The Beauty and the Beast (English Subtitled)

7.91 h 33 min1947ALL
Jean Cocteau's sublime adaptation of Mme. Leprince de Beaumont's fairy-tale masterpiece--in which the pure love of a beautiful girl melts the heart of a feral but gentle beast--is a landmark of motion picture fantasy, with unforgettably romantic performances by Jean Marais and Josette Day.
Jean Cocteau
Jean MaraisJosette DayMila Parely
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Supporting actors
Nane GermonMichel Auclair
Andre Paulve
The Criterion Collection
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4.8 out of 5 stars

828 global ratings

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Top reviews from the United States

RDDReviewed in the United States on April 12, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
A Wonder of Cinema!
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Jean Cocteau's film version of Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont's "La Belle et la Bête" is a wonder of cinema. Cocteau begins his film by imploring his audience to regain their childhood sense of wonder and imagination before presenting a story with all the trappings of a classic fairytale made real though some of the most gorgeous uses of cinematic technique and practical effects. Cocteau's Belle is truly a beauty and his Beast both monstrous and regal. When Belle first walks through the castle and sees phantom hands holding aloft the candlesticks, I defy a viewer not to gaze with wonder.
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.
35 people found this helpful
Also_was_ThereReviewed in the United States on November 18, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
Timeless and More Relevant Than Ever - The Blu Ray disc is Superb!
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Released in 1946, Jean Cocteau's "La Belle et La Bete" was traditionally seen as his most audience-friendly film.
Yet today, almost 30 years after the Disney animated release it remains more essential than ever. The two films must be discussed together but why? It is because the Disney film borrowed MUCH of its charm, not from the traditional story, but from the Cocteau version. The was NO Gaston, no talking candlesticks or other talking furniture or much of the "magic" in the original tale written in the 17th century: That was all derived from Cocteau's version! There are differences, such as in Cocteau's version "Gaston" is the character "Avenant" and Gaston's groveling sidekick "LeFou" is in Cocteau named "Ludovic" and is Belle's brother. None of the furniture talks, but much of it moves it its own magical way; Hands that pour wine in your glass or pull aside drapery, human heads made to look like statuary that can turn and follow Belle with their face and eyes.

But differences DO matter; In the Disney version much of the story revolves around the falling petals of a magical rose. In Cocteau's version, the original version, the rose is just a plot device to set the real story in motion. What will kill the Beast is the failure of the love and trust he places in Belle - if she fails to return.
We also get much more set-up, such as Belle's quarrelling, petty, avaricious sisters; They were replaced in the Disney film with the over-the-top arrogance and greed of Gaston and the fawning of LeFou.

OK, so why more relevant now than ever? Both are fairy tales, not Homeric Epics after all. Because the original version, the one by Cocteau, places responsibility squarely for events and decisions on human characters to include the humanity that dwells within the Beast. Whereas the Disney version dumbs everything down to a kiddie movie with jolly songs and operatic bluster to gloss over the loss of sensitivity and depth. I love the original Disney version, but when I saw Cocteau's version for the first time recently I was gob-smacked by how much more mature, delicate, and magical it is. The original film has been restored lovingly and will look superb on your Big Screen and Blu ray player if you have those, but is worthy even on Grandpa's old B&W TV he keeps in the basement. Many people will not buy this as, "I already have the Disney version." And they will continue to sleep-walk through their consumer-oriented lives. See it! And be transformed if you dare!
6 people found this helpful
Elvin OrtizReviewed in the United States on July 19, 2018
4.0 out of 5 stars
A Beautiful Movie
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Do not expect something similar to Disney's version in spite of the similarities in both film's stories. In spite the fact that its director chose this film because it was a fairy tale, it is not for modern-day children who expect the contemporary Disney film filled with music, action, and comedy. Filmed in France right after WW2, the film shows us a Cinderella type story. It is based on The Beauty and the Beast by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont. Belle has two abusive sisters who pamper themselves all the time and one irresponsible brother. There is no Gascon. Instead, the rival is an impulsive and passionate Avenant. In this film, Avenant is neither narcissistic nor vain. He is impulsive, passionate, very in love with Belle, although he has a few faults. He loves to gamble and may have been a womanizer. But he adores Belle and hopes to change if married to her and would do anything for her. The story takes off thanks to Belle's father's economic troubles, Belle's desire for a rose, and her brother's irresponsibility. Once Belle is in the Beast's castle, the audience witnesses Belle's slow conversion toward the Beast. The strength of this film precisely lies in the scenes in the castle. Although the story moves slowly because it is about feelings and characters (not action), the interaction between Belle and the Beast are at the heart of the film. Their talk about ugliness and what is truly repulsive, the Beast's struggle with his own animal nature, and the fantastic images of hands and arms holding candles, serving wine, doors opening and closing make this a wonderful film to watch in spite that it does not have the technicolor and choreographies of its most recent versions. It has a happy ending albeit slightly different from Disney's version.
5 people found this helpful
Simon OmnesReviewed in the United States on March 26, 2015
5.0 out of 5 stars
"To those who still know to sleep while awake, who didn't lose their childhood, who believe the impossible is possible!" Cocteau
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Shot over nine months starting from the end of World War II, in August 1945, Cocteau reinterpreted "Beauty and the Beast"'s tale of Madame Leprince de Beaumont in one of the most impressive cinematographical poem in the history of cinema.

Accompanied by his friends — actors like Jean Marais and Marcel André, decorator Christian Bérard, Marcel Escoffier as costume designer, and composer Georges Auric — Jean Cocteau introduced in his crew other admirable people. Talented artists such as Mila Parély and Nane Germon in the role of the sisters Felicia and Adelaide, Michel Auclair in the role of brother Ludovic, Doudou in the role of Diane and Josette Day in the role of Belle. Sublime discovery this actress is for her natural, pure and subtle acting skills make her the perfect actress for this role. Among the technical staff, Henri Alekan (cinematographer) and René Clément (assistant director) supported Cocteau. Especially Clement who directed sequences in the castle of the Beast while Cocteau was gravely ill at the Pasteur Institute. Detail Jean describes well in his film diary, which people can buy in bookshops or consult in libraries.

Far from telling the story that we already know, Cocteau takes the opportunity to enrich the mythology with very important antagonists like Ludovic, brother of Belle, Avenant, a friend whose love for Belle reveals him a very dangerous soul, and Diane Pavillon's, a magical section in the castle. Through these additions, Cocteau gave the story a greater dramatic tension that enriches the theme of appearance and beauty, but also an open ending that questions the film and some elements like the beast's nature, true intentions, double motives, and his universe. For in this tale are two dimensions. A real world similar to Vermeer paintings, with suffocating accessories and superficial frills. And the magical world of the Beast; whose subtle, frugal decorations, and clair-obscur lighting are reminiscent of Gustave Doré's engravings. Where the impossible becomes a theatre of surrealism.

Visually, the Blu-Ray version is impressive in HD , even if the image quality of the film, made on different types of film stocks, can be felt in certain sequences, which is what explains a bonus on the Restoration of the film. Indeed, as time went on, the film became damaged, resulting in noises, scratches and perforations that required several restorations sessions of the nitrates.

In its audio, the film offers an uncompressed Mono soundtrack, but also an HD recording of an opera by Philip Glass, who was inspired by Cocteau's film. As bonuses, other wonders are there too. Either the original trailers of the film that reference to sequences deleted in the film involving Belle, Adelaide, Ludovic, and Felicie. Comments of film historians, including a leaflet with Cocteau's message in regard to American audiences. But mostly an interview celebrating 50 years of the film, which took place in Rochecorbon with Henri Alekan, Mila Parély and Jean Marais, accompanied by Cocteau sound clips explaining his film.

As such, this film is fun for all movie lovers and fans of Cocteau who, under the HD treatment Criterion collection, can rediscover a classic under the HD splendor.
9 people found this helpful
Phyllis Ann KarrReviewed in the United States on March 12, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
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I had seen this movie once, in graduate school. Many of its scenes came back just as I’d remembered them. If I could give it more than five stars, I would. I gave up on the Academy Awards the year they gave the big one to “Silence of the Lambs” instead of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” but Cocteau’s version outshines Disney’s at least as far as a good stage presentation of “Amadeus” outshines the movie. This has to be one of the most beautiful movies ever made, both visually and to a lesser degree emotionally. Fans of b&w especially owe it to themselves to get it in the original b&w – colorizing would spoil it as utterly as it would spoil the 1935 “Midsummer Night’s Dream” or such a film noir classic as “The Maltese Falcon.” (I’m not against colorizing in all cases: Laurel and Hardy’s “Babes in Toyland” works just fine colorized, and I think the 1933 “Alice in Wonderland” would also. But NOT Cocteau’s “Beauty and the Beast”!)
Mark KingReviewed in the United States on June 10, 2015
5.0 out of 5 stars
The Definitive Cinemagic Version of This Classic Tale!
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Jean Cocteau's is the definitive film version of the Classic fair tale, an absolutely beautiful film! Cocteau wanted to shoot in color -- thank goodness budget constraints prevented that! Henri Alekan's black and white photography is superb. It is a perfect example of collaboration in action as Cocteau was constantly after Alekan to shoot light for a stark, realistic almost documentary style, instead of the dreamy, glamour type that pervaded Alekan's instincts. The result is actually a sort of mishmash of both styles, but cut together in such a way that it all actually works and works so well. The good people at Criterion give to this set all the tender loving care that film lovers associate with the company. The bonus features (which include two commentaries; by film historians Arthur Knight and Christopher Frayling; the documentary "Screening at the Majestic" containing interviews with Jean Marais and Mila Parély; interview with Henri Alekan and MORE!) add even more value to this gem of cinematic genius!
26 people found this helpful
Joe in Mobile, ALReviewed in the United States on April 20, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
One of the best movies I have ever watched
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Fantastic movie. Watched it with my teenage daughter who at first did not want to watch it (it's b&w and in a foreign language). We both loved it. Wonderful cinematography and casting. My daughter loved it so much she has watched it again.
31 people found this helpful
ImThatDingoReviewed in the United States on January 13, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Christmas gift.
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My mom saw this as a teenager, and has mentioned it throughout the years. I was struggling to find her a Christmas present this year and this movie came to mind. I did some research to find this, because her description of the movie was very vague. She opened it up and initially didn't know what it was. We watched it the night she opened it and it was definitely an interesting movie. I love how all the people are real and the amount of time it took to get the Beast ready. It was beautiful. The one downside to this is that the movie is black and white, and since the movie is in French, the English translation is subtitled: they made the font white though. My mom has bad sight and wears glasses and she had a really hard time trying to read the subtitles. The movie was great though, and I was happy to give her something from her past.
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