Beauty and the Beast (1946)
November 20, 2022 6:27 AM - Subscribe

A beautiful young woman takes her father's place as the prisoner of a mysterious beast, who wishes to marry her. Trailer.
posted by johnofjack (5 comments total)
La Belle et la BĂȘte. Casually flipping channels a long time ago, sat down to watch and was mesmerized.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 7:21 AM on November 20, 2022

Philip Glass did an alternate soundtrack to this, which I got to see live with the movie projected. Cocteau's films are all about liminal spaces and the overlap of fantasy and reality, but this one is perhaps too overtly magical and allegorical. It doesn't give me the same subtle heartache as his best work.
posted by rikschell at 8:11 AM on November 20, 2022

The effects and design in this are iconic. Great stuff.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:41 AM on November 20, 2022

The best one! There is a page featuring some details here as part of a listing of Time magazine's listing of the 100 top French films. Worth remembering that this was released in 1946 - just after a pretty dark time in French history. I think it shows. The film's wikipedia page has a few more details on just how many strands Cocteau drew on for inspiration and execution of the set design, narrative and makeup.
posted by rongorongo at 9:06 AM on November 20, 2022

Somehow watching this felt most like how I remember it felt to read fairy tales as a kid.

A lot of the Disney films feel like they're front-loading how you're "supposed" to feel about the stuff you see in their films - the dancing plates are cute and friendly ones, one alligator is nice but another one is mean, this apple is dangerous, etc. But a lot of the "surreal" stuff in fairy tales when you read them is just....there, and kids just go with it; magic mirror that lets you spy on other people? Sure. Magic horse that will take you places if you just whisper in its ear? Yep. Magic glove that will teleport you through walls? Sure, why not. And kids often make up their own minds about whether or not that stuff is "good" or "bad", sometimes going somewhere you wouldn't expect (when he first saw the Star Wars movies at age 3, my nephew was rock-solidly convinced that Darth Vader was actually a misunderstood good guy).

And Cocteau feels more like that experience. This surreal stuff is just being thrown at you, and you're expected to just go with it. It's a more gradual unfolding of the story than Disney's, and I like that better.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:02 AM on November 20, 2022 [3 favorites]

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