Beauty and The Beast
The Criterion Collection
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Once upon a time, in a world of magic and wonder, the true love of a beautiful girl may finally dispel the torment of feral but gentle-hearted beast. "Beauty and the Beasts (La Belle et la Bete) is a landmark feat of cinematic fantasy, in which master fi
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True, Disney's version of this "tale as old as time" dominates the story's place in popular culture, but the tale of a wild beast man and his human companion go back at least to Gilgamesh and Enkidu. It's what Cocteau does with this version that enables it to stand up to modern scrutiny and continue to enliven the imagination of viewers. This Criterion/Janus Films restoration presents the film in a manner that is cleaned up to look as it would have when the film print were new, yet it doesn't have that odd level of depth that many Blu-Ray transfers feature and which, with a film this old, make it unwatchable. The usual assortment of documentaries and the informational booklet make this a must-have for any cinephile.
The transformation of the Beast into the prince is magical but also dissapointing. The beast shows more human emotions that any of the human characters in the film which are selfish, greedy and spoiled (with the exception of Belle). With this transformation, we can't help but wonder if just the outside change or the inside too. We are like Belle thrilled to see the Beast as human but also a little bit dissapointed that the magic is gone.
Cocteau created a wonderful masterpiece which themes still resounds today and the story still fills us with joy and magic.
Video & Audio
Criterion has done a great job with this film. Due to its age and inherent limitations there are some signs of softness, damage and transition issues. Still, the picture has never look better with corrected color, sharp contrast and great detail. This is easily the best presentation of the film.
The uncompressed monoaural soundtrack is superb with added clarity and no damage. Even more impressive is the Philio Glass Opera score now remixed in 5.1 DTS-HD MA which sound absolutely terrific.
You have plenty of bonus material on this disc. First you have two great audio commentaries, one by Arthur Knight and the other by Sir Christopher Frayling. They discuss the making of the film, its legacy and importance in film history. Then you have a making-of documentary "Screening at the Majestic" which taks about how the film was made. Then you have an interview with the film's cinematographer Henri Alekan and also a 1964 interview with the film's make up artist Hagop Arakelian. You also have a restoration demonstration, a theatrical trailer, a restoration trailer and a gallery.
A booklet is also included with essays by film scholars, Cocteau himself and Philip Glass.
Beauty and the Beast is a classic that is still full of mistery and magic. This set features great video, superb audio and plenty of bonus features to enjoy which is why it comes Highly Recommended!!
Most recent customer reviews
The Americans got inspired from this classic romantic story.