Tuesday, 28 September 2010


The films follows the story of the classic fairytale of Beauty and  the Beast with a rather theatrical touch. It was made in 1942 and is really manifesting the romantic atmosphere of the decade.
Adelaide, Felicie, Belle and Ludovic are young adult siblings living with their father. The family is in ruin as the father's merchant ships were lost in the sea. Nevertheless, Adelaide and Felicie are still spending their family's money on looking beautiful whereas Beauty is slaving for the house. Ludovic's friend, Avenant, on the other hand, is interested in Beauty and is planning to marry her. One stormy night as Beauty's's father was walking through the forest, he found and old castle and decided to use it as shelter over the night. After stealing a blossom from the rose bushes, which is what Beauty asked for as a gift, an angry beast approached him. It gave him two options for the theft, his own death or the one of his daughters'. Feeling guilty for what happened Beauty decides to sacrifice herself and live in the old castle along with the beast. But it turned out the beast did not want to kill her but marry her. But she was never forced to do so, she was asked every night by the beast to marry her even though she always replied negatively. As the time went by, Beauty began to look into the beast's soul  and uncovering it's good side. After finding out her father was terribly sick, Beauty begged the Beast to release her and promised she would come back. The Beast allowed her to leave the castle but he was about to die of grief because of her absence. But the love between them was so strong it made the beast turn into a handsome man and they both lived happily ever after in their magical kingdom.

I must admit this was the first time I have ever seen anything like it! It was a fantasy-fairytale film which had a strong taste of a theatrical play. The main theme of the fairytale-story was love triumphing over appearance which is what we most likely find in fairytales. The actors were acting as if they were on stage and the dialoge reminded me of poetry, yet the film didn't turn out over sentimental. The film wasn't even childish which was one of the main differences from the Disney animated version . What I noticed during watching it was the big influence the film had to Disney. The characters appear to be similar along with the castle scenery. The atmosphere of the film was gloomy and mysterious. I believe the fact that the shadows have a strong presence in the film made the characters stand out more. I think the best scene is where Beauty runs in the magical castle in slow motion. That reminded me of a childhood nightmare.  Overall,  it was a very interesting film to watch, an innovative way of telling the story, and was a real sample of romantic art of the late 50's. 

"As Cocteau properly retains in his diary of the film’s making, Beauty and the Beast has the structure of a poem, its inherent ambiguity, moral narrative, and visual emphasis."

It really does remind me of a poem as it brings out a dream-like state.

"Director Jean Cocteau created a visually stunning world in which to populate his characters. Even seen today, the technical and artistic achievements of the film are quite impressive."

It is true that the film was ahead from it's time as the equipment was advanced for that decade.

"Jean Cocteau's frighteningly beautiful surrealist take on the classic story is a potent antidote if Disney's given you one swig too many of the sweet stuff."

Disney is an animation industry and somehow has to make it's films more childish. The first film's mood is more phantasmagorical and Disney gives an over-sweet taste to the fairytale.


This is the nightmarish slow motion scene which gave me goosebumps.

The candles are obviously a good example of how much Disney was influenced by this movie.

The beast is hiding in the bushes ready to strike for Beauty's father who stels a rose from his garden.

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