Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Film Review: "Jean Cocteau and Rene Clement" La Belle et la Bette (1946)


Figure 1. Film Poster:"Jean Cocteau and Rene Clement" La Belle et la Bette (1946)

La Belle et la Bette (1946) is a classic of the French fantasy and surreal genre,and one could say the inspiration for the Disney movie Beauty and the Beast (1991). The antagonist, a young beautiful woman called Belle, takes the place of her father and is imprisoned by a beast. Bewitched by her beauty, the beast wishes to marry her and gives her gifts throughout the film. The film is filled with interesting production and costume design and lighting.

Figure 2. Beauty walking down castle corridor

In figure 2 it shows the moment when Belle is exploring the castle of the beast and waling through a hallway. this is a great use of set design to enhance the scene. the way belle moves through the hallway is reflected by the set, as the curtains emphasise a gliding gentle movement like how she is walking. James Travers stated "virtually unrivalled in its intense lyrical power and sumptuous visual artistry" (Travers, 2010). In this point it is clear the visuals of the film are stylised and unique.

Figure 3. Beast still shot

For a film of its time this film was a huge hit "attracting an audience of just under four million, as well as garnering widespread critical acclaim and winning the prestigious Prix Louis Delluc" (James Travers 2000). the beast although it may have been scary for its time is now quite dated however this story and its characters were redesigned for the 1991 Disney version which was also an incredible hit, and although kids fairy tale film as it was the first animated film to have won an Oscar.

Figure 4. Belle and beast ascending

at the end of the film we witness the beast transform into a handsome prince and with belle fly into the air. Peter Bradshaw said "Its special effects are prehistoric compared to those of our digital 21st century"(Bradshaw, 2014). from this scene this quote applies quite accurately, compared to our modern day special effects this flying scene appears dated and silly, however for the time it was probably an interesting point in the movie.

Illustrations List

Figure 1. Film Poster:"Jean Cocteau and Rene Clement" La Belle et la Bette (1946)

Figure 2. Still of Beauty gliding through the corridors of the Beast's Castle

Figure 3. Beast still shot

Figure 4. Belle and prince ascending


Crowther, B(1947) -

Travers. J(2000) -

Bradshaw. P(2014) -

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