Tuesday, 28 September 2010

La Belle Et La Bete (1946) Review

'La Belle Et La Bete' 1946
Directed by: Jean Cocteau

The family are in ruins, fathers ships won’t return, so he must plead to the creditors, upon his journey he plucks a rose for one of his three daughters, Beauty, but little does his ignorance know the Beast had a watchful eye on him, and demand to take his life for this act, unless he will let one of his daughters take his place instead...

Yesterday I had my third movie to review, a French movie by the titles of La Belle Et La Bete, which was also provided with subtitles; the movie itself was had some very entertaining performances, which came with (unintended I’m sure) some very comical areas.

Considering the age of the movie, I did enjoy at least 70% of the film, but the other 30% was unfortunately not as entertaining, but this was most probably due to the film being made over sixty years ago, overall the presentation of the characters, makeup of the Beast, settings and ‘special effects’ were impressive...

“From the intricate and convincing make-up of the Beast and the surreal splendour of the bewitched castle...”

While numerous scenes went through this movie I found the director, Jean Cocteau, had a interesting use for the cloth, and clothes throughout the movie, we really did see waves of wind ride through them, especially when Beauty is running through the great hall, or even when she is searching for the beast in the corridor, I found this very 'ahead-of-its-time' for such a old movie...
It is believed this movie to have had a lot stolen from it by Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ which by anyone watching you can understand why, not just from the title, but the characters in particular, especially the interaction of the Beast with Beauty; she does not fear him, but he wishes for her to do so, which is one of the Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beasts’ main focal point. Alongside the main plot being ‘stolen’ I believe there also to be other elements to the film that Disney may have recaptured themselves, especially for Beauty’s evil sister...

“Beauty (Josette Day) slaves for her avaricious sisters...”

When I was researching into the movie itself I came across a article published on the guardian’s website, which lead me to believe that...

“Based on Mme Leprince de Beaumont's 18th-century version of the fairytale, it's a profound allegorical interpretation of a wounded France recovering its honour after the Nazi occupation.”

I took this quote with great interest, especially seen as I could see it being undoubtedly true, particularly with the film’s release being close to the end of world war 2, if this is the case then I believe the metaphor goes as followed, the Beast is France, and Beauty is the French people, and it is almost like that France has become this inhabitable monster for the French people; but they have little care for the horrific scenes that their country has seen, and still love it tenderly...

The one notification that caught my eye (and confusion) was the fact they had the man playing the Beast (Jean Marais) also played the Prince, as well as Avenant, which in this case Avenant was the man who loved Beauty no matter what and wished to free her from the Beast’s ‘imprisonment’, the area of confusion for myself is when the Beast was ‘healed’ and at the same time Avenant was killed by a statue, the Prince came from the Beast, which of course is the same man who played Avenant but only with a shorter hair cut...in other words I instantly thought that Avenant was somehow the Beast and everyone was playing musical chairs with their bodies...I think if they portrayed this type of casting in a more modern film, it would have the audience in equal confusion, unless of course it was made very clear before hand, aside this minor blimp of irritation I found the movie very entertaining.


  1. I think that the idea of the beast changing at the same time as Avenant did is because Avenant chose to look at the treasure first before 'saving' Belle from the the beast, where as the beast gave Belle the key to his treasure, saying she was worth more to him than it.

  2. Thats actually a really good point of view to have, im impressed :)