- Actors: Jean Cocteau
- Format: Original recording reissued
- Language: French
- Classification: PG
- Studio: Connoisseur Video
- VHS Release Date: 19 Nov. 2001
- Run Time: 89 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
- ASIN: B00004CKOI
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 278,381 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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.
La Belle et La Bete is one of the all-time great movie fantasies, and one of the most gorgeous pictures ever made. It was the first feature film by French director Jean Cocteau, a writer, poet and painter with ties to the surrealists. (In fact, his first film, The Blood of a Poet, was delayed after the scandal caused by L'Age D'Or, made by his fellow surrealists Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dali.) The haunting, surreal visuals (candelabra made of human hands, for example) and a sensitive performance by Jean Marais as the Beast imbue the film with an indelible, mythical power. --Jim Emerson, Amazon.com
Top Customer Reviews
La Belle et La Bete is adapted from the abridged version of the fairy tale by Madame Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont. The story is interpreted as a young woman's coming of age tale with sexual desire being regarded as beastly. Therefore any man feeling this desire would be beastly and only when she learns to regard sexual desire as natural does she find happiness and the beast is transformed into prince charming. The film has a stronger masculine quality with emphasis shifting away from Belle towards the beast's character. The film has also been interpreted in terms of the creative process of artist and muse, suffering for your art. Cocteau also includes many references to mythology (Pavilion Of Diana) pointing to the origins of the tale. The film also includes elements of the Cinderella fairy tale with the inclusion of the ugly sisters.
Jean Cocteau asks us, as an adult audience, at the start to suspend belief and see as a child, which was directed at critics whom he regarded as being too arty or intellectual, one notable being Jean-Paul Satre who had criticised Cocteau for his lack of political commitment. Cocteau replied that his only commitment was to himself and his art. (The suffering artist)
Josette Day and Jean Marais star as Beauty and the Beast respectively.Read more ›
Tbe BFI version contains the following: I give this a 3 star rating, Top marks for the film, but a very low score for the disappointing presentation of the film itself.
Film Notes And Biographies
Short Film Screening At The Majestic
Commentary By Christopher Frayling
Aspect Ratio: 1.33 Full Screen
Main Language: French
It also promises us a version of the film "taken from a new & restored print" A shame that this is seemingly not the case. I previously owned the above dvd and as another reviewer pointed out, the print is peppered with scratches, white flecks, holes and is so bad as to be distracting. A shame as the movie itself is wonderful.
But search for the R1 Criterion Restored Edition (search for Beauty and the Beast on this very site, rather than "La belle et la Bete")
The disc contains:
* Available Subtitles: English
* Available Audio Tracks: French (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.Read more ›
For a restored print the quality isn't that great but stick with it for a series of fantastic images and a magical tale. The image of human candalabras will stay with you for ever.
Also worth watching is the short film that visits the films locations 50 years on. I assumed it was all filmed in a studio so it just added to the magic to see that the house and castle grounds exist. And Jean Marais stil looks as handsome as ever!
This marvelous film, written and directed by Jean Cocteau, may seem to be a moody retelling of a fairy tale, but it moves much more deeply into the consequences of love, passion and trust. Please note that elements of the plot are discussed. Belle (Josette Day) and her two sisters and brother live with their father, a failing businessman who is about to be ruined. The two sisters are self-centered shrews and the brother is a wastrel. He has a friend, a tall, handsome and vapid fellow who keeps asking Belle to marry him. The father learns his last hope for a business rescue has failed. Returning home from the city, he finds himself in a mist-filled, shadowy forest. He pushes on and then it seems as if the trees are opening a path for him to a huge stone mansion. It appears empty, yet doors open for him. In the hallway he sees candelabra held by living arms. At a table set with food, hands pour wine for him. He drinks and sleeps. When he prepares to leave, still seeing no one, he finds roses growing along a path. He had promised his daughter, Belle, a rose and so he takes one...and immediately is faced with Beast (Jean Marais), covered with fur, menacing and ugly, with sharp teeth and dressed like a prince. Beast says that for taking his rose, the father must either die or send one of his three daughters to live with him. When he returns home, the father finds that his elder two daughters all have reasons not to volunteer. Only Belle says she will gladly go to save her father's life.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Shot over nine months starting from the end of World War II, in August 1945, Cocteau reinterpreted "Beauty and the Beast"'s tale of Madame Leprince de Beaumont in one of... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Omnes
There are many releases of this film. This review is of the following item: -
"Criterion Collection: Beauty & The Beast [Blu-ray]  [US Import]"
Note: this... Read more
Finding this video was so exciting, but that it was delivered on time and in tact, even better! Thank you - this gift is going to make my daughter's Christmas extra special!Published on 13 Dec. 2013 by Jenifer Westphal
This movie is a collector's item. IT is a good movie to view, even for a younger audiance. Good story.Published on 27 Nov. 2013 by Luc Schevernels
Jean Cocteau's revival in France made me want to see this, having missed it for decades - it is delicate, arty, self-indulgent and actually lovely - like being kissed by a... Read morePublished on 25 April 2013 by Mrs H A Stansby
The first third of La Belle et La Bete may seem a little too long and a little too slow, but the film still has the power to cast its spell over an audience. Read morePublished on 30 Nov. 2012 by Trevor Willsmer
This must be the greatest fantasy film of all time - it's a pity most people think you're talking about the Disney film when you mention it - I haven't seen that version, but I... Read morePublished on 19 July 2012 by schumann_bg
Long before Disney ever got their grubby paws on it, Jean Cocteau made the ultimate adaptation of the classic French fairy tale "The Beauty and the Beast." And it was... Read morePublished on 25 Aug. 2011 by EA Solinas