The Man with One Red Shoe (1985)

Film and Plot Synopsis

Burton Cooper is the deputy director of the CIA who wants to be the head honcho. When he unleashes a plan to have the current one removed, Director Ross gets 48 hours from a Senate committee to prepare his defense. The director goes home, and hatches a plan of his own to bring Cooper down. He tells Agent Brown that someone is arriving in town that can clear his name; knowing that Cooper has bugged his house, and he can hear everything. He then orders Brown to go to the airport, and pick a random person out of the crowd as that witness. Brown picks concert violinist Richard Drew because he is wearing mismatched shoes; one of which is red. Cooper takes the bait, and begins surveilling Richard. He then orders his sexy agent Maddy to seduce him, but she winds up falling for him.

‘The Man with One Red Shoe’ Movie Summary

The summary below contains spoilers.
The Man with One Red Shoe (1985)The Man with One Red Shoe begins with a CIA agent’s arrest in Morocco on suspicion of drug smuggling. This places its director, Ross, in the hot seat. The actual person behind the drug smuggling operation, Deputy Director Burton Cooper, is a corrupt man scheming to take Ross’ position in the CIA. Ross knows Cooper is in on the illegal operation, and he wants to take Cooper down.

However, when a special Senate committee calls Ross up for questioning on the matter, he tells the senators that he has not been able to review all facts on the case, and needs time to assess the entire operation. The committee orders a full review, and gives Ross 48 hours to find the answers they seek.

This give Ross the time necessary to take out Cooper. He knows that Cooper has bugged his house, and is recording all his conversations. So, he uses that to his advantage in order to keep Cooper distracted. Ross tells his underling, Agent Brown, that a man will soon arrive at the airport who has much information on this little scandal. He wants Brown to go down there to pick him up.

Cooper takes the bait, and sends some agents of his own to follow Brown, and find out who this person is. Brown goes down there; tasked with finding some random person to lead Cooper and team on a wild goose chase.

Once there, Brown spots a man descending down the escalator wearing one red shoe. He decides this quirk makes the man the perfect distraction for Cooper. That random man is a concert violinist named Richard Drew, and he’s wearing the mismatched shoes because of a little prank his percussionist/buddy, Morris, played on him where he hid one of each pair of Drew’s shoes. Of course Cooper takes the bait hook, line, and sinker.

His team instantly tails Richard on his mundane daily exploits. After eluding the agents at the airport, Cooper has his sexy agent, Maddy “bump” into Richard to steal his wallet, and learn his identity. Richard is instantly enamored with the woman.

Richard is quite clueless to the CIA’s intelligence operations going on around him. Part of that is because he’s having an affair with Morris’ wife and concert flutist, Paula. She, Richard, and Morris all play in the same symphony, and she has tired of Morris’ immaturity. His pension for playing practical jokes on people, like switching out a person’s shoes, has worn thin on her. However, Richard has guilt for cheating on his best friend.

When Morris gives Richard a bag of gag peanuts, he chips a tooth on them. As he gets ready to see the dentist, he and Morris talk on the phone. Cooper’s team has tapped the line, and they listen in on the conversation. When the two buddies mention meeting with the Senators later, Cooper thinks they are discussing the committee. However, the Senators are nothing more than their orchestra’s softball team they are part of.

Richard heads out to the dentist, and Cooper takes this opportunity to send in Maddy with her team to search his apartment for any information Richard might have on him. They also take the time to bug the place. Meanwhile, some other agents go to the dentist’s office to make sure Richard doesn’t have any microfilm inside the tooth that he’s there to be worked on.

When they learn that Richard’s job has taken him all over the world, including unfriendly Communist countries, Cooper deduces that this is the perfect cover for one of Ross’ spies. He goes all in on Richard, and looks into every aspect of his life.

Cooper soon believes that Richard’s sheet music is some kind of code, and he has Agent Hulse put a special mike on him the night of a performance; one that isolates everything he plays from the rest of the orchestra. He then has Agent Carson link it into the GBLX 1000 computer that controls the entire United States missile defense system because what are the odds of the Russians attacking on a Thursday night?

This isn’t enough though, he soon sends Maddy in to seduce Richard, and find out all that he knows. However, after Richard plays a little composition on his violin that he wrote for her, Maddy falls for him big time. Morris is the only one who seems to be noticing the goings on with Cooper and his agents, but he thinks it’s all in his head, and that he’s actually going mad.

Back in Washington, the whole “man with one red shoe” ordeal delights Ross. However, when Agent Brown expresses concern that Cooper might kill the innocent man he randomly selected, Ross dismisses him and his guilty conscience. He only cares about his own future and Cooper’s downfall.

With the failure of Cooper’s continued attempts to extract information out of Richard, Cooper orders his execution before attempting to kill the guy himself. Richard is still oblivious to the plot until Maddy turns on Cooper out of love for Richard. She testifies to the Senate over the plot, and they have Cooper arrested. They also demote Ross for his part in the scheme, and promote Brown to the CIA’s Director.

Paula commits Morris to a mental institution, and breaks off her relationship with Richard as she now believes Morris needs her more. Maddy exchanges her testimony in return for immunity against prosecution for her part in the scheme. She soon reunites with Richard for a happy 80s ending.

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20th Century Fox released The Man with One Red Shoe on July 19, 1985. Stan Dragoti directed the film starring Tom Hanks, Lori Singer, and Dabney Coleman.

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