Saturday, August 25, 2012

La Belle et la Bete - Beauty and The Beast

La Belle et la Bete is the original Beauty and the Beast movie.  It was made in 1946 by Jean Cocteau.  It is in French with English sub-titles.  As far as I am concerned this is the the best version of the Beauty and the Beast story which was written by Jean-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont and published in 1757.  This is truly a magnificent film and was ahead of its time technology wise.  The story unfolds in a way that is very avant-garde, fantasy, romantic and poetic.  I totally LOVE this movie!!!

La Belle et la Bete stars Josette Day ad Belle and Jean Marais as the Beast/Avenant.  Both of these French actors gave stellar performances. 

 Josette Day as Belle

Beauty and The Beast has similarities to the story of Cinderella.  Belle is one of three daughters.  Belle is sweet, down to earth and cares for her family; especially her father.  Belle's sisters Felicie and Adelaide are haughty and mean.  Both sisters take advantage of Belle and will not lift a finger to do any work.  Belle's only brother Ludovic is lazy and a scoundrel who gets the family into further debt by borrowing money from a money lender.

Avenant is a friend of Belle's brother Ludovic.  Avenant is in love with Belle, but he is also a scoundrel like her brother.  Avenant asks Belle to marry him, but she turns him down.

 Ludovic and his arrogant sisters Felicie and Adalaide.

Ludovic gets in to a fight with Avenant because he know what Avenant is and will not have Belle marrying him because she deserves better.  Avenant easily wins the fight and proves that he has a bad temper as well.

After learning that one of his ships was recovered, Belle's father goes to collect the treasure thinking his financial troubles are now over.  However, he discovers that all of his fortune that was on the ship was seized to pay off his debts and nothing was left. 
Belle's father gets lost in the forest on his way back home and ends up in a mysterious castle where magical powers abound.  

 Belle's father was played by Marcel Andre'

The Beast sentences Belle's father to death for stealing one of his roses, but then decides that he can send one of his daughters in his place.  Belle's father returns to tell his family what happened but he refuses to send any of his daughters and decides to return to the castle himself.  

The rose was plucked from the bushes because Belle asked her father to bring her back a rose when he returned home.  While everyone is still sleeping Belle sneaks off to the castle and the beast to spare her father. 

The Beast is watching Belle the whole time and falling in love with her.

When Belle first encounters the Beast she faints.  Head over heels in love, the Beast picks Belle up and carries her upstairs to a room he set aside just for her.  As the Beast carries Belle in his arms her clothes magically turns into fine clothing fit for a queen.

Belle learns that she need not be afraid of the Beast.  Every evening while Belle Dines, the Beast shows up at 7:00pm and asks her the same question evey time.  He wants to know if Belle will agree to be his wife, but Belle says no every time.  The Beast tells Belle that she is master of his castle and it is an honor for him to wait on her.  Belle's slightest desires will be fulfilled.

Belle cares very much for the Beast and she realizes no matter what his outward physical appearance he has a tender heart. 

Belle wants to go home because she saw in magic mirror that her father is dying from the loss of losing her.  He thinks that she is dead and so he no longer has the will the live.  The Beast tells Belle that he cannot let her go or else he will die from grief if she doesn't return.  Belle eventually convinces the Beast to let her go with a promise that she will return to him in seven days.   Before Belle leaves the Beast gives her the key to a pavilion on his property that holds all of his riches.  The Beast has faith that Belle will return to him with the key.

Belle returns to her family and saves her father's life.  However, her sisters are jealous of her and plot with Ludovic and Avenant to kill the Beast.  The sisters also steals the key to the pavilion. 

Belle returns to the Beast because she promised and she also loves him.   However the Beast is ill and dying of grief over losing her.  Belle holds onto to him pleading for the Beast to fight for life.   

While Belle is trying to save the Beast Avenant and Ludovic break into the pavilion and disturb the statue of the Roman Goddess Diana.

 The pavilion containing the treasures of the Beast and the statue of Diana.

The statue of Diana comes to life and shoots Avenant who broke into the pavilion by braking the glass roof.  Avenant turns into the beast at the same time that the Beast returns to being Prince Ardent and looks like Avenant.   

Prince Ardent (the Beast) explains to Belle how he became a monster in the first place.

Belle and the Beast who is now a handsome Prince live happily ever after.  Prince Ardent takes Belle off to his kingdom where her father will live with them and her evil sisters will be her servants.   

This movie is PRICELESS.

Actors on the set of La Belle et la Bete.

Jean Cocteau



ImSoVintage said...

How fun that you are such a movie buff.

collarcitybrownstone said...

Yes, I do love movies; especially the classics.