The Red Shoes,the newly-restored 1948 masterpiece from directors Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, will have its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival as the Centerpiece of “Cannes Classics” section on May 15. Martin Scorsese will introduce the film which has undergone an extensive 2-year 4K digital restoration by ,the newly-restored 1948 masterpiece from directors Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, will have its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival as the Centerpiece of “Cannes Classics” section on May 15. Martin Scorsese will introduce the film which has undergone an extensive 2-year 4K digital restoration by the UCLA Film & Television Archive and The Film Foundation, in association with the British Film Institute, ITV Global Entertainment Ltd and Janus Films. The restoration was funded by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, The Film Foundation and the Louis B. Mayer Foundation.

“Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger created a vision in The Red Shoes, one that has never really been matched,” said Martin Scorsese, Founder and Chair of The Film Foundation. “There’s no question that it’s one of the most beautiful color films ever made, and one of the truest to the experience of the artist, the joy and pain of devoting yourself to a life of creation. Due to the incredible generosity of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, The Red Shoes has been fully restored. Those of us who love film owe the HFPA a deep debt of gratitude.” “We are grateful for the opportunity to support The Film Foundation in its outstanding efforts at preserving and restoring motion picture classics,“ said Jorge Camara, President of the HFPA. “We are particularly proud of being associated with ‘The Red Shoes,’ an extraordinary film that influenced a generation of filmmakers and won fame for the intensity of its performances and the beauty of its images.”
UCLA archivist Robert Gitt explains: “In the restoration process, the entire film has been turned into ones and zeros, repaired, and then converted back into a motion picture again. In order to achieve a proper film ‘look,’ we compared the new digital images with those in an original Technicolor dye transfer print and in a new Eastman color test print struck by Cinetech Laboratories directly from the YCM camera negatives. Careful adjustments were made in the finalized digital version to combine the best qualities of modern color film (greater image sharpness, more sparkle in highlights) with the most pleasing attributes of vintage Technicolor dye transfer prints (bold colors, deep blacks, gentle contrast with a pleasing range of tones in actorsʼ faces). The end result is a restoration that combines the best of the past with our digital present.”
The UCLA Film & Television Archive and The Film Foundation began working on the restoration in the fall of 2006. Earlier, in the 1980s, the film had been optically copied from flammable nitrate and acetate materials, including vintage Technicolor dye transfer prints, nitrate and acetate protection master positive copies, original soundtrack elements, and – most important of all – the still extant three-strip Technicolor camera negatives. These original nitrate 3-strip camera negatives have been utilized for this restoration to obtain the highest possible image quality. The negatives, which were damaged by mold and deterioration, were scanned at 4K resolution and digitally restored at Warner Bros. Motion Picture Imaging. The new digital negative has been used to strike beautiful new 35mm prints at Cinetech Labs, one of which will premiere in Cannes. These newly restored elements ensure that the film is now properly preserved for posterity.
The restoration was a landmark collaborative effort between the following non-profit entities:
The Film Foundation  is a nonprofit organization established in 1990 by Martin Scorsese. The foundation is dedicated to protecting and preserving motion picture history, and provides substantial annual support for preservation and restoration projects at the nation’s major film archives. Since its inception, the foundation has been instrumental in raising awareness of the urgent need to preserve films and has helped to save more than 525 motion pictures. Joining Scorsese on the board are: Woody Allen, Paul Thomas Anderson, Wes Anderson, Francis Ford Coppola, Clint Eastwood, Curtis Hanson, Peter Jackson, Ang Lee, George Lucas, Alexander Payne, Robert Redford and Steven Spielberg. The Film Foundation is aligned with the Directors Guild of America whose President and Secretary-Treasurer serve on the foundation’s board.
The UCLA Film & Television Archive is renowned for its pioneering efforts to rescue, preserve and showcase moving image media, and is dedicated to ensuring that the collective visual memory of our time is explored and enjoyed for generations to come.
The Archive is a world leader in the restoration of film and important feature projects include STAGECOACH (1939, John Ford), HIS GIRL FRIDAY (1940, Howard Hawks), MACBETH (1948, Orson Welles) and KILLER OF SHEEP (1977, Charles Burnett). The Archive has also restored historical newsreels and hundreds of short subjects. Many of the Archive’s restorations are invited to screen at prestigious events around the globe and released commercially on DVD.
The British Film Institute is the UK’s agency for film culture, aiming to provide people with access to the broadest choice of film, wherever they live and however they want to access it. The BFI does this through preserving and curating the UK’s film heritage, generating new knowledge and content through an exciting and accessible cultural programme (screenings, events, DVDs, festivals, theatrical distribution, publications, education) and reaching new audiences by inspiring and motivating people to seek out film culture. BFI is proud to have contributed to the restoration of The Red Shoes with elements preserved by the BFI National Archive.
Since first contributing to The Film Foundation over ten years ago, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) has become a major supporter of The Film Foundation, donating over two million dollars and funding the preservation of 70 important films, including work by John Ford, Stanley Kubrick, Ida Lupino, Alfred Hitchcock, John Cassavetes, and Jean Renoir, among many others. The HFPA’s 2006 gift supported the restoration of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s Technicolor masterpiece, THE RED SHOES (1948). Today the members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association represent some 55 countries with a combined readership of more than 250 million. Through the success of the Golden Globe awards, the HFPA has been able to donate more than 7.7 million dollars over the past thirteen years to entertainment-related charities, as well as funding scholarships and other programs for future film and television professionals.
Formed by the legendary Hollywood producer, Louis B. Mayer, the Louis B. Mayer Foundation’s film preservation program specifically focuses on the body of work of key figures in the history of film. In 2008, The Louis B. Mayer Foundation provided The Film Foundation with grant support for restoration of two films from the directing team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger: THE LIFE AND DEATH OF COLONEL BLIMP (1943) and THE RED SHOES (1948). The three-year grant from the Louis B. Mayer Foundation has helped to ensure the restoration and preserve the legacy of these two masterpieces.