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Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Space Oddities : La Belle et La Beta (1946)


La Belle et La Bete (Jean Cocteau ,1946) differs greatly from the Disney classic that most remember from 1991 , being more historically accurate than it`s remake and having a more believable sense that the film was set in France ; with the language being spoken throughout being French.Despite the theatrical performances the film was enjoyable to watch and gave the plot a comic relief type of feeling .Although supposed to be a romance , when watching the humor was clear to the audience as even the tear jerking scenes were disguised by the Beasts ridiculous appearance.

In comparison to the Disney remake , the original was harder to follow along and felt more of an adult orientated film where the audience needed intense concentration to follow up with the insane camera transitions and plot which seemed to jump from one point to the next which left the audience not knowing what was happening. Also, when recognizing the plot holes that had been take out by the 1991 version , the plot had been simplified greatly which made the plot much easier to follow than it`s predecessor .This may be done because of how similar the plot line of the sisters and brothers being abusive is incredibly similar to Cinderella which came out 4 years after the original. (The abusive sibling plot may be a common theme in this era : where the siblings could be seen as an empowering tool to the central female character . Focusing around the start of woman rights , where they are seen as more than sexual objects.

Despite the strangeness of the plot , Cocteau uses bizarre design of the plot to take this film away from the cartoon charm from the 1991 version and creates a haunting depth of detail from within the castle . Where the castle is almost dream like and the audience is left not knowing if the location is reality or not. "Cocteau uses haunting images and bold Freudian
symbols to suggest that emotions are at a boil in the subconscious of his characters. " Roger Ebert , Great Movie : Beauty and the Beast (1999)
. The emotional values within the characters are more obvious in the 1946 version rather than the 1991 . The Beast is shown with hardly any anger at all , more despair whenever Beauty refuses to marry him. His emotions match the hilarious design of his character where the Beast is shown to look more of a timid cat than a beast that could kill. The majority of emotion in this film seems to be on the scale of despair ,sadness and fear where the main characters take these basic emotions and exaggerate them to make the Beast seem more terrifying ,a disguise that works rather poorly when seen in close up .

There is a theory when looking at interviews including Cocteau , where "Instead of seeing himself as a director ,he sees himself as a poet." Roger Ebert , Great Movie : Beauty and the Beast (1999). This makes sense with his metaphoric sense of imagery , including examples of the beauty with stereotypical snow white skin , bleach blonde hair and rosy lips (Which was classed as beautiful in 1750`s France -which was inspired by Marie Antoinette.) Also the cat like appearance of the beast which appears to have a shaven mane .Almost as if the appearance of a ferocious lion is being covered up by his gentle soul. 

"The dialogue, in French, is spare and simple, with the story largely told in pantomime." Bosley Crowther , La Belle et La Beta (1947). Is a fitting quote for this film as the style for this isn`t particularly a film , it is more seen as a production on stage with the eccentric outfits and exaggerated emotional performances. Despite the story line taking more than one route , the adult orientated plot would have suited children by far , which is why the Disney tale is much more well known and famous among current audiences.

Bibliography : 

Ebert ,R (1999) Great Movie : Beauty and the Beast :

Crowther, B (1947) La Belle et La Beta (1946) :


  1. Much better use of the quotes, Sarah :) For the reference afterwards, you only need the author's surname and the year, so for example (Crowther, 1947)

    Be careful of writing too subjectively - that is, putting too much of your own opinion into the writing. For example, when you say '...the tear jerking scenes were disguised by the Beasts ridiculous appearance,' saying the beast is ridiculous-looking is very personally your idea. Likewise, when you say '...His emotions match the hilarious design of his character' - the fact that he looked 'hilarious' is your opinion; at the time of the film, he may well have terrified audiences. So, instead, you could say something like,
    'Today's audience may find the appearance of the Beast less frightening and more comical, due to the advances in costume design and make-up', or something along those lines.

    Finally, don't forget to label your images, and reference them in an illustrations list :)

    1. Thank you Jackie :) Alright then ill keep that in mind for this weeks review :D . Also thank you , I had a feeling I was going a bit opinionated in this review ,but, thank you for helping me with other ways of wording it , it helps a lot :D