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Film / The Man with One Red Shoe

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When an ambitious deputy director frames the head of the CIA in a drug smuggling operation gone wrong, the director leaks info that a star witness will be coming into town, and sends his right-hand man to the airport to make contact. The so-called witness is a dupe picked at random based on a signal made up on the fly.

That man is Richard Drew, concert violinist and title character. When the deputy director takes the bait, coming to increasingly paranoid conclusions based on completely innocent aspects of his life, Drew is dragged into a deadly espionage battle, complete with Femme Fatale, wiretaps, tailing agents, and multiple assassinations.

Sounds like a gripping Hitchcockian thriller, doesn't it? Actually, it's a comedy starring Tom Hanks.

Directed by Stan Dragoti and released in 1985, The Man with One Red Shoe is an American remake of the 1972 French film The Tall Blond Man with One Black Shoe, in which Pierre Richard played the role later given to Hanks. It plays with many standard spy thriller tropes, and features a supporting cast including Dabney Coleman, Lori Singer, Charles Durning, Carrie Fisher, Jim Belushi, Edward Herrmann, David Ogden Stiers, and David Lander.

Examples of:

  • Black-and-Grey Morality: Deputy Cooper sees no problem with committing murder and causing international incidents to secure a promotion. Meanwhile, Director Ross has no issues with throwing an innocent man under a bus to save his own skin. The victor in the end is the Director's underling Brown, who is significantly more morally White than either of them, and ends up director of the CIA in the previous Director's place.
  • Cassandra Truth: "There are three dead men in your apartment."
  • Cold War: Downplayed — there's not a single Russian agent anywhere in the film.
  • Deep Cover Agent: What Drew is mistaken for.
  • Feed the Mole: The Director's house is wired for sound, which is why he has all important conversations out on his lawn with the sprinklers running, and stands directly in front of the bugs when he wants to be sure they hear what he wants them to hear.
  • Femme Fatale: Used by the Deputy to get close to Drew. Unfortunately for him, the lady in question, Maddy, genuinely falls for Drew and decides to help him.
  • Flush the Evidence: The agents think Richard is doing this when he repeatedly flushes his toilet. In reality, they put his bathroom plumbing back together so poorly, he has to flush the toilet to get the sink to work.
  • The Fool: Drew doesn't even know what is going on until the final quarter of the movie; it's only through dumb luck that he avoids getting shot, coming across a multiple murder in his own apartment, or getting all his teeth pulled in a vain search for microfilm.
  • Foreign Remake: Of the French film Le grand blond avec une chaussure noire (The Tall Blond Man with One Black Shoe). Biggest difference between the two: In the original, the hero never realizes what's going on!
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The final chase scene ends with Deputy Cooper bursting into the room after Drew, gun drawn. The room contains the Senate sub-committee, which he sweeps with his muzzle, and the Femme Fatale, who was in on the original frame-up and willing to testify in order to save the hero.
  • Hollywood Silencer: Used by the competing teams of agents when they meet each other in Drew's apartment.
  • Instant Sedation: It takes multiple shots in the backside to put Drew out after a wiretapping team nearly gets caught in his apartment, with Drew becoming slightly delusional before finally dropping. The agents interpret this as a sign of nigh-inhuman endurance, further reinforcing their belief that he is a highly trained agent.
  • Mistaken for CIA Deep Cover Agent: Drew's gig as a traveling musician has taken him around the world, including several Communist nations, which leads the Deputy to conclude music is just his cover job.
  • Minimalistic Cover Art: The poster shows only a red shoe in a white background with its lace lighted with a fuse and does not have star Tom Hanks or the title of the movie in it.
  • Ms. Fanservice:
    • Carrie Fisher turns in the gold metal bikini for leopard print underwear.
    • Lori Singer wears a Sexy Backless Outfit that goes as low as possible while still somehow keeping the PG rating.
  • Noodle Incident: While some sound is heard, the exact mechanics of playing "Tarzan" are not laid out or shown on camera.
  • Paranoia Gambit: The entire premise of the film, up to eleven:
    Maddy: Does this man look like a professional to you?
    Cooper: Well, of course he doesn't, honey! Think about it! If he wasn't a professional, do you think he would appear to be a professional?
  • Person with the Clothing
  • Practical Joke: Drew's friend stole one shoe out of each of his pairs before his flight to DC, resulting in his mismatched footwear.
  • Resignations Not Accepted: Used toward the Femme Fatale, who is willing to betray her employer. Subverted when she turns state evidence in exchange for clemency at the end, getting out of the game in the process.
  • Spy Versus Spy: The internal politics of the CIA drive the entire plot.
  • Sympathetic Adulterer: Richard Drew had an affair with his best friend Morris's wife Paula out of frustration over the man constantly pranking him, but despite her wanting to continue it, he's shown to regret his actions and want out. He gets his wish and a happy ending with Maddy, who has turned against her boss to save him, while Paula goes back to Morris in an effort to help him recover from his breakdown.
  • Took a Level in Badass: By the end, Drew has gone from a mild-mannered musician to charging an oncoming car with his bike, using a wooden plank as a lance.
  • The Tooth Hurts: Hearing Drew is on the way to the dentist, Cooper suspects he is hiding a microfilm in one of his teeth, and sends a CIA dentist to intercept him:
    Carson: How do I know which tooth?
    Cooper: Yeah... well, better just yank 'em all.
  • Title Drop: When the Director's right-hand man picks Drew out of the crowd at the airport.
  • Those Two Guys: Both the Director and Deputy employ a pair of agents for stakeouts and wetwork.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Morris (James Belushi) is married to Paula (Carrie Fisher), who no longer loves her husband and keeps trying to seduce his best friend. She calls off her pursuit at the end when Morris has been checked into a mental hospital, believing that he needs her.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Carson's Catchphrase is some variation on, "why don't we just kill him"? At first Cooper demurs, saying they have to be certain of what Richard knows, and have to lay low while there's a Senate inquiry ongoing. As it becomes increasingly difficult to find out just what Richard knows (which is nothing, because he's completely innocent), Cooper gradually comes around to Carson's way of thinking - which is exactly what Ross is planning on.
    Cooper: Carson?
    Cooper: Liquidate?
    Cooper: I think so.