6 Beauty and the Beast

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milk114
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6 Beauty and the Beast

#1 Post by milk114 » Tue Dec 21, 2004 3:28 am

Beauty and the Beast

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The sublime adaptation by Jean Cocteau of Mme. Leprince de Beaumont’s fairy-tale masterpiece—in which the true love of a beautiful girl melts the heart of a feral but gentle beast—is a landmark feat of motion picture fantasy, with unforgettably romantic performances by Jean Marais and Josette Day. The spectacular visions of enchantment, desire, and death in Beauty and the Beast (La Belle et la Bête) have become timeless icons of cinematic wonder.

Disc Features

- High-definition digital transfer from restored film elements, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
-Composer Philip Glass’s opera La Belle et la Bête, presented as an alternate soundtrack (in 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray edition)
- Two commentaries: one by film historian Arthur Knight and one by writer and cultural historian Sir Christopher Frayling
- Screening at the Majestic, a 1995 documentary featuring interviews with cast and crew
- Interview with cinematographer Henri Alekan
- Rare behind-the-scenes photos and publicity stills
- Film restoration demonstration
- Original trailer, directed and narrated by director Jean Cocteau, plus restoration trailer from 1995
- PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Geoffrey O’Brien (Blu-ray edition only), a piece on the film by Cocteau, excerpts from Francis Steegmuller’s 1970 book Cocteau: A Biography, a reprint of Mme. Leprince de Beaumont’s original fable (DVD edition only), and an introduction to Glass’s opera by the composer

Original DVD:
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New DVD:
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david hare
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#2 Post by david hare » Tue Dec 21, 2004 3:53 am

milk114 wrote:Any idea how Philip Glass gets involved in scoring old films? His score adds a whole new level to this film that I'm not sure is needed but is much appreciated. There's Cocteau and Dracula... where else has/should Glass be rescoring?
I agree with you about Belle - I particularly like the petite bourgeoise squabblings of the sisters (including Mirela Parely from la Regle du Jeu) who add immensely to my enjoyment of this masterpiece (and the way it wanders between the mundane and the magical.) I first saw this movie when I was 16 and I have never stopped lovng it The Philip Glass score is quite nice but really represents some of level of "sophisticated" accretion that is completely unwanted by me.

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Lino
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#3 Post by Lino » Tue Dec 21, 2004 5:10 am

Glass has also scored another of Cocteau's masterpieces: Les Parents Terribles. And I really, really hope that Criterion includes it as a supplement if they ever get around to release it.

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milk114
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#4 Post by milk114 » Tue Dec 21, 2004 5:18 am

thanks be that someone in the world's awake! I've never seen parents terribles... is is available even in crappy form anywhere?

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ola t
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#5 Post by ola t » Tue Dec 21, 2004 5:44 am

Philip Glass is obviously a big fan of Cocteau and has also written pieces that adapt the screenplays for Orphée and Les Enfants Terribles (not Parents), but those two are not scores for the actual films. I think one is a ballet and the other is an opera.

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Lino
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#6 Post by Lino » Wed Dec 22, 2004 7:53 am

I went over and checked the Philip Glass intro on the DVD and yes, I was mistaken: Les Enfants Terribles (by Melville) and Orphee are not scores for the movies themselves (as is BatB) but operas instead.

The score for Beauty and the Beast is the only one that can be viewed as an alternate audio track in that it matches the spoken dialogues.

Still, it would be nice to see a future Les Enfants Terribles (maybe coupled with Cocteau's own Les Parents Terribles) Criterion edition that somehow managed to make reference to Glass' opera.

Grimfarrow
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#7 Post by Grimfarrow » Wed Dec 22, 2004 12:20 pm

Philip Glass and LA BELLE ET LA BETE will be shown and performed live in Hong Kong! I've already bought my ticket :) It's just a performance of the score composed by Glass, along with live vocalists and Glass as conductor. Should be great.

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Saarijas
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#8 Post by Saarijas » Thu Dec 28, 2006 6:05 pm

I just watched this the other night, and when criterion says "breathtaking new transfer" they really mean it. Considering the age of the film, I was stunned, much of it could have easily been mistaken for a film made 5 years ago not 50. A great transfer for a great movie.

BB
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Re: 6 Beauty and the Beast

#9 Post by BB » Fri Jul 03, 2009 7:46 pm

Not even 2 pages? I'm assuming there were lengthy discussions about this magnificent film on previous incarnations of this forum.
Moving right along... can anyone clue me into what Walt Disney's relationship was to Cocteau? So many of the images in this film like the moving white statues, the hand and arm candle holders, and err... probably more (sorry, it's been a while since I've seen the film) I remember as a child from the Haunted House ride at disneyland. Were these images in Fantasia or some other Disney film? And if so, who copied whom?

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Tommaso
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Re: 6 Beauty and the Beast

#10 Post by Tommaso » Sat Jul 04, 2009 6:49 am

I don't know about any Disney - Cocteau connection, but the moving statue can already be found in "The blood of a poet" from 1930, and it's such a Cocteau stock image (the idea also comes up a lot in his writings) that it's hard to imagine it is not originally by Cocteau. "La belle et la bete"'s images seem to have often served as an inspiration for other filmmakers, not just Disney. For instance, the waving curtains in the Beast's castle were referenced by Michael Powell in "Black Narcissus", as was the castle's staircase in one of the Monte Carlo scenes in "The Red Shoes". I'm sure there are further examples from films by other filmmakers.

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Feego
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Re: 6 Beauty and the Beast

#11 Post by Feego » Sat Jul 04, 2009 11:49 am

Has anyone here seen the "Beauty and the Beast" episode of Shelley Duvall's Faerie Tale Theatre? It's based directly on Cocteau's film. The episode was directed by Roger Vadim and stars Klaus Kinski as the beast and Susan Sarandon as Beauty. Anjelica Huston plays one of the sisters. While the cinematography, special effects, costumes, and most of the dialogue were taken straight from this film, the episode lacks the magic of Cocteau. Still, it is fascinating to see Kinski step into Jean Marais' shoes as the beast and, later, as the prince.

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HerrSchreck
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Re: 6 Beauty and the Beast

#12 Post by HerrSchreck » Sat Sep 26, 2009 10:48 am

I haven't gone over to Blu yet, but pulling the CC out and watching this masterpiece again for the first time in 2 yrs, thinking of that gorgeous hi-def transfer encoded in 1080p, and that painfully beautiful Georges Auric score in lossless audio just makes the mind reel and shatter.

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david hare
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Re: 6 Beauty and the Beast

#13 Post by david hare » Sat Sep 26, 2009 7:57 pm

Fraternal telepathy again!

We rewatched this a couple of weeks ago, simply because I hadnt seen it for a couple of years.... the Auric score got under my skin so much (always does) so I had to put on Orphee the next night. Auric's music while uneven for this is even greater, at moments. Although I understand there was some pressure on Auric to stick with a certain consistent stylistic range for all the expository scenes he really lets rip in the Underworld episodes with that pounding fast percussion and double bass - I think this is among the most excitingly physical music ever written.

Having now heard stunning lossless mono tracks for 400 BLows, Marienbad. Red Shoes, Salaire de la Peur, etc I can only egg you on to eventual Blu bankruptcy. Marienbad is another fabulous, crazy score by Francis Seyrig - yes, Delphine's bro! - which is like a hurly burly hommage to old organ "masters" like Desormiere, etc. But it's one of the first indications in Resnais of how much he would become a director of "musicals", in sensibility. Marienbad is in a sense a great comic musical. (And if you really care about the authorial rivalry the joke is surely on Robbe-Grillet.)

Speaking of great scores just watched Seven Women and Grifters and Man with Golden Arm again, if only, initially, for Elmer Bernstein. Or at least he was the excellent excuse!

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HerrSchreck
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Re: 6 Beauty and the Beast

#14 Post by HerrSchreck » Sat Sep 26, 2009 11:15 pm

Oh man, I'm a sucker for Elmer's work in Man W Golden Arm. This movie, despite Frankie giving the performance of his life, owes a huge debt to the score. Talking about creating a jive ass urban atmosphere of jizzy jazzy Chicago card sharks and junk pushers! And how much fun is it to see Frankie Machine kicking to pieces in his audition... with SHORTY ROGERS AND HIS GIANTS-- strains of Dementia/Daughter of Horror!

And of course Elmer in Robot Monster and Cat-Women. Capturing the acute psychological disturbance resident in "I must but I cannot... I cannot but I must-- score this film to put food on the table!"

I suspect that 2010 will probably be the year I go Blu. And the titles you already mentioned in your post will be among the first-- along with PLaytime (lordy)-- to spin on the new rig. And Beauty & The Beast-- in fact as much Cocteau as possible-- as well. If available.

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Tommaso
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Re: 6 Beauty and the Beast

#15 Post by Tommaso » Sun Sep 27, 2009 6:51 am

HerrSchreck wrote: in fact as much Cocteau as possible-- as well. If available.
And don't forget that the French have finally restored the Delannoy-directed, but Cocteau-written "L'eternel retour". CC better not let this one go by.

And allow me to mention that by the end of this week (hopefully), an endlessly delayed new German three-disc Cocteau set will finally be available (SD only). Apart from "Orphée", it will contain "L'aigle a deux tetes"(1947) and "Les parents terribles" (1948). "L'aigle" was only available in a very, very scratchy print on a Korean disc so far, and "Parents" seems to be making its debut on disc anywhere in the world. If you don't need subs or can read German, it's probably a dream come true for any Cocteau devotee. I'll report back on this in a proper thread once I got it in my hands.

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david hare
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Re: 6 Beauty and the Beast

#16 Post by david hare » Sun Sep 27, 2009 7:09 am

Nice headsup Tom

Bizarrely, Parents has turned up in a quite decent Russian DVD (plus fansubs) at certain places. It loooks very good, if not at restoration level. But The Delannoy directed Retour is the ants pants for me. I think it's a killer. Never mind the routine Delannoy, the material totally transcends him (I cant believe Cocteau wasn't ferreting behind the scenes.)

Is the Orphee a new restoration? Or the existing one?

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Tommaso
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Re: 6 Beauty and the Beast

#17 Post by Tommaso » Sun Sep 27, 2009 7:17 am

Absolutely no idea about "Orphée", but as the label that is releasing this set (Pierrot Le Fou /alamode films) is certainly one of the best German labels as far as I can see - they released the Bunuel Mexico set and an apparently very good Bresson set -, I don't think it will be anything than first class. I suspect it will be the same resto as on the new BFI disc, and there will also be a new audiocommentary on the "Orphée" disc. As to the two other films, we'll have to wait and see how good the materials are.

And I couldn't agree more about the Delannoy. It's a masterpiece, and apparently Cocteau had far more direct influence on the direction of "Retour" than he had later on Melville's "Enfants".

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HerrSchreck
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Re: 6 Beauty and the Beast

#18 Post by HerrSchreck » Sun Sep 27, 2009 3:03 pm

This is all fabulous news. Of course I've seen that fansubbed print of Parents and as a stopgap its dazzling looking indeed.

Keep us informed Tom-- have you started a thread with any available links on the German Cocteau's? If not, please do!

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Tommaso
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Re: 6 Beauty and the Beast

#19 Post by Tommaso » Mon Sep 28, 2009 7:20 am

I've just set up the thread here.
Though I was sure I had read the info about it first in some dedicated Cocteau thread here, which I simply cannot find anymore. Perhaps another disappeared thread after the new forum software was used? Or I'm simply too stupid to use that search function properly.

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knives
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Re: 6 Beauty and the Beast

#20 Post by knives » Tue Apr 13, 2010 6:42 pm

Is it true that Rene Clement worked uncredited as a director on this? If so how and why?

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Peacock
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Re: 6 Beauty and the Beast

#21 Post by Peacock » Tue Apr 13, 2010 6:52 pm

My memory is hazy, but Cocteau mentions Clement in his book Diary of a Film. I believe Clement was meant to help out on the film but became too busy with one of his own. I think Clement's son or nephew took his place?
I'll dig out the book tomorrow and re-edit this post.

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MitchPerrywinkle
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Re: 6 Beauty and the Beast

#22 Post by MitchPerrywinkle » Thu Sep 16, 2010 1:56 am

Hello there, good people. Longtime admirer of Criterion, first-time poster.

I first saw this incarnation of the tale as old as time just a few weeks ago on Netflix Instant Watch. I was one of many in my generation to grow up with the Disney musical classic, so I viewed this film wondering how Cocteau's version would differ from the great musical. Needless to say, it was not what I was expecting, but I loved the film almost as much as the Disney version. This is a completely different beast (no pun intended); though I guess there's nothing in here that's incredibly inappropriate for children, I would not reccommend showing this film to them. It's one of the great fairy tales composed entirely for grown-ups, it's visual wonder complemented by sinister and unsettling undertones. I think a better comparison to make to get a better idea of the tone Cocteau achieves is with Guillermo del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth. While certainly not as gruesome as that film, Cocteau's dreamy adaptation still aims to invoke a child-like response in his adult viewers, much like del Toro. I felt equal measures of wonder and fear when viewing the Beast's strange, yet eerily beautiful castle. And although Cocteau still brings a happy ending to the proceedings, he never sentimentalizes or saturates the emotions with saccharine cheesiness.

Ultimately, I loved this film. I love the look, I love the tone, and I love how Cocteau and his talented cast and crew try to make a fairy tale that is not intended for children, but rather for the child in all of us. The film directly addresses the audience at the film's opening and dispels any cynicism we may harbor towards this "kiddie movie" we're about to see. It asks us to suspend our belief, to ignore our adult sensibilities for a brief time, and to immerse ourselves in the tale as old as time. What follows can only be described as sinister, wonderous, and pure magic.
Last edited by MitchPerrywinkle on Fri Sep 17, 2010 12:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

HarryLong
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Re: 6 Beauty and the Beast

#23 Post by HarryLong » Thu Sep 16, 2010 1:02 pm

Mitch, some day you should check out older version of fairy tales. Get as close to the original versions as possible. They're mostly based on folk tales that are often quite gruesome and you'll find out that they're pretty striong meat. Once upon a time it wasn't considered necessary to make fairy tales "safe" for children ... becuae they were (among other things) life lessons for growing up in a world that wasn't safe.
While I can admire the aristry of Disney animation I really abhor what the studio has done to sanitize and homogenize fairy tales. Unfortunately most kids growing up since the 1940s know only the Disney versions & think they're accurate.

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tojoed
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Re: 6 Beauty and the Beast

#24 Post by tojoed » Thu Sep 16, 2010 2:58 pm

I saw Cocteau's version as a child, and still have never seen the Disney version. I can think of no other film as perfect as this one to show to a child.
They understand it because Cocteau doesn't cheat. They understand magic.

BWilson
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Re: 6 Beauty and the Beast

#25 Post by BWilson » Thu Sep 16, 2010 6:17 pm

I recently showed the film to my 2 1/2 year old. I don't own the Disney version, but she has these little Disney styled Beauty and the Beast "action figures" that my parents gave her. So I bust out the Cocteau and she confirmed pretty much what I expected. She loved it. It's got everything little girls like. She likes beautiful ladies in beautiful dresses, horses, etc. She loved the bow and arrow business at the begining (she's seen it in a Robin Hood book). It has so much to grab a kid's attention and it moves along quickly and switches location often. She loves the beast's costume. She's fascinated by Belle's father. She doesn't seem to see anything extraordinary about the candels or the statues, I guess she just takes them as matter of fact since she has little other frame of reference (She's seen Totoro, Pinnochio, The Little Mermaid, Monsters Inc., and Gumby cartoons, so just about everything she's ever watched has special effects and is filled with the fantastic). She doesn't speak french, but she only knows 100 words of english so her whole comprehension of the film is what she can understand visually, and I'd never really noticed how visual the film is, you really don't need the dialogue. Cocteau is brilliant.

Anyway, the best part, was at the end, I shit you not, without any prompt from me she did the Dietrich and said, "Where'd the beast go? I want the beast." Classic.

I think it's a good kids movie, it doesn't have any shock scenes and it presents the beast as a matter of fact. Maybe slightly older kids, with a different frame of reference might be scared (like 4-7 year olds).

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