- 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: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
- ASIN: B001BOA2MK
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 36,863 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
La Belle et la bete [DVD] 
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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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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Two of them ... A French critic said something wonderfully defying translation: 'La belle est bête; la bête est belle'. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Baskerville
One of the definitive cult films I remember watching in my childhood, I was then amazed by the enchanted atmosphere created throughout the film, with very little special effects. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Corinne
Superb item as described. Prompt dispatch, safe and sound. Top marks.Published 17 months ago by P. F. Tracgransglaws
This great and magical film gets an even better upgrade with this excellent 2013 restoration. In addition there are several very informative extra feature items, including a filmed... Read morePublished 18 months ago by an acquaintance
Classic French movie with sub-titles.Black and White.
Good service from supplier