The Red Shoes is the 7th studio album by Kate Bush. The album was accompanied by the 50-minute musical film, The Line, the Cross and the Curve. Many portions of the film were used in the form of promotional music videos. Sadly the album was the last before her 12-year hiatus, and after returning Bush described the accompanying film as “a load of bollocks”, disregarding its creative integrity.
The film is a loose rendition of the 1948 British film The Red Shoes, which is self explanatorily the namesake of the album.
The Red Shoes is one of the most critically acclaimed pieces of British cinema, with great efforts made towards its restoration over the past few decades, recently being released in 4k. The film tells the story of a ballerina who joins an established ballet company and becomes the lead dancer in the titular ballet. The film’s origins are based on the literary fairy tale by Danish poet and author Hans Christian Andersen once again titled The Red Shoes.
The orignal story follows a peasant girl named Karen who is adopted after her mothers death by a rich old lady. As a result, she grows up vain and spoiled. Prior to being adoped, she has a pair of red slippers that are poorlymade. However, after being apoted her adotive mother buys her a new elegant pair of red shoes. Enamoured by her new shoes, Karen intests on wearing despite the old lady telling her that she should onlyu wear her black shoes to church.
As she is about to enter church, she meets a soldier with a red beard. He says “Oh, what beautiful shoes for dancing,” he then looks at the shoes and tells them “never come off when you dance,” tapping each shoe with his hand. After church, Karen takes a few dance steps as though the shoe are controling her, finally managing to stop after a few minutes.
When her adoptive mother becomes iIl and passes away, Karen doesn’t attend her funeral, instead choosing to go to a dance. Her red shoes once again take contro,l and this time she is unable to stop dancing. An angel appears to her, bearing a sword, and curses her to dance for eternity, even after she dies, as a warning to vain children. Karen begs for mercy but the red shoes take her dancing away before she hears the angel’s reply.
Karen finds an executioner and asks him to chop off her feet. After the deed is done, the shoes continue to dance, with Karen’s amputated feet inside them. She is given a pair of wooden feet and cruches by the exocutioner. She attempts to go to the chruch, but her amputated feet, still in the red shoes, dance before her, blocking the way. She tries again the next week, with the same result. When Sunday comes again, she doesn’t bother going to the church, instead sitting alone at home and praying for help. The same angel reappears, bearing a spray of roses, giving her the mercy she asked for. Because of this, her heart becomes so filled with peace and joy that it bursts. Her soul then flies to Heaven, where no one mentions the red shoes.
Due to its dismissal by its creator, the long-form music video, which was nominated for a Grammy, has fallen into relative obscurity. Because of this, many of the individual music videos, in addition to the film itself are not available online in high definition or even officially posted.
Though in lower quality, the film can be watched in full on Youtube. In order to create a GIF of my favorite musican, I used a video I found that is of slightly better quality that is just the portion of the song “The Red Shoes” which I wanted to turn into a GIF.