Once upon a time, in a world of magic and wonder, the true love of a beautiful girl may finally dispel the torment of a feral but gentle-hearted beast. Beauty and the Beast (La belle et la bête) is a landmark feat of cinematic fantasy in which master filmmaker Jean Cocteau conjures spectacular visions of enchantment, desire, and death that have never been equaled. The Criterion Collection proudly presents the original film version of Mme. Leprince de Beaumont’s fairy-tale masterpiece. —The Criterion Collection
More than simply one of avant-garde’s most successful and influential filmmakers, Jean Cocteau ranked among the century’s most diversely talented artists, also enjoying success as an accomplished poet, novelist, and illustrator. Cocteau was born July 5, 1889, in France and was raised primarily in Paris. Educated at the Lycee Condorcet, he became infatuated with another boy, Pierre Dargelos; their relationship was never consummated, and Pierre’s ghost often haunted Cocteau’s later adult work, his image embodying recurring themes of longing and solitude. He made his first splash while still a teen, reading his poetry at the Theatre Femina as a protégé of the actor Edouard de Max and becoming a darling of the intellectual set. By the middle of World War I, he was composing for the Ballets Russes, for Parade, which featured decor by no less a figure than Pablo Picasso, and music from Erik Satie, premiering in 1917. His subsequent wartime experiences later became the subject of a 1923 novel… read more
Before there was Disney there was poetry.. In Cocteau's magical and enduring fairy tale the prevailing tone is sad and sinister, notably in the depiction of the beast himself and his baroque castle. At the time of release the innovative camera tricks astonished audiences of the day and they still enchant years later. The film is superbly shot in gorgeous monochrome and is every bit as enchanting as Cocteau intented..
Simultaneously one of cinema's most magical fairy tales and a tremendous subversion of fairy tales. That Cocteau, he's a sly one. 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Jean Cocteau has a secret weapon: Jean Marais’ eyes.
The Keep plays as part of a 10-film Michael Mann retrospective at Chicago’s Doc Films on October 5th . *** A little fairy tale: wayward German
The story of a young maiden’s journey that leads her to discover the true feelings deep in her heart. Beautiful film, beautiful fairy tale. A magical film filled with fantasy and adventure. The words… read review
Beautiful and original stagecraft; even the Beast looks genuinely scary at times. The film is mostly a faithful adaptation of the story, except that here the beast’s metamorphosis does not seem like… read review