2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: La Belle et la bete [DVD] (DVD)
Made in 1946, this black and white film starts with beautifully costumed and light-hearted action. The setting is 17th century France...all very realistic, down to the dishevelled stable-boy with straw in his hair. As the story progresses the setting gradually becomes darker, edgier and increasingly surreal. The special effects are wonderful - a long corridor lined with arms holding candelabra, a fireplace surround in which there are moving faces - all done with live actors. The beast's costume makes him into a powerfully masculine figure who nevertheless repels Beauty, particularly when his 'beastly' nature is fully revealed. Lots of allegory going on here!
Disney owes a lot to this film for his portrayal of the Beast.
The only scene I didn't enjoy was the very ending, when the Beast is transformed - I found it a bit silly and overly sugary.
It is a film of its time, so the acting style is rather mannered.
The notes are worth reading as they explain the origin of the story, which in itself is interesting.
Be Warned: When the film had finished, on the menu I saw "Commentary". Out of curiosity I clicked on it, and found myself watching the film all over again, fascinated by the voice-over giving information about the background and making of La Belle et La Bete.