Friday, April 26, 2013

Beauty and the Beast (1946)

Beauty and the Beast is a 1946 Jean Cocteau film retelling of the fairy tale. It is a beautiful film. The 1740 de Villeneuve story can be read online as abridged and adapted by Andrew Lang for the The Blue Fairy book. You can read the de Beaumont 1756 version online here.

I've always loved fairy tales and much prefer reading them to watching filmed adaptations, but I do have some fairy tale movies I've enjoyed. I'd include this one and the entire Shelley Duvall Fairy Tale Theater series. I own this one but none of the Duvall series. Hmmm... must check availability... Not bad at under $40. But, back to the Cocteau version...

film trailer:

Moria gives it 5/5 stars and says, " Cocteau evokes a pure cinematic magic." Slant Magazine says, "Beauty and the Beast is the best of his [Cocteau's] five feature films and the greatest fable of his entire oeuvre" and describes it as "A near-perfect cinematic integration of beguiling fantasy, hard-won technical achievement, and sophisticated self-reflection". Roger Ebert has it on his list of Great Movies and says,
Its devices penetrate the usual conventions of narrative, and appeal at a deeper psychic level. Cocteau wanted to make a poem, wanted to appeal through images rather than words, and although the story takes the form of the familiar fable, its surface seems to be masking deeper and more disturbing currents. It is not a "children's film."
DVD Talk calls it "a bonafide classic" and says, "Few films can transport the audience to another land in the same way it does." Rotten Tomatoes has a critics score of 94%.

Because it a retelling of a fairy tale, I'm including it in the Once Upon a Time Challenge Quest on Screen.


  1. I remember this movie being on television when I was very young! I never forgot it!

  2. I've seen this one twice...and I'm afraid I find it just a bit too surreal for my taste. Definitely some interesting and very striking images though!

  3. DesLily, i had never seen it before. i wonder how my kids would've liked it if i'd known about it when they were young.

    Cheryl, "surreal" is the perfect word for it! some of the images will be with me a long time.