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Beauty and the Beast (1946)

La belle et la bête (original title)
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A beautiful young woman takes her father's place as the prisoner of a mysterious beast, who wishes to marry her.

Directors:

Jean Cocteau, René Clément (uncredited)

Writers:

Jean Cocteau (dialogue), Jean Cocteau (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Jean Marais ... La Bête (The Beast) / The Prince / Avenant
Josette Day ... Belle
Mila Parély Mila Parély ... Félicie
Nane Germon Nane Germon ... Adélaïde
Michel Auclair ... Ludovic
Raoul Marco ... The Usurer
Marcel André Marcel André ... Belle's Father
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Janice Felty Janice Felty ... La Belle (1995 opera version) (singing voice)
John Kuether John Kuether ... The Father / The usurer (1995 opera version) (singing voice)
Jacques Marbeuf Jacques Marbeuf
Ana María Martinez Ana María Martinez ... Félicie (1995 opera version) (singing voice)
Hallie Neill Hallie Neill ... Adélaïde (1995 opera version) (singing voice)
Gregory Purnhagen Gregory Purnhagen ... La Bête / Avenant / Ardent / The port official (1995 opera version) (singing voice)
Zhengzhong Zhou Zhengzhong Zhou ... Ludovic (1995 opera version) (singing voice)
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Storyline

Adélaïde, Belle, Félicie and Ludovic are young adult siblings who once lived in grandeur until their father's merchant ships were lost at sea. The family is now near ruin, but Adélaïde and Félicie nonetheless still squander away the family money on themselves and keeping beautiful, whereas Belle slaves around the house, doting on her father. Ludovic detests his two spoiled sisters, but is protective of Belle, especially with his friend Avenant, a handsome scoundrel who wants to marry Belle. Crossing the forest one dark and stormy evening, the father gets lost and takes refuge in a fantastical castle. Upon leaving, he steals a blossom off a rose bush, which Belle requested. The castle's resident, an angry beast, sentences him to one of two options for the theft of the rose: his own death, or that of one of his daughters. As she feels she is the cause of her father's predicament (despite her sisters asking for far more lavish gifts), Belle sacrifices herself to the beast. Upon arriving ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Do Women Prefer The Beast In Men? See more »

Genres:

Drama | Fantasy | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French

Release Date:

23 December 1947 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Beauty and the Beast See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,708, 23 June 2002, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$298,718
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

DisCina See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono | Dolby Digital (1995 opera version)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

For the role of the Beast, Jean Marais's outer body was covered with animal hair. "On my face there's a plenty of cracks, wounds and itches and my hands are bleeding" Jean Cocteau wrote when he was hospitalized during filming, "but the face and the hands of Jean Marais are covered with a so painful crust that removing it is similar to suffer my treatments". See more »

Goofs

As Beauty and the Beast walk in the garden, a comparatively modernly dressed boy in short pants is visible for a few seconds to the top right behind them. See more »

Quotes

La Bête: Belle, you mustn't look into my eyes. You needn't fear. You will never see me, except each evening at 7:00, when you will dine, and I will come to the great hall. And never look into my eyes.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The title and some of the opening credits are written with chalk on a blackboard, and then erased. See more »

Alternate Versions

The 1946 American release of the film had an entirely different set of opening credits, and is the one available on VHS. In that release, these credits were presented straightforwardly, with nothing unusual about them, and with the title in English. In the film's original release, available on DVD, the credits were written on a blackboard, in what is known as cursive handwriting, the same type of writing in which the opening prologue appears. After every credit, Jean Cocteau's hand would erase it and write the next credit with what appeared to be chalk. Then, after the credits ended, a film clapboard was seen, it was slammed together, as they always are just before a film director yells "Action!", and then the film's written prologue was seen. See more »


Soundtracks

La belle et la bête
an opera by Philip Glass
(Not part of the original soundtrack, and not heard in the film's first two releases)
© 1995 Nonesuch Records for the US and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Beauty is socialized to choose the right man
1 April 2002 | by villaniSee all my reviews

Prominent sociologist Bruno Bettleheim believes that the fairy tale has a very important role in the socialization process of children. Each fairy tale addresses a fear they must overcome; Hansel and Gretel addresses the fear of abandonment, Little Red Riding Hood the fear of the `wolf' in the bed sheets, and Beauty and the Beast the similar fear of the `beast' in men that virgin women face on their wedding night. These tales illustrating the effective resolution of possible threats are very important to natural development.

Cocteau's attempt to socialize his female viewers and alleviate their fear of sex is clear through textual analysis. The mirror that Beauty peers into her first night at the castle shows a reflection of her father where her own self-reflection should have been, indicating that she is still very much defined by the dominant male role in her life. Almost immediately after, the bed sheets slide off the bed in a provocative manner, portending future threat, and she runs away repulsed. She confronts the Beast, and promptly faints. This scene establishes her fear and immaturity; however, Beauty and the Beast become progressively closer through the film, holding hands and talking. During her visit to her family, he caresses and wraps himself in her blanket, another reference to his association with her bed. When she decides she has remained at home too long, she lies on her bed and looks at the beast in the mirror's reflection. This is the point of transition, where she links this new dominant male figure to her bed. Instead of being repulsed by his reflection, she lovingly caresses the mirror and returns to him. In order to do this she slips on his glove, perhaps a reference to condoms. His glove is a perfect fit, displaying their perfect compatibility.

The Cocteau version of Beauty and the Beast also addresses the dual nature of masculinity where good and evil coexisted, and the lines of differentiation are increasingly blurred. He emphasizes his statement that man and beast are indistinguishable by casting Jean Marais in both roles. Beauty comments upon this, when she tells the prince that he reminds her of a friend of her brother's. The fine distinction between the two characters is the prince's inner beauty as well as outer. When the brother's friend becomes greedy, he transforms into a beast so his inner ugliness and outer appearance coincide.

Socialization of Beauty remains central despite two forms of masculinity because the two never meet, so Beauty's choice between the two is central. The film is about the distinctions between men, and the importance of picking the right one. Since both the friend and the prince have the same attractive male face, the lesson is to hold out for the true prince who is good and noble on the inside as well as attractive.

As the Beast-turned-prince reclaims himself at the end of Cocteau's film, the message the audience should take away is that love can cure any ugliness and make any beast a man. The interchangeability is evident and the choice important. Beauty loves the Beast, overcoming her fear of the beastly in marriage and claiming she will get used to him, the reality of a man. Beauty makes a gradual transition from love of her father to a husband, as portrayed in her mirrors depicting her core identity.


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