Director: Jean Cocteau
Original Release: 1946
Choice: My Wife's
My Overall Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Numerous films have been based on the traditional fairy tale, Beauty in the Beast. The Family Movie Night favorite at our house is Jean Cocteau's 1946 classic, La Belle et la Bête in French. Cocteau was a 20th century renaissance man, a master of numerous art forms: poetry, novels, plays, art and film among others. Cocteau's films, including Beauty and the Beast, were ahead of their time in the use of visual effects to create ethereal, dreamlike sequences. The technology was, of course, quite primitive by 21st century standards but the more basic camera tricks were no less effective. My favorite scene is Belle's father's entrance into the Beast's castle:
While the visuals are undeniably stunning, I find the story's pacing to be uneven, thus a 3 rating and not higher. The (over)acting's quite stylized, not unusual for the era. Both leads are beautiful: Josette Day as Belle and Jean Marais (Cocteau's lover of 25 years and star of several of the director's most famous films) as Beast/Avenant.
- The film is subtitled, a treat for Our Girl as she kept asking My Wife about the French. It would seem I'm not the only one who's become more interested in the language from recent travels to Quebec. I don't know if it cut into the enjoyment of the movie for My Wife but I thought it was sweet.