Tuesday, 28 September 2010

La Belle et la Bête Review

My Review on La Belle et la Bête

The date of this film is 1946 and despite this the make up for the Beast was fairly good considering its age. It didn't look cheap and looked as if a lot of care and thought went into the creature design. Even though it was a black and white film and in French, there was still some interesting elements to see, like the eerie candle holders and a curtain like door that was made of human arms that moved when anyone went near them. Even the statues are alive in the dinning room and follow the characters every move. 'Are they captives of the Beast, imprisoned by spells?' (Chicago Sun-Times). Unlike Disney's Beauty and The Beast which is aimed at children, the audience by which this film is aimed at is adults due to its slight horror feel with the Beast and complex story. 'This should be understood, however: the achievement is on a definitely adult plane and the beauties of Cocteau's conception will be most appreciated by sophisticated minds. It is not the sort of picture that will send the children into transports of delight, unless they are quite precocious youngsters of the new progressive school' (The New York Times).

The story is about a poor family where Beauty (Belle) is treated like a slave by her two sisters and their farther who has lost his merchant ships at sea. One night their farther crosses a forest and stumbles upon the home of the Beast and steals one of his roses. The Beast notices and sentences him to death or he can choose to make one of his daughters take his place. The farther heads back home and explains what had happened, Beauty decides to take his place and heads to where the Beast lives. The Beast falls in love with Beauty and decides not to kill her, but imprisons her in his home. Beauty finds out that her farther is dieing and wishes to return. The Beast lets her go on one condition that she must return in one week or he himself will die of grief, he also gives her the key to his riches. Beauty returns home and nurses her father back to health and tells her story of what happened including the key to the Beast's treasure. Her two sisters steal the key and give it to their brother and his friend. Beauty returns to the Beast to find that he is dieing, while her brother and friend attempt to steal the riches, but one is killed doing so. When this happens the Beast is magically brought back to life and has changed into a prince, Beauty and the prince appear to fly away together. 'The final ascent into the clouds by Beauty (Josette Day) and the Beast (Jean Marais), transformed into a handsome prince, this is one of cinema's most magical films and writer-director Jean Cocteau's greatest popular success' (Guardian The Observer). 


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