Angela Lansbury, the voice of Mrs. Potts, thought that another character would be better suited to sing the ballad "Beauty and the Beast". The director asked her to make at least one recording to have for a backup if nothing else worked, and that one recording ended up in the film.
All songs were the last complete works for a movie by Academy Award winner Howard Ashman. Ashman died eight months prior to the release of the film. The film is dedicated to Ashman; at the end of the final credits, you can read the dedication: "To our friend Howard, who gave a mermaid her voice and a beast his soul, we will be forever grateful."
Art director Brian McEntee color-keyed Belle so that she is the only person in her town who wears blue. This is symbolic of how different she is from everyone else around. Later, she encounters the Beast, another misfit, also wearing blue and with blue eyes. It symbolized good in the film whereas red symbolized evil (the color of Gaston's shirt is red, and the Beast wears a red cape before he begins to soften). A notable exception to this code is Gaston's blue eyes - making him the only Disney villain to have eyes the same color as the protagonist's.
Glen Keane, the supervising animator on the Beast, created his own hybrid beast by combining the mane of a lion, the beard and head structure of a buffalo, the tusks and nose bridge of a wild boar, the heavily muscled brow of a gorilla, the legs and tail of a wolf, and the big and bulky body of a bear. He also has blue eyes, the one physical feature that does not change whether he is a beast or a human.
Many scenes were storyboarded but never animated. Those include a scene where Gaston visits the asylum and a scene where the Beast is seen dragging the carcass of an animal he killed. Both where considered too gruesome for the film and the ideas were dropped. However, an animal's skeleton can be seen, though just barely since it is heavily in shadows, in the corner of the West Wing, leaving a subtle implication of just how far his transformation had affected him.
In the 1930s and again in the 1950s, Walt Disney attempted to adapt Beauty and the Beast (1991) into a feature but could not come up with a suitable treatment, so the project was shelved. It wasn't until The Little Mermaid (1989) became hugely successful that they decided to try it a third time.
In Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve's "The Story of Beauty and the Beast," - the original version of the tale - the prince was not turned into a beast for being selfish and unloving, but because he refused to marry his evil fairy godmother. Likewise, Beauty's challenge in understanding the beast was not his volatile temperament but his stupidity, for in beast form he could not express himself intelligently.
Belle's love of reading is meant to be a sign of great intelligence, a trait that had previously not been shown in a Disney princess. It is also a subtle hint to the movie's message: "Don't judge a book by its cover".
While his true name is never mentioned in the media franchise, it has been confirmed by the CD-ROM tie-in game ("The D Show") and the Beauty and the Beast Broadway musical that the Beast's real name is Prince Adam.
Robby Benson's voice was altered by the growls of real panthers and lions so that it is virtually unrecognizable. His voice is not changed on the original motion picture soundtrack, which is why as the prince (whose voice-over thoughts are heard in "Something There That Wasn't There Before") his voice is different.
This film depicts Belle as being an only child, or at least makes no mention of her having siblings. In the original fairy tale, Belle is the youngest of three daughters and her sisters are wicked and selfish, and secretly taunt and treat the kind-hearted Belle like a servant to them. It is believed that the sisters were purposefully omitted from the Disney adaptation because it was too similar to another Disney adaption film, Cinderella (1950).
The prologue states that the rose will bloom until the prince is twenty-one. Later, in "Be Our Guest", Lumiere sings "Ten years we've been rusting..." So, if the castle has been enchanted for ten years, and the prince is now 21, then the prince was eleven years old at the time he encountered the enchantress.
The first stained-glass window seen in the prologue has the Latin phrase 'vincit qui se vincit', which means, in a subtle prefiguring of the arc of the whole story, 'He conquers, who conquers himself.'
The curse on Beast requires him to be worthy of pure love, without any emphasis on exterior beauty. In essence, the rose is the one living gatekeeper of this curse. When Belle accidentally comes across the torn portrait of Prince Adam (Beast in his human form), she tries to put it together to be able to figure out the face painted, but is distracted by the suddenly brighter light of the rose which is to make sure she doesn't figure out the Beast's true identity.
Chip originally had only one line, but the producers liked Bradley Pierce's voice so much that extra dialogue and business was written and storyboarded for the character. The original "cute" character of the movie was a music box, which was supposed to be a musical version of Dopey from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) which could soothe the Beast with its music and stowed away with Belle when she was freed. But when Chip's role was expanded, the music box idea was scrapped. However, it can be seen for a brief moment on a table next to Lumière just before the fight between the enchanted objects and the villagers in the Beast's castle.
The song 'Be Our Guest' was originally supposed to be sung to Maurice instead of Belle, but Bruce Woodside pointed out that the song was in the wrong place because Maurice was not the focus of the story, and it made no sense to waste such a wonderful song on a secondary character.
Almost the entire cast are stars of Broadway musicals (most notably Angela Lansbury and Jerry Orbach). Disney intended it that way, hoping that a theatrical backer could finance a future stage version of the film.
HIDDEN MICKEY: After Gaston and the men chop down the tree, there are 3 droplets of water that form an upside-down classic Mickey head. Also, a trio of stones by the roots to the left of the cottage at the beginning form an upside-down vision of the symbol. During the "Human Again" sequence, Cogsworth is outside inspecting the shovels when a heap of ashes is dumped on him from above. Three circles appear in the snow on the left side of screen that form the Classic Mickey head.
Originally, the film was going to be more faithful to the original French fairy tale, which features a darker and more sinister theme; however, when Alan Menken and Howard Ashman joined the production, this idea was dropped.
By the time Alan Menken and Howard Ashman won an Academy Award for Best Original Song (for the song "Beauty and the Beast"), Ashman had already died. Ashman's longtime romantic partner, Bill Lauch, accepted the award on his behalf.
In the first song, where Belle sings in the town, she sits by a fountain. As she reads the book (described earlier as an adventure with a prince in disguise which sounds just like Beauty and the Beast), she flips to a page with a picture. Look closely, and you will see see that she is in the bottom right, the beast in the middle left, and the prince's castle in the middle.
A song sung by the enchanted objects entitled "Human Again" was cut before production started. The song was later added to the Disney on Ice and theatrical productions and was recorded and animated for the 2002 IMAX re-release. It was also added to the Platinum Edition released on October 8th 2002, making the movie a bit longer.
Nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture, losing to The Silence of the Lambs (1991). It was, however, the first full length animated feature to win the Golden Globe Award for Best Picture (Musical or Comedy), and the first Best Picture Oscar nominated for Walt Disney Pictures since Mary Poppins (1964), as well as third nominated for the Walt Disney Company after Mary Poppins (1964) and Dead Poets Society (1989).
Disney was originally going to have Jodi Benson, the voice of Ariel in The Little Mermaid (1989) also provide the voice for Belle. However, it was decided that Belle needed a more "European"-sounding voice. Howard Ashman remembered working with Paige O'Hara and suggested she try out for the part.
For the song "Gaston", Howard Ashman had written more lyrics than were required, so some lyrics had to be cut for the final version in the movie. The cut lyrics were later reinstated for the version performed in the Broadway musical.
For the song "Be Our Guest", Alan Menken created placeholder melodies that Howard Ashman would be able to write lyrics for. Menken later decided that those original melodies were more suitable than anything else he could compose, and they became the final version of the song.
Computer technology was considered for the rooftop fight and the forest chase, but the primitive state of the technology only allowed time to use it for the ballroom scene. Even for that scene, they had a fallback strategy: what they called the "Ice Capades" version, with just a spotlight on the two characters against a black background.
This was the first Disney animated film to use a fully-developed script prior to animation. The story had been developed through use of storyboards only in previous films, then was further developed during animation. One possible explanation for this was that several previous Disney films had gone way over-budget when animators spent too much time and effort animating scenes that would eventually be deleted from the final cut of the film.
Beauty and the Beast became the first movie musical to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Motion Picture of the Year since All That Jazz (1979) and the last one until Moulin Rouge! (2001), ten years later. Of the movie musicals nominated for Best Motion Picture of the Year, Beauty and the Beast is the only animated musical film to be nominated for the award.
'Beauty and the Beast' opened on Broadway at the Palace Theater on April 18, 1994 starring Terrence Mann, Susan Egan and Tom Bosley. It ran for 5,461 performances, closing on July 29, 2007. As of 2010 it was the seventh-longest-running play on Broadway, and was nominated for the 1994 Tony Award (New York City) for Best Musical.
The film was previewed at the New York Film Festival in September 1991 in a "Work-In-Progress" format. Approximately 70% of the footage was the final color animation. The other 30% consisted of storyboard reels, rough animation pencil tests, clean-up (final line) animation pencil tests, and computer animation tests of the ballroom sequence. This marked the first time that Disney had done a large-scale preview of an unfinished film. There was some concern at the studio as to what the audience, consisting of only adults, would think of the work-in-progress version. According to producer Don Hahn, the audience gave the film a strong, overwhelming standing ovation.
Art directors working on the film traveled to the Loire Valley in France for inspiration, and studied the great French Rococo painters of the eighteenth Century, like 'Jean-Honoré Fragonard' and François Boucher, to give their settings a European look.
The signs that Maurice comes upon when going to the fair, according to movie commentary, read from top to bottom: Saugus, Newhall, Valencia and Anaheim, all towns in Southern California, where most of the workers at Walt Disney Feature Animation lived. The sign just above Saugus reads Ramona, another town in Southern California, although the commentary did not mention it specifically. Anaheim is the name of the city where Disneyland is located.
All of the dialogue spoken by Tony Jay (Monsieur D'Arque) heard in the film was recorded during his audition. He gave two readings. The reading heard in the film was using what Jay called his "Masterpiece Theater voice". This brief role led to him being cast as Judge Claude Frollo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996), another film directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise and set in France.
"Gaston", the song sung in the tavern, originally ended with Lefou trying to spell out Gaston's name but failing and ultimately giving up. The line, performed by Jesse Corti, can be heard on the soundtrack.
The first Disney animated feature to use fully rendered and textured 3-D CGI moving backgrounds in combination with the traditionally animated character animation, a technique that was expanded upon in the Disney short Off His Rockers (1992) and later in Aladdin (1992).
Of the three animated films nominated for Best Picture this is the only traditionally hand-drawn film. Additionally it is the only animated film to be nominated alongside four other nominees as opposed to nine (Up (2009)) and eight (Toy Story 3 (2010)). It is also the only animated film to be nominated for Best Picture without being nominated for Best Animated Feature, as the latter category had not been created at the time.
Howard Ashman wanted to have a scene in which the young Prince is first transformed into the Beast. He considered it to be emotional and tragic. However, an argument erupted when directors Kirk Wise and Gary Trousdale, who couldn't shake visions of Butch Patrick in The Munsters (1964), called the idea a "cheap shot" and considered it to be too "ridiculous to take seriously." Ultimately it was decided to open the film with the stained glass windows as a mirror to the opening storybook of previous Disney films. The transformation itself was not shown until the direct-to-video sequel Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas (1997).
The number of magical objects in the Beast's Castle would suggest that the castle had employed a ridiculously large staff. While some of the objects were once human (Mrs. Potts, Lumiere, Cogsworth), most of them appear to be regular objects that became enchanted with independent motion and personalities because they have no faces (dishes, mugs, chairs).
The second Disney animated feature to use their proprietary CAPS (Computer Animation Production System) system entirely, a digital ink, paint, animation and camera process. The Rescuers Down Under (1990) was the first Disney film to use the system.
The first song of the movie 'Belle', has her express her fantasies, "Oh, isn't this amazing. It's my favorite part because, you'll see. Here is where she meets Prince Charming, but she won't discover that it's him till chapter three". Later, the same music is reprized during 'Something There', where along the same tune she sings, "New and a bit alarming, who'd have ever thought that this could be? True, that he's no Prince Charming, but there's something in him that I simply didn't see". It is basically a retelling of the story she had read, with herself, unknowingly, as a character in it.
The only animated feature-length film of the twentieth century to have been nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. Its nomination prompted the Motion Picture Academy of Arts & Sciences to establish a new category - Best Animated Feature - so that animated films would not compete with live action feature films for the top prize.
Caricatures of directors Kirk Wise and Gary Trousdale, can be seen in the scene where Belle is given the book as a gift. As she is leaving the store three men are seen pretending to not look through the window then they sing, "Look, there she goes, the girl who's so peculiar. I wonder if she's feeling well." They are the two men on the outside of the large blonde man.
Several characters in Beauty and the Beast (1991) are an homage to characters in the 9-time Academy Award-winning Gigi (1958): Lumiere is a tribute to Maurice Chevalier, perfectly impersonated by Jerry Orbach. The main male protagonist's name is Gaston, with a similar air of confidence as Gaston from Gigi. When Gigi rebuffs him in the 1958 film, it is similar to when Belle rebuffs Gaston and both sing a self righteous song of indignation. Gaston of Beauty and the Beast is not redeemed in the end however unlike Gigi's Gaston. Beauty and the Beast is itself a take on the classic french novel La Belle et la Bete. Though not the same source material, both being french themed, Disney's adaptation of Beauty and the Beast pays homage to great French actors and themes past in Gigi. Watching Gigi will lead to a greater appreciation of Beauty and the Beast. Jerry Orbach intended Lumiere's voice to be similar to Maurice Chevalier's, and even pays tribute to him in the middle of the "Be Our Guest" number (right as he says "course by course, one by one..."
Supervising Animator Andreas Deja has said that animating Gaston is one of the highlights of his career in animation, largely because of how he was able to animate a character with such drastic changes to his personality. According to Deja he "never worked on a character which quite the same progression."
If you look closely at the page of the book that Belle is holding during "Belle" as she is sitting at the fountain, you can see that beneath the illustration of the prince and princess in the garden are the words 'le prince de charmont.' This can be interpreted as French for 'Prince Charming', but it is interesting to note that the author of the adapted, shorter version of Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve's "The Story of Beauty and the Beast", was named Jeanne-Marie le Prince de Beaumont.
Many people believe that the prince was cursed as a child and that the rose will bloom until his 21st birthday, however this is actually false. The quote from the prologue actually says "...until his 21st year." It never actually says birthday. Therefore the curse may have been put on the Prince as an adult and he was frozen in time for 21 years. This would also explain how Chip came to be, considering he is just a child when the curse breaks. An alternative idea is that chip doesn't age while he is a cup.
In 2001 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Beauty and the Beast (1991), they added an extra seven minutes to the final film which included a scene where the Castle is preparing for the dinner and dance. The Disney productions got all the original animating and drawing group to complete this scene. This scene is available to watch on the 2001 release of Beauty and the Beast (1991) on Disney DVD and VHS, and any further re release onward.
In this film, David Ogden Stiers plays one of the side-characters Cogsworth and the film's Narrator, and Tony Jay plays the side-character Monsieur D'Arque. Eventually, they both went on to play main villains in future Disney Animated Films. Stiers played Governor Radcliffe in Pocahontas (1995), and Jay played Judge Claude Frollo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996).
Céline Dion was initially skeptical about recording the Pop version of Beauty and the Beast at the ending credits shortly after being terminated from An American Tail: Fievel Goes West (1991) with her rendition of Dreams to Dream. Dion, who was initially unknown in the US at that time, the Walt Disney Company contacted Peabo Bryson to be her singing duet partner for the song.
The following scenes take place in one single night to the early morning: when Belle is imprisoned by the Beast after taking her father's place; when she refuses dinner from the Beast; the famous "Be Our Guest" musical sequence; when Belle is frightened out of the West Wing from the Beast and runs out of the castle; when Belle returns to the castle with the Beast's injured body and tends to his wounds after he saves her from the pack of wolves.
Paige O'Hara, the voice of Belle, was among the first few artist to express an interest in recording the Pop version of Beauty and the Beast as heard at the ending credits, but the Walt Disney Company dismissed her because she sounds 'too Broadway'.
Right after Beast goes mad and leaves because Belle won't go down to dinner with him, you can see on the walls of the corridor "Girl With an Earring" by Johannes Vermeer and "The Laughing Cavalier" by Frans Hals.
During a playing of "Belle" to the animation team, story supervisor Roger Allers improvised the background village voices on the spot after noting that the part where Gaston was trying to catch up to Belle felt a little empty musically. Howard Ashman told Roger to do it as Alan Menken played the piece on the piano. Roger Allers never felt so rushed to do something like that in his life. His demonstration actually improved the song as Ashman liked what was heard.
Robby Benson, who plays the Beast, also does the voice of Prince Alexander in King's Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow. Ironically, in Prince Alex's adventures he bumps into a Beast with a magic mirror, who must find someone to marry to break the spell before he himself is turned into a beast.
Beauty and the Beast (1991) was one of two films to be released in 1991 and preserved in the National Film Registry in 2002; the other was Boyz n the Hood (1991). Both films, in addition to starting with the same letter, were inducted one year after the minimum ten-year waiting period. In addition, Laurence Fishburne, who played Furious Styles in the latter, was considered for the role of the Beast.
Paige O'Hara sobbed real tears while recording Belle's mourning of the Beast. Her performance was so intense that the director asked her if she was OK, upon which O'Hara immediately dropped out of character and said "Acting!"
The dance between Belle and her Prince in the finale is actually reused animation of the dance between Princess Aurora and Prince Phillip in Sleeping Beauty (1959). The original Sleeping Beauty pair had been drawn over to become the new Beauty and the Beast pair because the animators running out of time during the production of the movie.
Originally the Beast was supposed to be stabbed by Gaston twice: once in the leg and again in the side, followed by Gaston deliberately pushing himself off the tower and laughing maniacally while falling. The filmmakers changed it to just his side to avoid the already dramatic scene becoming too disturbing for children, but Gaston's edited suicide is a probable explanation for his choosing such a dangerous position to kill the Beast despite knowing that he would never win Belle's heart.
When Gaston is falling at the very end, there is close-up of his eyes. For two frames a tiny skull flashes in each of his eyes. For the VHS and laserdisc release, these frames were altered to remove the skulls from his eyes. However, no such alteration was made for the DVD nor Blu-ray release. The Disney Company claims that the skulls determined Gaston's fate as fans were unsure whether he died or not at the end.
An original draft for Gaston's demise was supposed to be that the wolves would kill him after surviving his fall from the Beast's castle with a broken leg. This outcome was later use in The Lion King (1994).
When Beast and Gaston are having their life-or-death struggle on the castle during the climax, Gaston yells, "Belle is mine!" Originally he was supposed to say, "Time to die!" but the writer changed it to fit Belle back in the scene.
WILHELM SCREAM: During the raid on the castle in the third act, when a villager is thrown through the front doors. (For those looking for it, it's right after Chip's "You guys gotta try this.") This is the time the Wilhelm Scream has been used in an Animated Film.
Glen Keane was most excited about the transformation sequence and said it would be the highlight of his career in animation. He purposefully asked that it be the last thing animated of the Beast in order to save 'the dessert for last'. The schedule said that he would only have two weeks to complete the animation. He went to producer Don Hahn and asked that it be changed because he was not going to be able to get the emotion across that was needed on such a tight agenda. Hahn told him to forget about the schedule and take as long as was needed.
Alan Menken composed two different musical scores for the Beast's death scene. The original (which is part of the Transformation piece on the original motion picture soundtrack) was considered too happy for the feeling needed so Menken changed it to the version now heard in the film.
The character of Gaston was not in the original fairy tale of Beauty and the Beast. Rather, he was inspired by the antagonist of the 1946 French film Beauty and the Beast (1946). Avenant also was in love with Belle and tried to kill the Beast upon learning that she loved him, losing his life in the process. Reportedly, a direct-to-video sequel to the Disney movie was to feature a villain named Avenant, Gaston's revenge-seeking younger brother, but the project was scrapped in favour of Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas (1997).
When Belle first becomes the Beast's prisoner, he warns her to never go to the west wing. Belle not only goes to the west wing once, but three times in the entire movie. The first time she goes is in the beginning after "Be Our Guest ". The second time is when Belle wishes to see her father. The third time it's when the beast dies in Belle's arms.