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Beauty and The Beast (The Criterion Collection) (1947)

Marcel André , Michel Auclair , Jean Cocteau  |  NR |  DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (230 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Marcel André, Michel Auclair, Noël Blin, Josette Day, Janice Felty
  • Directors: Jean Cocteau
  • Format: Black & White, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: French (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: June 3, 1998
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (230 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0780020715
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #295,809 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Beauty and The Beast (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • A documentary on the movie and the fable
  • The original fable translated into English

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Beauty and the Beast is one of the all-time great movie fantasies, and one of the most gorgeous pictures ever made. It was the first feature film by French director Jean Cocteau, a writer, poet, and painter with ties to the surrealists. (In fact, his first film, The Blood of a Poet, was delayed after the scandal caused by L'Age D'Or, made by his fellow surrealists Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dali.) The haunting, surreal visuals (candelabra made of human hands, for example) and a sensitive performance by Jean Marais as the Beast imbue the film with an indelible, mythical power. --Jim Emerson

Product Description

This masterpiece by the poet of cinema, Jean Cocteau, has enchanted audiences for more than fifty years with its surreal beauty and magical visual effects. Josette Day and Jean Marais shine in the definitive filmed version of the classic romantic tale, which has come to supplant the original fable in the modern imagination. The source of the later television series, animated feature, and Broadway musical, it remains one of our greatest treasures.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
204 of 210 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 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 4 days ago by Dail G
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good.
Published 13 days 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 21 days 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 25 days 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 1 month 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 1 month ago by Jennifer L. McKenzie
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Dialog is excellent for French students--slow and comprehensible.
Published 1 month ago by Shelley Crannell
5.0 out of 5 stars such an originalll
such an originalll
Published 1 month ago by Charles Greco
5.0 out of 5 stars The best beauty and the best!
Great movie
Published 1 month ago by KM
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Beautiful
Published 1 month ago by a reader from Bethesda
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