Tuesday, October 10, 2017
La Belle et la Bête (1946)
Who's In It: Josette Day (pretty much this unless you're way more familiar with French cinema than I am) and Jean Marais (Fantomas, Stealing Beauty)
What It's About: Adapts the classic fairy tale in which a beautiful woman (Day) is held prisoner in the castle of a terrifying beast-man (Marais).
How It Is: I love that Jean Cocteau opens his adaptation with text that reveals his sincere love for the story and refuses to apologize for it. He basically says, "Get on board or don't watch." And then he presents a straightforward version of the story that's imaginatively designed (all those arms and living statuary!) and gorgeously shot. Calling it magical is not hyperbole.
Currently, Cocteau's is my favorite adaptation of the story, at least until I can revisit the George C Scott TV movie that I remember so fondly from childhood. I don't actually expect Scott's to dethrone this one, but I feel a deep need to compare.
Rating: 4 out of 5 noble man-monsters