Received & watched THE SCARTLET FLOWER today. It is a Russian fairy tale based on the story of Beauty & the Beast, a very ethereal & attempted dramatic telling of the tale. I felt it didn't work well because of the clash of styles. A disconnected dream like telling slowed to a very deliberate pace made it less appealing than it could have been.
On the bright side there are some very well done scenes, well worth seeing. The forest beast is done perfectly & the photography of him is excellent.
The coloring of the film needed some work though I thought. Almost the entire movie is based on drab people & drab backgrounds with the color scarlet used as a focus on & highlight color. By the end of the show it is getting monotonous. A little brighter background with subdued colors would of been nice, especially in the village scenes. Those were shown as a nightmare of boredom anyone would want out of. I considered it a put-down on Russian culture.
They would transfer from one scene to the next with nothing to connect them such as,
when the girl goes back to the village to see her father & you know she is going to return to the beast they don't even show her putting on the ring to get back. There's no sense of her changing places either, one second she's in the village the next she's walking in the forest. No departure, no arrival. Maybe bad editing is all but there are a few scenes like that.
The characters are described as having personalities in the book that aren't necessarily portrayed in the movie either. The youngest is supposed to be a dear sweet girl in the book, in the movie, she is only her father's favorite. There is little to distinguish her from her sisters except that the sisters are functioning in a drab reality. It's a very Russian show in the idealization of love & the mystical way it comes to those that desire it with all their heart.
The DVD copy is great as far as an improvement in image quality & I'm glad to have it but I wish the characters of the people had been further apart & the lighting & the contrast on the sets less monotonously divergent.
This will sound strange now but I give it 3.5 of 5 Amazon stars despite all its faults. The quality shots are of the highest order that is why. It is not the equal of Three Wishes for Cinderella as far as a quality movie but I can see where it may have been a stepping stone to get there. You really should see it just for the beast, the witch & the castle. BTW- the way the castles servants were portrayed was neat & not the ones you see in human form.