Thursday, January 28, 2010

#135 La Belle Et La Bete [Beauty and the Beast] 1946

*** + .5

Director: Jean Cocteau
Cast: Jean Marias, Josette Day, Mila Parely, Nane Germon, Michael Auclair, Raoul Marco, Marcel Andre

The classic tale of Beauty and the Beast is one that most of us feel familiar with thanks to good ole Walt Disney. Sadly, I admit this is my only knowledge of the story, as I have never read the tale. I was expecting this film to be different from the story I knew and rather cheesy thanks to its subject matter and time of creation; however, I was truly pleasantly surprised. The story is somewhat richer–a mythical beast remains locked in his castle with smoking hands of guilt and awaits love, the only thing capable of turning a beast into man. Belle finds her way to him through the plights of her father, Avenant (the man that loves her), and her selfish sisters, and they unto themselves eventually meet fates suited to their true selves.

The film is short, poetic, and well-acted, and I gave it 3.5 stars for being such a delightful surprise. I truly loved the scene when Belle returns to the castle, yelling for her suffering beast-- "Mi bete! Mi bete!" Oh heartbreak. This film is definitely not for everybody, but I certainly did enjoy it.

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