Edit
Beauty and the Beast (1946) Poster

Trivia

Jump to: Spoilers (2)
The effect of the candles lighting themselves as the merchant passes them was achieved by blowing them out and then running the film in reverse as he walked backward past them. The entire sequence was done in one long take and reversed - a quick glimpse of the fireplace shows the flames appearing to move downward.
The look and decor of the film was influenced by the work of nineteenth-century artist and engraver Gustave Doré, most famous for illustrating a famous nineteenth century French edition of "Don Quixote". Doré's illustrations for that novel are so famous that they continue to be reprinted even today.
During the shooting of the film, Jean Cocteau became very ill because of a bad skin disease, and eventually had to be hospitalized. While he was recovering, René Clément served as the director.
Jean Cocteau used several different kinds of film stock because of the difficulty of getting stock immediately after the war. He claimed that the different visual textures added to the poetic effect of the film.
It took five hours for Jean Marais to put on his make-up as the Beast.
Philip Glass composed an opera perfectly synchronized to the film. The original soundtrack was eliminated, and he composed the opera to be performed along with the film projected behind the orchestra and voice talent. The compact disc recording of Glass' "La Belle et la Bête" can be played alongside the film with a very similar effect. Note: the opera is recorded on two compact discs; hence it will be necessary to pause the film once while changing discs. In the US, the second DVD release of this film by the Criterion Collection gives the viewer the option of hearing the original soundtrack or the Glass opera version, which, in a sense, gives you two movies for the price of one. Glass has composed similar works for two other Jean Cocteau films: Orpheus (1950) and Les Enfants Terribles (1950).
The costumes were manufactured at the workshop of the famous Paris couture house of Jeanne Lanvin, with the men's costumes under the supervision of Lanvin designer Pierre Cardin
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".
Jean Marais said that the initial design for the Beast was like a deer, before the more predatory look was decided upon.
The first screening took place before the staff of the studio at Joinville. Jean Cocteau was so nervous, he invited his friend Marlene Dietrich, whose hand he held tightly as the film unwound. The response, however, was enthusiastic.
7 of 7 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Initially, Jean Cocteau and Henri Alekan clashed over the filming style. Alekan wanted to use soft focus to create his version of what a fairy tale would look like. Cocteau, however, insisted a more hard-edged style would make even the most fantastic scenes seem grounded in reality. After the first few days of shooting, Alekan declared the rushes laughably bad. As Cocteau persisted in pursuing his personal vision of the film, the cinematographer gradually came around.
6 of 6 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
The studio and locations were so cold that the cast huddled around the lights between shots to keep warm.
6 of 6 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Turner Classic Movies host Robert Osborne lists this film as one of his favorites.
Costumes had to be made from fabric scraps, and the props department had trouble finding sheets without patches for the laundry scene. With fabric in short supply, the crew often arrived at the studio to find Beauty's bed-curtains had been stolen during the night.
5 of 5 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Jean Marais' face, hands and any other body parts not hidden by his costume were covered in animal hair. Once his fangs were in, he could not remove them, so he could eat nothing while filming except mush.
5 of 5 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
The look of the farmhouse scenes was inspired by the paintings of Jan Vermeer.
5 of 5 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
The popular song "Beauty and the Beast" by Stevie Nicks was inspired by this film. In 2007, she got the rights for the movie and it plays behind her as she sings the song. It is the last song in her set list.
Walt Disney was interested in adapting the fairytale "Beauty and the Beast" into an animated feature, but when this film released he felt discouraged and believed it wouldn't be as good as what Jean Cocteau did. Eventually Disney would adapt the fairytale as Beauty and the Beast (1991) (and its live-action counterpart Beauty and the Beast (2017)), to great acclaim; however both features are greatly influenced by this film.
4 of 4 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Jean Marais originally suggested to Jean Cocteau for the beast to have a stag's horned head, remembering it from a detail in the fairy tale. This would have evoked the mythical echo of Cernunnos, the Celtic stag-headed god of the woods. Cocteau however refused the idea, fearing that to the modern audience a stag's head would turn the beast into a laughing-stock.
5 of 6 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
To create the living human carvings in the fireplace and other architectural elements in the Beast's castle, Jean Cocteau hired local children who were made up with plaster to look like stone figures. At one point, he even had the faces in the fireplace breathe smoke.
4 of 5 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
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.
2 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
The film is included on Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" list.
4 of 7 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
5 of 10 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Most of the available cameras were old and worn, often jamming during filming.
1 of 1 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
The electrical supply at the studio was inconsistent, with frequent blackouts to divert power to other parts of the district.
1 of 1 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
The House of Lanvin made all of the costumes, with resident designer Pierre Cardin supervising the men's wardrobe.
1 of 1 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Exteriors for the Beast's castle were shot at the Chateau de Raray near Senlis.
1 of 1 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
For the film's U.S. release conventional credits replaced the original ones, in which the credits were written in chalk and erased by Jean Cocteau's hand. This also eliminated the film clapboard seen between the opening credits and the written prologue.
1 of 1 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Klaus Kinski was a big fan of this movie and later played the Beast in Faerie Tale Theatre: Beauty and the Beast (1984), where the costumes and make-up were inspired by this film.
1 of 1 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
The song "All Night Long" by Peter Murphy uses an audio extract spoken by Jean Marais taken from this film.
Is this interesting? Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink

Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

Jean Cocteau intentionally made the Beast a sympathetic character and his alter ego the Prince a over-sentimental and saccharine character: "My aim was to make the Beast so human, so superior to men, that his transformation into Prince Charming would come as a terrible blow to Beauty, condemning her to a humdrum marriage and future; it would expose the naivete of the old fairy tale that conventional good looks are ideal". The contrasting approach worked; so popular was Jean Marais as the Beast, that when he was transformed at the end back to human form, Greta Garbo famously said "Give me back my Beast!", Marlene Dietrich cried "Where is my beautiful Beast?", and letters poured in from matrons, teenage girls and children complaining to Cocteau and Marais about the transformation.
The stream that the Beast tries to drink from when he is weak and dying is actually a sewage runoff behind the studio.

See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

Contribute to This Page