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.