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La Belle et la bete [DVD]

Jean Marais , Josette Day , Jean Cocteau    Parental Guidance   DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
Price: £8.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

La Belle et la bete [DVD] + Orphée [DVD] [1950] + Jean Cocteau Boxset [DVD]
Price For All Three: £28.92

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Product details

  • Actors: Jean Marais, Josette Day, Marcel Andre, Mila Parely, Nane Germon
  • Directors: Jean Cocteau
  • Producers: Andre Paulve
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Bfi
  • DVD Release Date: 25 Aug 2008
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001BOA2MK
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 9,347 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

Jean Cocteau's classic fantasy re-casts the well-known fairy tale. When Beauty's father picks a rose at a deserted castle, a beast in Prince's clothing appears and tells him he must die. He sends the man home to say good-bye to his family, whereupon Beauty offers to take her father's place. She goes off to the castle but instead of killing her, the beast falls in love with her.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beauty and the Beast by Jean Cocteau 9 Nov 2008
By MarkusG
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Jean Cocteau made "La Belle et la bête" in 1946, after the occupation of France when the french film industry was at a low. What is interesting is that the film is mythic, based on an old fairy tale, and that this enraged some intellectuals at the time. Like Jean-Paul Sartre who accused Cocteau for being non-political! Cocteau was instead interested in the imaginary, mythic reality and the plight of the artist, which was seen as controversial and/or maybe avante garde by some. This and other interesting bits of information is being told in the excellent commentary track (by cultural historian Christopher Frayling) of this DVD from Bfi. Interesting is also how the Disney version is based mostly on Cocteau's ideas, from how the beast looks to the enchanted castle with animated doors, candelabras, statues etc.
The film itself is a classic, and a powerful piece of imaginary vision, despite the low budget non-cgi special effects. Maybe this gives it a certain quality. The transfer of the DVD is good, especially for a film over 60 years old, there are no scratches and details are good especially on close ups, but some parts may look a little soft.
Given the good transfer, excellent commentary track and this film being important in the history of cinema, I can safely recommend it.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars still beautiful after all these years 23 April 2009
Cocteau's realisation of the tale of Beauty and the Beast is captivating. Its imaginitive special effects stand the test of time and are beautifully integrated into the director's overall vision.
Humorous, surprising and moving, it does not shirk from exploring the darker themes of domination and submission and the enormous power of sexual desire but does so with a magical lightness of touch.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Magical 10 Dec 2008
By Sally Wilton VINE VOICE
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This has always been my favourite fairy tale and this old black and white film is true to the original story. Limited though it must have been whilst making the film it uses many simple props to great effect. Entirely in French with subtitles this is a film for anyones library in particular if you love art and want to thrill - and keep youngsters quiet for one or two hours. Ours made masks after the film and were totally enthralled by the spooky beast and the real arms holding candelabras. There is also an interesting book enclosed with the DVD and it is possible to download Philip Glass's music at quite low cost to play during the film. Perhaps it would make a great evening event with a few close friends who are into 'Tales from Europe' style film.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'once upon a time.......... 20 Jan 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This 2008 disc offers the fully restored film and not the BFI version previously available in the purple box that also claimed it was a restoration. Now the various areas of picture damage have been repaired resulting in beautiful detail and quality . In my view, giving 1 star to this DVD is simply unfair, whatever the merits of the Criterion disc referred to in another review.

It's a wonderful film that never ceases to thrill me no matter how many times I see it. The stunning cinematography by Henri Alekan replicates the lighting of the Dutch masters and the whole film is the epitome of cinematic art wherein the magic is created 'in camera', through lighting, special 'trick' sets and editing alone. With the opening caption Cocteau asks the viewer to be as artless as a child and surrender to the magical phrase, 'once upon a time.......... The title sequence and anachronistic first shot, of a clapper-board marking the scene, refers directly to the filmmaking process and reminds us that the film itself is an elaborate illusion. It is a further prompting from Cocteau that to participate in the deception it will require nothing but our total suspension of disbelieve.

Returning to the quality issue: Gary Tooze at DVDBeaver offers a very reliable comparison of the Criterion and BFI transfers and his assessment is that they are very similar - the BFI transfer being judged a shade softer. This suggests that it's certainly not the case that the Criterion picture quality is 'superior in every way', a phrase used elsewhere. If you desire the ample extras of the US import, which I'm sure are very good, then the more expensive Criterion edition may be for you. But be prepared for a visit to the sorting office to pay the import duties and a Royal Mail surcharge.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical in every way 18 Jun 2011
By tallmanbaby TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This film is one of the all time classics of cinema. While Hollywood offered us the high budget Wizard of Oz, European cinema offers us a far lower budget film of huge beauty and imagination.

Just after the war, Cocteau, a multidisciplinary artist with the talent to match his ambitions, produced this film. The special effects are limited, but imagination and a painter's eye render frames like surrealist masterpieces. Throughout there is a disconcerting air, the Beast's lair is staffed by body-less arms, coming out of walls, tables, he literally smoulders with distress, and wistfully eyes up potential prey.

Even the scenes outwith the castle are memorable and distinctive.

But the film is really about the two leads, and how they fall in love. The beast is well beyond flawed and quirky, he is not even human, but as he says, he has a gentle heart, and the viewer comes to love him for it.

In common with just about everyone else that has seen the film, I would confess that the last five minutes are a big disappointment, after coming to accept the Beast as the magnificent creature he is, seeing him transformed into a foppish version of Liberace leaves us crestfallen.

This version comes with a decent sized explanatory leaflet, the subtitles worked straight out of the box and image and sound quality were fine. I watched the film with my whole family, including teenage daughters, and it caught and retained the interest of everyone. It is one of those films that having seen, you just want everyone else to enjoy it too. Highly recommended.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent movie. Probably the best film version of this touching story.
Published 20 hours ago by higgyr
5.0 out of 5 stars I purchased this DVD as a present.
This Dvd is an absolute delight. I bought it as a present for a friend but they hadn't got the blue ray machine to play it on. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Slottedspoon
5.0 out of 5 stars a gift.
Purchased as a gift i believe it is great value for money and is likely to provide the entertainment expected. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Janice Neale
5.0 out of 5 stars great service
great film too, is it too late to wish a happy 2013? I think not :)
all the best, cheers
Published 18 months ago by christine pereira
5.0 out of 5 stars The Most Beautiful 'Horror' Movie?
Within minutes of seeing this film on Sky Arts years ago, I was utterly entranced and now, thanks to this reasonable costing BFI release, I own it and watched it again. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Tim Kidner
2.0 out of 5 stars Well...it's French
This film is classed a masterpiece and I can understand why if we limit ourselves to the shots and arty-farty sequences that are interspersed throughout the film. Read more
Published on 25 Mar 2012 by Alex da Silva
5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Film and Beautifully presented!
The way the BFI have produced and presented this DVD is fantastic with a booklet on the history and behind the scenes of the making of the film and the story. Read more
Published on 24 Sep 2011 by ClassicFilmFan2011
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic
Made in 1946, this black and white film starts with beautifully costumed and light-hearted action. The setting is 17th century France... Read more
Published on 25 Dec 2010 by Oska
5.0 out of 5 stars Fairy tale for grown ups
I had seen this film when I was a teenager 20 years ago and I was delighted to be able to view this DVD version of this wonderful film. Read more
Published on 11 Oct 2010 by V. Viale
1.0 out of 5 stars In my view...
If you can play Region One then do not buy this BFI edition of this beautiful film. Buy the Criterion Collection disc; it is far superior in every way
Published on 29 Jan 2010 by Bill H
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