6. Beauty and the Beast

A fairy tale can receive no better film treatment than Jean Cocteau’s 1946 adaptation of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. The well-known story is made rich with dream-like effects, gorgeous sets and costumes, and superb acting. Some of the imagery—Belle emerging through a wall; disembodied arms holding chandeliers which burst into flame—is the stuff that stays with you forever. And Josette Day’s stately portrayal of Belle is a perfect complement to Jean Marais, who plays both the Beast and Belle’s suitor, with all the subtleties between monster and man. This is a fantasy through and through, which means it’s more interested in archetypes and mood than character development or convincing illusions. That’s why I enjoyed the film much more when I stopped trying to analyze it, and instead let it seep into the subconscious like a good fairy tale should.

Advertisements

2 comments

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s