Holocaust

  • Directors: Marvin J Chomsky
  • Producers: Robert Berger
  • Writers: Gerald Green
  • Genres: Drama, History, Romance, War
  • Actors: Tom Bell, Joseph Bottoms, Tovah Feldshuh, Marius Goring, Rosemary Harris, Tony Haygarth, Ian Holm, Lee Montague, Michael Moriarty, Deborah Norton, George Rose, Robert Stephens, Meryl Streep, Sam Wanamaker, David Warner, Fritz Weaver, James Woods

Holocaust tells the story of the Holocaust from the perspective of the Weiss family of German Jews, and from the point of view of a rising member of the SS, who gradually becomes a merciless, bloodthirsty war criminal. Holocaust highlighted numerous important events which occurred up to and during World War II, such as Kristallnacht, the creation of Jewish ghettos and later, the use of gas chambers. The series ultimately attempted to portray the atrocity of this genocide to viewers.

A Matter of Life and Death

  • Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
  • Producers: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
  • Writers: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
  • Genres: Drama, Fantasy, Romance, War
  • Actors: David Niven, Kim Hunter, Roger Livesey, Raymond Massey, Marius Goring

Squadron Leader Peter Carter (David Niven) is a British World War II Royal Air Force pilot trying to nurse a badly damaged and burning Lancaster bomber home after a mission in May 1945. His crew has already bailed out, but Carter’s parachute has been shot up. He manages to get in touch with June (Kim Hunter), an American radio operator based in England, and carries on a tender conversation with her in the few minutes before he is forced to jump without a usable parachute.

Peter should have died at that time, but doesn’t because of a mistake on the part of Conductor 71 (Marius Goring), the guide sent from the “Other World” to collect him. They miss each other in the thick fog over the English Channel. Instead, Peter wakes up the next day on a beach near June’s base, and is completely bewildered when he finds he is alive and not in some afterlife.

Peter meets June who is cycling back from her night shift, and the pair fall in love. Conductor 71 (a French aristocrat executed during the French Revolution) appears to Peter, stopping time to explain the situation and to persuade him to accept his fate. Peter refuses and demands that the matter be appealed. While Conductor 71 goes to consult his superiors, Peter continues to live his life.

The jury rules in Peter’s favour. The Judge (Abraham Sofaer) shows Reeves and Farlan the new lifespan granted to the defendant; Reeves calls it “very generous”, and Farlan reluctantly agrees to it. The scene then shifts to the operating room, where the surgery is declared a success and the surgeon is revealed to be The Judge.

The Red Shoes

  • Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
  • Producers: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
  • Writers: Hans Christian Andersen, Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger, Keith Winter
  • Genres: Drama, Romance, Music
  • Actors: Moira Shearer, Anton Walbrook, Marius Goring

Victoria ‘Vicky’ Page (played by Moira Shearer) is a young, unknown dancer from an aristocratic background. At an after-ballet party, arranged by her aunt as a surreptitious audition, she meets Boris Lermontov (Anton Walbrook), the ruthless but charismatic impresario of the Ballet Lermontov, who questions her:

Lermontov: Why do you want to dance? Vicky: Why do you want to live? Lermontov: Well, I don’t know exactly why, but… I must. Vicky: That’s my answer too.

Lermontov takes her on as a student, where she is taught by, among others, Grisha Ljubov (Léonide Massine), the company’s chief choreographer.

After seeing her dance in a matinee performance of Swan Lake [3], Lermontov realises her potential and invites Vicky to go with the company to Paris and Monte Carlo. When he loses his prima ballerina (Ludmilla Tchérina) to marriage, Lermontov begins to see Vicky as a possible successor. Backstage, as Vicky is waiting to make an entrance with the corps de ballet, he pronounces that:

A dancer who relies upon the doubtful comforts of human love will never be a great dancer. Never.

When Ljubov objects that you cannot change human nature, Lermontov responds “I think you can do even better than that — you can ignore it.” He decides to create a starring role for Vicky in a new ballet, The Red Shoes, the music for which is to be written by Julian Craster (Marius Goring) a brilliant young composer engaged as orchestral coach the same day that Vicky was brought into the company.

The inconsistency can also be explained by Vicky’s desire to check the red shoes before the performance, intending to remove them before the ballet begins. She is prevented from doing so by the encounter between Lermontov and Julian. Whatever the explanation, the dramatic necessity for her to be wearing the red shoes at the end is clear.