Political intrigue and psychological drama run parallel. The queen is in seclusion, veiling her face for the ten years since her husband's assassination, longing to join him in death. ... See full summary »
A young artist draws a face at a canvas on his easel. Suddenly the mouth on the drawing comes into life and starts talking. The artist tries to wipe it away with his hand, but when he looks... See full summary »
Elizabeth Lee Miller,
When Michel, who's 22, tells his parents he is in love, his mother Yvonne is distraught, believing she will lose his love (which is the center of her life), and his father Georges is ... See full summary »
During the First World War, two French soldiers are captured and imprisoned in a German P.O.W. camp. Several escape attempts follow until they are sent to a seemingly impenetrable fortress which seems impossible to escape from.
After opening a convent in the Himalayas, five nuns encounter conflict and tension - both with the natives and also within their own group - as they attempt to adapt to their remote, exotic surroundings.
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
The farmhouse scenes were shot on a farm outside Tours near an airfield. Although the commanding officer was happy to give the company permission to film there, he did not always keep track of the shooting schedule. As a result, takes were often ruined by the sound of training flights overhead. See more »
Boom visible at the top of the picture during the entire scene when Ludovic and Avenant first approach Diane's pavilion. See more »
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.
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The title and some of the opening credits are written with chalk on a blackboard, and then erased. See more »
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 »
I first saw this when about 10 years old, it made little impression on me then, probably because I couldn't hope to appreciate it or understand it all when so young. Next time I was 25 and was bowled over by its imagery, and as I've got older come to appreciate it more and more.
So much for watching it through a child's eyes and accepting the fantasy at face value! At the beginning Cocteau states "Once upon a time...", but really for discerning adult cineastes (and/or poets) to drop their guards and enjoy it for what it was - a magical filmic fantasy. It's uniformly marvellous in all departments, direction, photography, acting, music, design, and Cocteau trotted out all his favourite cinematic tricks - just part of the sequence between Blood of a Poet in '30 and Testament of Orphee in '61. The script was suitably steeped in non sequiteurs and puzzles to add to the heaviness of it all. Er, not that it matters but what happened to Ludovic?
The wonderful dark brooding smoky atmosphere is the most important aspect though - there are few films I've seen with such a powerful cinematic atmosphere, Reinhardt's Midsummer Night's Dream is one and Dead of Night another etc. But the romantic melancholic atmosphere here was something ... incredible. It was only possible with black and white nitrate film stock to capture such gleaming, glistening and time- and place-evoking moving images - it hasn't been quite the same since 1950 with safety film in use.
If you're an adult about to give it your first (let yourself) go, I envy thee! All in all a lovely inconsequential fantasy, make what erudite and informative allegorical allusions you will.
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