Every film from Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" essays.
Beauty and the Beast
Il était une fois
The merchant and his children, Adélaïde, Belle, Félicie, and Ludovic, are near ruin bankruptcy, but Adélaïde and Félicie nonetheless still spend lavishly on themselves keeping beautiful, whereas Belle slaves around the house. Crossing the forest one evening, their father becomes lost and takes refuge in a castle. Upon leaving, he steals a blossom off a rose bush. An angered beast demands one of his daughters for the theft.
Jean Cocteau's Beauty and The Beast is a magical and transcendent ode to the limits of fantasy, brought to life with exceptional performances, awe-inspiring production design, startling atmosphere, and luscious direction. In particular, the close ups are given a mesmerizing and transfixing sense of purity, adding to the theatrical and intimate feel of the entire film.
This is the first time I've seen this masterpiece, and I can't wait to fall under its spell again.
There is only one word to describe Jean Cocteau’s spellbinding adaptation of Beauty and the Beast - Magical.
The film begins with a direct plea to the audience, a plea to simply believe as a child would: to believe in the fantastical and magical. Whilst it expresses Cocteau’s intent it is perhaps a redundant introduction when it is so easy to believe in this cursed and enchanted world. It is one of those rare films that has enthralled countless generations, and old and young alike, without talking down to either audience. Above all it is the ultimate fairy-tale film that utilises the illusionary qualities of the medium to their fullest.
Whilst the film could be interpreted as having real world…
Film #22 of Project 40
”Don't address me as sir, I'm called the Beast!”
Before starting his magical tale of doomed princes and charming girls Jean Cocteau takes a moment and asks us to put away our rational and mathematical minds aside for 90 minutes and join him in something which doesn't make sense, something ridiculously childish, something that can’t be analyzed and dissected by logic. From that opening title card it’s obvious that La Belle et la Bête is going to be a movie exploring the always spellbinding territory of magic and fantasy, and when it comes to fantasy you know that you shouldn't ask a question as you won’t get an answer, it’s all about joy, thrill, surprise…
Why I watched this movie? The 135th Danny Peary Cult Movie that I have watched of the 200 listed in his 3 Volume book series. This one is listed in Volume 1.
What is this one about? The French version of the famous story of a Beauty, a Beast and love.
My thoughts on this one? I could not help but compare this movie to the 1990's Disney hand drawn animated movie. It looks like the Disney artists took many of the images found in this movie and put it in their movie. This French version seems to include many other classic stories. Belle has two evil sisters (Cinderella), has a magical glove that can transport her from one location…
Part of my:
Crossing Off the Unseen
So, my dear sir, you steal my roses. You steal my roses, the things I love most in all the world.
- La Bête
I've never been much of a fan of fairytales, although I know the basic plot-line of quite a few of them, as a child I wasn't shown the Disney versions and thus I'm somewhat ignorant to the majority of them - Beauty and the Beast included. Cocteau's blend of romanticist and surrealist imagery in this imagining of the story undoubtedly creates a beautiful and sometimes fevered portrait of love. The costumes and sets send us away to a land where magic really is possible, where we can watch in…
Jean Cocteau's adaption of La Belle et la Bête is a film of tender beauty so striking in its visual presentation that it for a good 90 minutes transports the audience into a world of magic and wonder. I've always been a huge fan of the story itself and have seen the Disney version many times, loving it each and every time, but Cocteau's version is truly something else. Although grounded mostly in realism and having few reminders (if you can look past the beast) of the fantastical nature of the story and setting, such as the infamous candles sequence, they are so impressive and wonderfully realised that you never forget you're watching a fairytale. When the candles light themselves…
Having a really good fairy tale adaption when it comes numerous fairy tells that can be told in cinema can be quite challenge since it is very hard to stand out from the crowd when it comes to making the tale relatable, while still providing the original stories we love with some twists that make the film stand on its own. Also, this is one of the films that shows these traits in the most magical way possible is Jean Cocteau’s 1946 classic Beauty and the Beast.
First, the hard work that Jean Cocteau did with this film really paid when it came to the special effects and the way the film portray how magical it was while bringing a…
"I don't mind being frightened... with you."
There are times where the story can be a little silly and while the ending may be anticlimactic and unrealistic, Beauty and the Beast is still an enjoyable adaptation with fantastic practical effects and very good performance from Jean Marais and very beautiful production value to it
I think my biggest problem with this movie came down to the sound editing and production design. Sure, much of the design was really well done, but enough of it felt pretty cheap. On top of that, the camera work and print felt incredibly cheap / damaged. The sound work comes in and out. Honestly, I checked the blu ray case to find out when this was released. I was about convinced that it came out in the late 20s/early 30s. Just post silent era when studios were not yet used to the idea of including sound. I was so surprised to see that it had been released in 46. It feels so dated compared to other films from the late 40s/early 50s (or even the Hitchcock I had watched earlier that was made in 40). I think that dated-ness comes from the production design, the spotty sound, and the poor print.
Cocteau's 'Beauty and the Beast' is one of the most loved foreign classics out there. I wish I could share the same feelings as many others. It's visually inventive and the art-direction/costumes are top notch, but the story is not challenging in anyway- It's a kids fable stretched thin. I wanted to love it, but instead there was only appreciation from a visual perspective.
Beauty and the Beast (La Belle et la Bête), Jean Cocteau's follow up to his surrealist masterpiece The Blood of a Poet, is an astounding achievement in postwar filmmaking, which benefits greatly from Cocteau's directorial tendencies and prowess. Incredibly vivid images permeate the film, as does Cocteau's penchant for visual effects and beauty. Shot using a mixture of film stocks, as supply was limited after the war, and with a staggered production schedule due to an illness Cocteau suffered during filming, Beauty and the Beast somehow benefits from the reality-altering stock changes, and directorial stand-in (René Clément replaced Cocteau while he was in the hospital).
Beauty and the Beast is, of course, based on the story by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de…
The perfect realization of a fairy tale on film.
The most popular film of 1946 that I had not seen
Good effects for it's time
Narcotic and magisterial surrealism.
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