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Beauty and the Beast (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] (1946)

Jean Marais , Josette Day , Jean Cocteau  |  Unrated |  Blu-ray
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (232 customer reviews)

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Beauty and the Beast (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] + Orpheus (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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Product Details

  • Actors: Jean Marais, Josette Day
  • Directors: Jean Cocteau
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Blu-ray, Black & White, DTS Surround Sound, Full Screen, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: French
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: July 19, 2011
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (232 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004WPYO8I
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,230 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

High-definition digital transfer from restored film elements

Philip Glass's opera La Belle et la Bete, presented in 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio

Two commentaries: film historian Arthur Knight and and Sir Christopher Frayling

"Screening at the Majestic," a 1995 documentary featuring interviews with cast

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

The restoration trailer from 1995

PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Geoffrey O'Brien and more!


Editorial Reviews

The sublime adaptation by Jean Cocteau (Orpheus) 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 (Orpheus) and Josette Day (Les parents terribles). The spectacular visions of enchantment, desire, and death in Beauty and the Beast (La Belle et la Bete) have become timeless icons of cinematic wonder.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
206 of 212 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Luminous, magical, deeply moving film; superb DVD March 12, 2003
Format:DVD
Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast (1946) is not only one of the greatest films I have seen - a perfect blend of poetic fantasy and psychological depth - it's also one of my all-time favorites. The restored version from the Criterion Collection is among the best DVDs I have seen, both for the breathtaking clarity of the image and sound, and for a wealth of supplemental materials, including several fascinating documentaries, essays in a lavish printed booklet, and Philip Glass's complete opera synched to the film on a separate audio track.
With each re-viewing of Beauty and the Beast, I see new layers of Cocteau's vision. As a child, I was enthralled by how real, and actually lived in, this fairy tale world seemed. And I was spellbound by the Beast, brought fully, both horribly and tenderly, to life by Jean Marais' riveting performance. I will never forget the Beast's death scene, when Marais expresses worlds of pain, love, and self-understanding solely through the eyes peering out of a feral, hair-covered face.
The film does not need today's digital special effects; it still works perfectly with its own low-tech but deeply resonant wonders. And it is a triumph of design. Cocteau worked closely with production "illustrator" Christian Bérard and cinematographer Henri Alekan to give the picture what he called "the soft gleam of hand-polished old silver." It is filled with simple but gorgeous - and unforgettable - tableaux, from a corridor of disembodied human arms grasping candelabra that burst into flame as you pass by, to Beauty gliding in slow motion through the enchanted castle. Then there is the indefinable magic of the scene at the manor with huge white sheets drying in the sun, creating silhouettes of striking power.
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54 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ONCE UPON A TIME THERE WAS A GREAT FILM... May 18, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
In this, his first feature film, director Jean Cocteau set a standard for filmmaking that not even he could surpass. A masterpiece of inventive, surreal imagery, this film captivates the viewer as few other films have. Haunting, lyrical, and enchanting, this film retells the story of an age old fairy tale classic, "Beauty and the Beast" by Jeanne Marie LePrince De Beaumont. The film is sheer poetry in motion.
This marvelous, exquisitely rendered adaptation centers around the core of the fairy tale. An impoverished merchant (Marcel Andre) comes across a most unusual chateau, deeply hidden in the forest, where he is provided with hospitality by an unseen host. Upon leaving, he happens to break off a rose from a rosebush in the garden of his reclusive host, in order to take it back to Beauty (Josette Day), the most beloved of his three daughters. This simple act calls forth his previously unseen host, The Beast (Jean Marais), who tells him that the theft of that which The Beast loves most will cost the merchant his life or the company of the one whom the merchant loves most, one of his daughters. Allowed to return home temporarily, the merchant tearfully recounts what happened to him, and Beauty surreptitiously goes in his place to the enchanted chateau upon a magical horse that seems to sparkle with fairy dust. It is there that she, too, meets The Beast. Alas, the path of true love does not run smoothly, and Beauty and The Beast, together, make that discovery.
Be prepared for a visual feast of dreamy black and white cinematography, as well as one of the most unusual sets ever to grace the silver screen. Living statuary, human candelabras, and tears that turn to diamonds are just some of the exquisite, surreal immagery that take the viewer's breath away.
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43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A treasure trove of Beauty March 29, 2005
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I vascillated for a long time on picking up this disc. Its pricey and I asked myself, how often I would want to revisit this film, practically memorized by now, having viewed it countless times over the years.

Yet something drew me to this edition, and the verdict is definitely a positive one. The restored version is lovely-all the incredible contrasts of soft greys, silver and stark blacks have been gloriously brought back to life. This what they mean by "in glorious black and white!" There is a clarity and richness here that gives the viewer an opportunity to notice subtlties that were obscured by the scratchy old print that was used on the VHS version. Gone are the distracting audio pops and clicks and most of the visual scratches, allowing the viewer to more readily fall into the dreamy trance of this timeless film.

Cocteau was a poet and a visionary,and despite the technical limitations of film in the 1940's, he brought real magic to the screen, something that today's digital wizardry doesn't always deliver. This is a richly textured retelling of this famous fable, full of detail and nuance. It is decidely more Grimms than Disney, so I don't recommend showing it to small children. Charged with an undercurrent of eroticism and psychological symbols,it is really a fairy tale for adults.

The disc is packed with extras. I haven't yet checked them all out, but the "Screening at the Majestic' is a nice documentary. I particularly enjoyed seeing Jean Marais, still very much alive and kicking, reminiscing at the very house that was used as the set for Beauty's family home.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Beautiful and poignant!!
Published 22 days ago by Wendy J Waugh
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
beautiful
Published 29 days ago by chris stewart
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved the movie just as much as I remembered
I used to own a VHS copy and just now got around to ordering DVD. I loved the movie just as much as I remembered. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Dail G
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good.
Published 1 month ago by Gary Woolsey
4.0 out of 5 stars Beauty! Beauty!
I watched it as an adolescent during the fantastic Public Broadcasting System's “Film Odyssey,” which from my current research ran January through July of 1972. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Rich Riegel
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
An absolute classic, for film students and anyone who appreciates a thing of, 'beauty.'
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars A true classic
Beautifully shot/scored fantasy film. With the opera audio you get two movies for the price of one and Criterion always satisfies with their quality, and the extras. Read more
Published 2 months ago by anonymous rogue
5.0 out of 5 stars This Is The Way The Story Should Be Told
I watched this movie in French class back in high school almost 20 years ago and was mesmerized and horrified by this French film. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Jennifer L. McKenzie
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Dialog is excellent for French students--slow and comprehensible.
Published 2 months ago by Shelley Crannell
5.0 out of 5 stars such an originalll
such an originalll
Published 2 months ago by Charles Greco
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