbing but intriguing image) and her soul goes to heaven where nobody mentions the shoes.
Moira Shearer in the movie version of the fairy tale. It's loosely based on the story with Shearer playing a ballerina caught in a love triangle with two men. Make that very loosely based actually because Shearer gets her shoes removed and doesn't have to walk around with wooden feet.
This got me thinking...if a pair of red shoes were responsible for my ultimate end, what would they look like? I picked a couple.
Halston, I would definitely check out for six feet under for these bad boys.
Valentino, can't resist a nice patent sheen on a shoe.
Balmain, straps to imprison me forever.
The Red Shoes are still influential today. Kate Bush's album inspired by the fairy tale.
A Korean horror film with the same name. This is the first of the posters made for the movie.
And here is the second. The shoes look kinda pink here though.
Love to you all,