Sunday, 30 November 2014

Older Movie Review: La Belle et La Bete

La Belle et La Bete Movie Review
Lewis Maddison

Figure 1: Movie Poster

Unlike the Disney movie of the same name, La Belle et la Bete is a much darker, more fantastical take on the original French story, steering away from the whimsical, musical tone of Walt Disney and focusing more on the interactions between the characters and the use of effects that still stand out too this day."By using the tangible magic of hands through walls, moving statues, steamy paws and the rest, Cocteau makes rapt believers of us all"( Harley 2013). Following the same plot as the original, Jean Cocteau's interpretation creates an atmosphere that is dangerously addictive too both adults and children alike really personifying a world of pure fantasy. 

Figure 2: Beauty and the Beast

By now we are pretty familiar with the plot of Beauty and the Beast, thanks to the copious amounts of adaptations that have been created over the years, a merchant finds a rose in a seemingly abandoned castle, and is forced to send his daughter to live with it's monstrous inhabitant, eventually the two fall in love, much to the distaste of another character.It is considered to be a "timeless fairy tale about a young woman who agrees to dwell with a mysterious monster, as interpreted in 1946 by one of cinema's most brilliant visual stylists and myth makers."(Sterrit, 2013) A plot that seems very cliché nowadays. However what really makes this movie stand out from its counterparts, is it's production design. The world that has been created switches between the normal world of French architecture, wealthy families and bright scenery, and the darker atmosphere of Beast's castle. A world that resembles a chalk drawing.  "This film is such a visual delight that I gave up worrying about ideological considerations and just embraced its beautiful and influential dreamlike imagery." (Caldwell, 2011).  Caldwell accurately describes my own experience of watching this movie, the world that has been designed and envisioned by Cocteau and the François Baranger is truly one to behold. 

Figure 3: Belle traversing the castle

La Belle et La Bete wasn't a movie I was going in to expecting to enjoy, and in that sense I didn't so much as enjoy it, rather I admired the way Cocteau was able to create a world that still stand's out to this day, with its impressive visuals and surprising use of early practical effects. This is not a movie I would recommend based on its story as I described earlier, it's similar to the many other adaptations, I would recommend this move solely on its visuals, as a piece to be studied for future design projects. 


Kevin Harley, Games Radar,, Dec 30th 2013

David Sterrit, The Christian Science,, Aug 16th 2002

Thomas Caldwell, Cinema Autopsy,, Aug 13th 2011. 




Figure 3:

1 comment:

  1. Hi Lewis,
    Please can you try and get the highlighter issue sorted... also here, your bibliography is in dark grey, which is impossible to read against the black. (You are still not including all the required elements in the bibliography either...)

    You mention a very valid point regarding the look of the film, when you say ' A world that resembles a chalk drawing.' It would have been good to follow this up and discuss how the concept art is directly reflected in the way the film is lit etc.