A Film List in hues of Red
Updated: Sep 17
“Put on your red shoes, and dance the blues.”
— David Bowie
Right now, some of us are lounging at home bare-foot. The luckier ones are probably enjoying splashes of sunlight and greenery in their garden in flip-flops or clogs. Some might even be jamming to the rhythm of their favourite tunes in their comfiest dancing pumps. Wherever we might be, we are keeping busy at our own pace. The days when we would wake up at 7:00am, have breakfast (or not), and get dressed for another day at the office seem far behind us. This routine has suddenly been halted by the COVID-19 pandemic. But we look forward to the days where we can slip back into our shoes and tap dance our way back to normalcy, or a new kind of normal.
Whether in slippers, sneakers, boots, platforms, or heels, we all have our go-to-shoe. A select few are even sprinkled with just the right amount of magic. Or so I was led to believe. Like most, The Wizard of Oz was one of the very first films that I saw and fell head-over-heels in love with as a child. There was something special about Dorothy in those ruby red slippers and their magical powers that struck my fancy. Listed as one of the most valuable items of film memorabilia, this magic pair of shoes has immortalised the 'red shoe', generation after generation. As a tribute, here are some selected films that feature the red footwear in its various forms, and starting with the 1975 classic.
1. The Wizard of Oz (Director: Victor Lonzo Fleming, 1939)
A farm girl wakes up in the magical land of Oz and embarks on a journey to find the Wizard, so that he may help her return home to her family in Kansas.
2. The Red Shoes (Directors: Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger, 1948)
A young ballerina joins an established ballet company where she is taken under the wing of its director, but she must choose between her love for a composer and her career.
3. Funny Face (Director: Stanley Donen, 1957)
A fashion magazine editor and her photographer on the look-out for the next big trend stumble upon an assistant shop keeper, and see in her an ideal model prospect.
4. Footloose (Director: Herbert Ross, 1984)
A teenager from Chicago moves to a small rural town where music and dancing have been banned by the local minister, but his rebellious nature inspires his peers to lift the ban.
5. High Heels (Director: Pedro Almodóvar, 1991)
A mother and daughter reunite in Madrid after 15 years and try to mend their broken relationship, as well as deal with their common lover in the midst of a murder.
6. The Apartment (Director: Gilles Mimouni, 1996)
An engaged writer sees a former lover in a phone booth of a Parisian café and becomes obsessed with finding her again, after strange circumstances tore them apart.
7. Sin City (Directors: Robert Rodriguez & Frank Miller, 2005)
An ex-convict seeks revenge on the death of his sweetheart in a city of sin, where his quest takes unexpected turns as the lives of other rogues get caught up in the action.
8. Kinky Boots (Director: Julian Jarrold, 2005)
A struggling shoe factory owner befriends a drag queen who helps him save his shoe business from financial ruin, while diversifying his line of products.
9. The Devil Wears Prada (Director: David Frankel, 2006)
A college graduate lands a job in New York City as a co-assistant to a powerful fashion magazine editor, unbeknownst to her that this coveted position will claim her life.
10. Dope (Director: Rick Famuyiwa, 2015)
A teenager living in a tough neighborhood in California sees his life change when he is invited to an underground party, transitioning from being a geek to becoming dope.
11. The Two Popes (Director: Fernando Ferreira Meirelles, 2019)
Pope Benedict XVI attempts to convince Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio to reconsider his resignation, as he confides his own intentions to abdicate the papacy.