The red shoes was inspired by a fairytale. While the horror story behind The Red Shoes isn't based on a true story, it's a vague adaptation of a Hans Christian Andersen fairytale. Like many fairy tales, the original version of The Red Shoes is surprisingly dark. Hans Christian Andersen's original fairytale, “The Red Shoes”, is a reprimand to vanity.
In the story, an adoptive peasant girl gets her adoptive mother to buy her beautiful red shoes to replace her old, tattered red shoes. Wearing the shoes not only prevents him from entering the church, where only black shoes were allowed, but it also causes a curse. Once she starts dancing in her shoes, she's doomed to never stop. It separates her from everyone she knows and marks her as a cautionary tale.
The Red Shoes premiered on December 16, 1993 at the Gershwin Theater, with Steve Barton as Boris Lermontov, Margaret Illmann as Victoria Page and Hugh Panaro as Julian Craster. Sometimes it even resembles the demonic spirit of ballet that drags the character of Vicky into the red shoe trap. Upon its release, The Red Shoes received critical acclaim, especially in the United States, where it received a total of five Academy Award nominations, including an award for best original soundtrack and best artistic direction. The Red Shoes is famous for presenting a 17-minute ballet sequence (from a ballet entitled The Ballet of the Red Shoes) as the centerpiece.
The Red Shoes Ballet is a resounding success and Lermontov revitalizes the company's repertoire with Vicky in the lead roles and Julian in charge of composing new scores. But The Red Shoes also uses this dreamlike atmosphere to crudely paint the two men in Vicky's life as fairytale monsters that split her in two. In his last moments, he begs Julian, who was on his way to the station, to finally take off his red shoes. The question of gender in relation to The Red Shoes has been a recurring concern of both critics and scholars, since it does not fit perfectly within the limits of a single genre.
The success of this series convinced Universal Pictures that The Red Shoes was a worthwhile film and they took over the United States. As a sign of respect, the company interprets The Red Shoes Ballet with the focus on the empty space where Vicky would have been. While The Red Shoes uses enhanced images and a fairytale ballet to increase psychological tension, it continues to address one of the issues that has haunted women over the past century. Some time later, during a trip, Vicky receives a visit from Lermontov, who convinces her to return to the company to put on her red shoes again and return to dancing her famous role.
However, The Red Shoes also emphasizes turning Lermentov into an even more macabre manipulator in the final act. When talking about the screenplay, Pressburger argued that Vicky couldn't wear red shoes when she fled, because the ballet hadn't started yet.