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Beauty & the Beast

4.8 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Jean Marais, Josette Day, Mila Parély, Nane Germon, Michel Auclair
  • Directors: Jean Cocteau, René Clément
  • Writers: Jean Cocteau, Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont
  • Producers: André Paulvé
  • Format: Subtitled, NTSC
  • Subtitles: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Vid Canada
  • Release Date: March 23 2001
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews
  • ASIN: 0780020715
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #96,608 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

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.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Format: Blu-ray
Tourné sur neufs mois dès la fin de la Deuxième Guerre, au mois d'Août 1945, Cocteau a réinterprèté "La Belle et la Bête", conte de Madame Leprince de Beaumont, dans une poésie cinématographique des plus importantes de l'histoire du cinéma.

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.
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Format: DVD
Cocteau's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST will leave an impression on those who are about to see it for the first time. Anyone who has seen it already will be able to recount multiple favorite images and delight in expounding upon them. Film in the hands of some people seems to become more malleable. Cocteau is one such weaver of images whose fantasy world is at the same time childlike and foreboding - innocent as a puppet theatre ,then dark as sin.
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.
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Format: DVD
The Criterion Collection has released its second DVD version of Cocteau's masterpiece, this time featuring the extensive 1995 Luxembourg restoration done for French cinema's centennial. The black-and-white film, mono, in French, comes in its original aspect ratio of 1:33.1. The restoration -- detailed on the DVD -- removed most of the scratches and dropouts that plagued the original nitrate negative. While viewers will marvel at the quantum leap in video integrity and continuity, owners of the 1998 Criterion DVD may want to hang on to their discs. Missing in action from the 2003 version -- which appears a bit flat after all that scrubbing -- are the dramatic contrasts of the previous restoration, done in the United States. (The older DVD presentation bears major scratches throughout -- pick your poison.)
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.
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