Beauty and the Beast (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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The sublime adaptation by Jean Cocteau (Orpheus) of Mme. Leprince de Beaumont’s fairy-tale masterpiece—in which the true love of a beautiful girl melts the heart of a feral but gentle beast—is a landmark feat of motion picture fantasy, with unforgettably romantic performances by Jean Marais (Orpheus) and Josette Day (Les parents terribles). The spectacular visions of enchantment, desire, and death in Beauty and the Beast (La Belle et la Bête) have become timeless icons of cinematic wonder.
BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
• High-definition digital transfer from restored film elements, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
• Composer Philip Glass’s opera La Belle et la Bête, presented in 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio as an alternate soundtrack
• Two commentaries: one by film historian Arthur Knight and one by writer and cultural historian Sir Christopher Frayling
• Screening at the Majestic, a 1995 documentary featuring interviews with cast and crew
• Interview with cinematographer Henri Alekan
• Rare behind-the-scenes photos and publicity stills
• Film restoration demonstration
• Original trailer, directed and narrated by director Jean Cocteau, plus restoration trailer from 1995
• PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Geoffrey O’Brien, a piece on the film by Cocteau, excerpts from Francis Steegmuller’s 1970 book Cocteau: A Biography, and an introduction to Glass’s opera by the composer
This is definitely not the Disney version. While it remains faithful to the plot of the classic fairy tale by Leprince de Beaumont, Jean Cocteau's 1946 French romantic fantasy is the product of a sophisticated, mature sensibility in its tones and textures and, above all, in its surprising emotional power. With sparkling black-and-white imagery that, for once, is actually dreamlike rather than cute or kitschy, and with a Beast (Jean Marais) who is almost as glamorous with his silky blonde facial hair as he is clean shaven, the movie casts a seductive spell. It might actually be a little too rich and unsettling for kids. Even the costumes and the draperies are entrancingly ornate. Viewers intoxicated by this enveloping vision should consider moving on to Cocteau's even more aggressively other-worldly 1949 masterpiece Orpheus, in which Marais plays the doomed poet of ancient Greek legend, updated to a Parisian "punk" milieu of motorcycles and black leather. --David Chute --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Accompagné de ses amis dont les acteurs Jean Marais et Marcel André, le décorateur Christian Bérard, Marcel Escoffier comme costumier, et Georges Auric comme compositeur, Jean Cocteau a accueilli dans sa troupe d'autres gens admirables. Artistes de talents tels Mila Parély et Nina Germon dans le rôle des soeurs Félicie et Adélaïde, Michel Auclair dans le rôle du frère Ludovic, Doudou dans le rôle de Diane, et Josette Day dans le rôle de la Belle. Sublime découverte pour Cocteau que cette actrice dont le naturel, la pureté et la subtilité de jeu font d'elle l'actrice idéale pour ce rôle. Parmi les collaborateurs techniques, Henri Alekan (chef opérateur) et René Clément (assistant réalisateur) ont soutenu Cocteau. Notamment Clément qui a réalisé certaines séquences du film dans le château de la Bête alors que Cocteau agonisait sous des maladies épouvantables à l'Institut Pasteur. Détail qu'il décrit bien dans son journal de tournage, disponible pour les intéressés.
Loin de raconter l'histoire que l'on connaît déjà, Cocteau profite de ce film pour l'enrichir avec des antagonistes très importants, soit Ludovic, le frère de la Belle, son ami Avenant dont l'amour pour la Belle dévoile en lui une âme très dangereuse, mais aussi un pavillon magique dans le château.Read more ›
The film mixes fantasy and reality by presenting time spent in the ordinary world in straightforward, unambiguous scenes and juxtaposing these with theatre-like sequences that represent the parallel world of enchantment. Surreal set pieces, mists and blackness define the borders of the Beasts domain.
From the Beasts smoking hands after the kill to the living arm sconces and the couples flight in the end, simple effects seem to gain impact from the bare uncomplicated nature of them thrust out into view like magic tricks.
Composed like paintings the rich imagery conspires with stellar black and white photography
to produce a seeming mid range of silver smoke and shimmering highlights.
Anyone into or discovering film should acquaint themselves with this highly original sence of cinema that has lured admierers for almost six decades.
This adaptation of a fairytale will be best understood by adults but should be shared with children as well.
Small children will be uneasy in the presence of the Beast who looks a far cry from a cartoon character. Also, someone older will have to read the subtitles to them but in a darkened room that might make it even more effective as a fairy tale experience.
Regardless, the new "Beast" DVD comes with significant upgrades over previous U.S. video versions. The notoriously bad audio loses almost all of its persistent scratchiness and lack of dynamics -- giving the "Beast" back his roar. The English subtitles benefit from much-needed care in translation and presentation.
Another notable change is the resurrection of Cocteau's original opening -- the live-action titles in which the stars' names are hastily written on a blackboard and the director's handwritten message to the audience.
Modern-day composer Philip Glass' "Beauty and the Beast" opera -- usually performed live as Cocteau's movie plays as a silent film -- comes on an optional audio track, in Dolby Digital 5.1. There's an undeniable thrill in having "Beast" unspool as Glass' hypnotic music swirls around the room, but the replacement of the original actors' dialogue with opera singers' wailing quickly wears thin.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Excellente remasterisation du film original de Jean Cocteau. La qualité de l'image est impressionnante.Published 9 months ago by Christiane Lemay
Ce blu ray de La Belle et la Bête de Jean Cocteau est un enchantement sans son pareil , les images et le son ainsi traité de la thecnique Blu Ray ajoute toute en... Read morePublished 10 months ago by pat
I would have liked it much better if they followed the story line in a more traditional manner.
It was also not clear to me that the movie was in French. Read more
eatherreal is the right word to describe this film. not exactly the innocent disney version of the story here. absolutely a must for all classic movie buffs. Read morePublished on March 29 2013 by david salter
In French director Jean Cocteau’s 1946 adaptation of the classic fairy tale, Belle’s father is sentenced to death for picking a rose from the Beast’s garden. Read morePublished on Oct. 21 2012 by Jamie MacDougall
Long before Disney ever got their grubby paws on it, Jean Cocteau made the ultimate adaptation of the classic French fairy tale "The Beauty and the Beast." And it was... Read morePublished on Aug. 25 2011 by EA Solinas
I saw this movie about fifty years ago for the first time and have been enchanted by it ever since. I recommend it to everyone who love old fairy tales.Published on Aug. 20 2010 by Olga Smolik
Belle's father (Marcel Andr') has to go to town for business. He asks Belle (Josette Day) what she would like him to bring her. A Rose as there are no roses at home. Read morePublished on July 1 2006 by bernie
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