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Beauty and the Beast (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

4.8 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Josette Day, Jean Marais, Jean Cocteau
  • Format: AC-3, Black & White, DTS Surround Sound, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Criterion
  • Release Date: July 19 2011
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B004WPYO8I
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #19,980 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

Product Description

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.

• 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.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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. This should be stated much more clearly.
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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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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: Blu-ray
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. When Belle goes to his castle in her father’s place, the Beast falls in love with her.

Without a doubt, La Belle et la Bete is one of the most enchanting fairy tales ever put to celluloid. You will be transported to a world of beauty and darkness that’s filled with a dreamlike quality that few films can rival. The movie’s special effects, groundbreaking makeup, soundtrack, cinematography, and the passionate performances by lead actors Jean Marais and Josette Day are all exceptional. It is without a doubt one of my favorite films of all time.

As usual, Criterion does not disappoint with it’s stunning video & audio presentation of this timeless classic that also includes an extensive package of special features. Included are a beautiful illustrated booklet (32 pages), two audio commentaries (one by film historian Arthur Knight and one by writer Sir Christopher Frayling), an alternate soundtrack of Philip Glass’ opera, a photo gallery, four featurettes (totaling about 50 min) and the film’s original French trailer. Very impressive!

Jean Cocteau’s La Belle et la Bete has never looked better than it does on this breathtaking Blu-ray release from Criterion. With a wonderful collection of special features and a film that is pure cinema magic, do yourself a favor and pick up this masterpiece. It belongs in every movie fan’s collection and easily earns my highest recommendation!
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