With the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and medically approved marijuana in many other states, we thought we’d spend this week highlighting some classic films that people might want to watch while, well, high.

Today we feature one of the best films about ballet, The Red Shoes, which was produced in Britain, almost 70 years ago. It stars ballerina Moira Shearer, matinee idols, Anton Walbrook, and Marius Goring. It was produced and directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger.

Shearer is cast by Walbrook in a ballet of The Red Shoes, based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale of a girl whose red shoes possess her to dance to death.

But then she meets the young composer (Goring) and falls in love. She is soon caught between the two men, forced to choose between the man she loves and her passion for her art.

The film is shot in  glorious Technicolor. The sets (which won the Oscar) are wonderfully hallucinatory. The dancing is exceptional. Both express the young ballerina’s tormented emotions. Today these shots are seen as a precursor to psychedelic filmmaking.

The Red Shoes is considered the first mainstream film to fuse hallucinatory elements into the plot.

It is, as they might say on TCM, one of the essentials.

Another is Disney’s Fantasia. Walt may not have envisioned it that way, but when the film was re-released in the sixties millions flocked to it to see the glorious color and animation for their hallucinogenic effects. The film had been a box office disappointment when first shown in 1940, but its re-releases found a wider audience. And none more appreciative than the “hippies” of the 60s and 70s.

 

 

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