Movie: The Man With One Red Shoe
Director: Stan Dragoti
Critic rating: 4
Stylish, moody and funny re-make of the fine French suspense-comedy Le Grand Blond Avec une Chaussure Noire (The Tall Blonde Man With One Black Shoe), this 1985 release finds a very young Tom Hanks caught as a pawn in a battle of wits between a CIA director (Charles Durning) and his rogue underling (Dabney Coleman). In order to send Coleman on a wild goose chase, Durning has his minion Edward Herrmann pick someone completely random out of a crowd at an airport. Hanks single red shoe makes him the logical choice, and suddenly the life of this not-so-ordinary guy (he works as a symphony cellist and is being chased by his best friend's hot wife, the astonishingly beautiful Carrie Fisher), becomes even more confused than it was prior. Add statuesque blonde Lori Singer to the mix as an agent who may not be playing at falling for Hanks, and you've got a recipe for a labyrinthine comedy that still holds up twenty years later.
While not as cerebral or subtle as the original, The Man With One Red Shoe benefits from a stellar cast of well-known actors hitting their marks perfectly. Long before his Oscars, Hanks was a terrific, affable comedian and here he plays poor sap Richard Drew with the same gullibility and charisma one remembers him displaying in Bachelor Party, Big and Splash. Shockingly, critical punching bag James Belushi does an excellent job grabbing laughs as Richard's best friend Morris, a cad who comes unglued when he keeps seeing agents appearing and disappearing all around him.
Also working in the film's favor is the stylish direction by Stan Dragoti who cants his camera and plays with shadow as if he were directing a straight-up film noir piece. Dragoti's odd sense of timing may make this comedy rings a little off for some, but others will find it refreshingly different. Adding to the mood is an outstanding original score by Thomas Newman that evokes some of the best sounds this talented composer created in his early career. While his score is tops, kudos must also be paid to Michael Masser who composed the love song that Richards writes on his cello for Lori Singer.
- Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, Widescreen, NTSC
- Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
- Studio: 20th Century Fox
- DVD Release Date: September 7, 2004
- US Theatrical Release Date: July 19, 1985