The fish out of water story is a common one. But at its core, it’s a simple story. It’s up to the writer to make sure that their narrative stands out.
In the 2002 film, Mr. Deeds, Longfellow Deeds (Adam Sandler) is a small town pizzeria owner/poet. Then he finds out that he is the heir to the fortune of a deceased uncle and moves to the big city. Babe Bennett (Winona Ryder) is a tabloid reporter who pretends to be a small town girl to get the scoop on the town’s newest billionaire. Babe expects merely to get her story and move on. Longfellow expects that his new-found fortune would change him. But as they say, mortals plan, G-d laughs.
A reboot of Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936), starring Gary Cooper and Jean Arthur, Mr. Deeds attempts to update the narrative for the 21st century. Unfortunately, this is is a paltry remake that nearly ruins the reputation if it’s predecessor.
Every genre has that movie. It is the movie that is genre defining and frequently, if not always comes up when discussing that particular genre.
For the dance movie genre, there is one film that is iconic: The Red Shoes (1948).
Victoria Page (Norma Shearer) is a ballet dancer with a promising future. But she is torn between her career and her love life. Her very demanding teacher, Boris Lemontov (Anton Walbrook) sees her potential and works her nearly to the bone. While Vicky is spending most of her day in rehearsals, she is also a newlywed. Her new husband Julian Craster (Marius Goring) also wants to see his wife. Will she choose love or a career?
Unlike some dancing movies, where the film is long on dance and short on narrative, this film gives equal time to the narrative and the dancing. It also stands out because a story question is one of those story questions that can be applied to multiple narratives by multiple writers.