Hello and welcome to a very special edition of Buried Credits we have dubbed “Star Wars Month”! For three weeks in January we will be exploring the films of the three main actors of the original Star Wars trilogy! Buried Credits, a column that deep dives into the IMDB pages of favorite actors, directors, and writers to find their lost, forgotten, or unknown film and TV credits, continues this week with works featuring Carrie Fisher.
The Man with One Red Shoe (1985)
In Morocco, a CIA agent is found smuggling lots and lots and lots of drugs, and subsequently charged with smuggling them, and we find out it’s the CIA deputy director Burton Cooper (Dabney Coleman, WarGames) who has done it in an effort to blame the CIA Director Ross (Charles Durning, The Sting) in order to get him in trouble and take his job. Ross knows this very well, even down to knowing where Cooper has bugged his house, and in order to get Cooper to out himself and get himself into trouble he decided to play a little game. Ross has his best man, Brown (Edward Herrmann, The Lost Boys, Gilmore Girls), to pick a random person at the airport and pretend like the person is a spy for Ross and get them to trail him and mess up. Unfortunately for all parties involved, Brown picks Richard Drew (Tom Hanks, Forrest Gump, Saving Private Ryan, Cast Away), an eccentric everyman who plays the violin and is wearing one red shoe (a reference to the title of the film, the reason why Brown singled him out, and honestly has no impact on the film aside from that), and is ultimately, unknowingly, a nuisance to everyone. The Man with One Red Shoe is a remake of the French comedy film The Tall Blond Man with One Black Shoe while at the same time being very obviously inspired by the comic Spy vs Spy with the CIA’s funny and often stupid and unsuccessful antics to try and trap the other.
The Man with One Red Shoe is a really great film in idea and concept, but honestly not great in it’s execution. As a whole, this film is a comedy film about spies, but overall the tone never really hits that. There’s a ton, and I mean a ton, of moments with jokes and comedy, but aside from a slight smirk every once in a while, I never really found them that funny. The plot is entertaining and kept me watching and curious all the way through, but I just never thought it was all that funny nor great. The acting is pretty decent by all involved, especially Tom Hanks who really just feels like a random guy off an airplane. Also shout out to supporting actors Lori Singer (Footloose) who plays the spy Maddy who’s trying to seduce Richard, and Jim Belushi (According to Jim, Little Shop of Horrors, Trading Places) who plays Richard’s jokester best friend Morris and is married to Paula (Carrie Fisher).
Fisher’s performance here is wonderful. Unfortunately, she’s barely in the movie and honestly might be in it less than she was in the film we talked about earlier Sorority Row, but she’s great nonetheless. Paula is perhaps her most normal role we’ve discussed this week, being a normal basic woman who just wants to have an affair with Richard. Well, probably tied for most normal with her performance in the other Tom Hanks movie The ‘Burbs. She comes off as a nice woman who just has certain urges she needs to satisfy, but never as a bad character. Fisher plays her adorably, especially when she wears her adorable glasses. Her role here is nothing particularly special, but it’s still a fun little spot in her filmography.
Verdict: Better Left Buried
While it was an entertaining film that never bored me, The Man with One Red Shoe ultimately fails at everything it really tries to do. It never really feels like a great spy film and it most certainly never feels like a genuine comedy film. All the jokes and comedic bits fall flat, never really causing more than a smirk and the occasional chuckle. The acting is all pretty decent, but really never stands out above any other role the actors have done before. The best thing I can say this movie has is a wonderful theme music and putting Carrie Fisher in glasses. Other than that, there’s nothing really remarkable about the film at all.
Come back tomorrow for an extra special bonus article going back to one of Fisher’s earlier films as the galaxy-famous space princess that we all know and love!