Angelina Jolie’s turn as the classic Disney villain Maleficent has been getting lukewarm feedback. Critics are saying the movie lacks magic and does nothing to expand on the classic 1959 Disney cartoon (supposedly getting a restoration in its proper aspect ratio of 2.55:1 for the first time in over fifty years.) If you want a good adult fairy tale, we’ve got just what you need. As Maleficent continues to accrue mediocre reviews, we look back at some exceptional fairy tales best appreciated by adults.
The Red Shoes
The finest of the Powell-Pressburger collaborations, The Red Shoes tells the story of a beautiful, passionate young ballerina, Vicky (Moira Shearer), who is tutored by the great composer Lermontov (Anton Walbrook.) Lermontov tells the young dancer that she can either choose love or ballet, but she can’t have both — one will always sap the other. Vicky falls in love with the young and equally fervent composer Marius (Julian Craster), and Lermontov grows furious with jealously. The ballet featured within the film is Hans Christian Andersen’s The Red Shoes, a production that could propel Vicky and Marius to stardom. The movie is tragic and gorgeous, with Jack Cardiff’s use of three-strip Technicolor and his dreamy photography giving the film a feeling that’s timeless and romantic, and the centerpiece — a 15-minute ballet scene choreographed by Robert Helpmann and scored by Brian Easdale — has more emotion than most entire films.