26 February 2013 5:45 AM, PST | MUBI | See recent MUBI news »

Anyone attempting another film based on La Belle et la Bête starts at a disadvantage. Despite whatever new twist or spin he or she has in mind, it will inevitably pale in comparison to Jean Cocteau’s version. It may have better special effects, possibly even the best, most advanced effects the world has ever seen, effects that makes James Cameron’s head spin, but it will still lack Cocteau’s secret weapon: Jean Marais’ eyes.

Our attention is directed towards his eyes from the Beast’s first appearance. A superimposed glow exudes menace and ferociousness before disappearing a few frames later, leaving before revealing the true light source, the fire of humanity hidden beneath fur, fangs, and a mane. The make-up is modest, though the wiggling ears are particularly adorable. It limits what Marais is able to convey with his face, but helped by cinematographer Henri Alekan’s lighting, »

- Alex Hansen

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