Beauty and the Beast

1946

Drama / Fantasy / Romance

11
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 95%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 90%
IMDb Rating 8 10 21522

Synopsis


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720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
770.16 MB
988*720
French
NR
24 fps
1hr 36 min
P/S 5 / 8
1.48 GB
1472*1072
French
NR
24 fps
1hr 36 min
P/S 6 / 26

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Spondonman 9 / 10

Magical Misty Tour de force

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.

Reviewed by EThompsonUMD 10 / 10

A Great Freudian Fable

To a degree of success few films have ever achieved, Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast (1946) balances film's opposite yet equal capacities to record life as it is and to create completely imaginary landscapes via editing and optical effects. Most Cocteau films veer heavily toward the fantastic, the mythic, the poetic, or the surrealistic, but in Beauty he rendered a mise en scene based largely on 18th century Dutch painting, employed an invisible camera and editing style, and relied on conventional storytelling techniques in order to make his retelling of the classic fairy tale as realistic as possible. Nevertheless, Beauty and the Beast is primarily noted as among the most successful adaptations of a fairy tale ever made and one of the greatest fantasy films of any type. And this is true despite Cocteau's enormous handicap of working in a recently war-ravaged country with minimal financial and technical resources.

One influential and provocative interpretative approach to Beauty and the Beast is through Freudian psychology. From this perspective, Beauty's story is a symbolic sexual drama in which a young woman breaks free from a psychologically incestuous relationship with her father (and brother?), overcomes her fear of male sexuality and of her own, and ultimately enters mature womanhood.

Strong evidence to support this interpretation can be found in the framing of the film's opening and closing scenes. In the film's opening scene Belle's suitor, Avenant, shoots a (phallic) arrow that misses its ostensible target and enters a ladies-only bedchamber where it lands across the mirror image of Belle on the floor she is polishing. Uninvited, Avenant invades the bedchamber, retrieves the arrow, and uses it to embrace/restrain Belle. He then proposes marriage, and - when he is denied - forces his attention on Belle with something close to physical assault. From a Freudian perspective, Avenant represents the unleashed libido that Belle is not psychologically or culturally prepared to confront directly.

Avenant, in turn, receives his just comeuppance in the film's final scene when he is slain by an arrow from the bow of Diana, protector of chastity and the presiding goddess in the Beast's garden pavilion. Entry to this pavilion (female sexual nature), is permissible only by using a golden key, dominion over which the Beast has chivalrously granted to Belle. (i.e. the woman says when) Yet with the aid of Belle's evil and duplicitous older sisters, Avenant comes into false possession of the golden key. This alone would negate the legitimacy of his entry to the pavilion, but he decides to enter even more illicitly by smashing the hymen-like glass portal hidden on the building's roof, thus prompting his ironic execution via the same phallic symbol with which his pursuit of Belle had begun.

This framing symmetry of two spatial "violations" in the opening and closing scenes of the film is not accidental. It underlines the difference between the Beast's tempered, courtly masculinity and Avenant's unrestrained ego and desire. The film ends not only with the Beast's transformation into the handsome prince thanks to Belle's loving gaze, but also with the transformation of Avenant into the guise of the beast, a physical manifestation of his unrestrained inner animal. That Avenant, the Beast, and the Prince are played by the same actor suggests their Freudian interplay of id, superego, and ego - which Belle is also working out in feminine terms as she resists and then accepts the journey from her father's house, through the Beast's castle, and on to her married royal destiny.

Many scenes throughout Beauty and the Beast acquire added depth through a Freudian approach. The cutting of the rose in the Beast's garden, for instance, can be seen as a symbolic violation that evokes the Beast and begins the liberation of Belle from bondage to her father and evil-sister Mother substitutes. Edited in jump cuts, the threshold scene when the Beast first carries Belle into her castle bedchamber depicts the repeated transformation of Belle's costume from servant/child to woman/bride, the very journey she must undertake as she leaves her "maidenhood" and her father's house and accepts her passage to adult female sexuality and maturity.

Belle's journey between the Merchant's house and the Beast's castle is facilitated by two decidedly Freudian symbols of masculine sexuality: the horse, Magnificent, and the Beast's hunting gloves, steaming with the blood and scent of his animal/masculine power. Indeed, the magic words that Belle must say to prompt Magnificent's gallop back to the castle indicate the psychological necessity of her journey: "go where I am going! Go, go, go!" The relatively more subtle symbol of the stallion as agent of transportation is later replaced by the glove which not only steams with the Beast's masculine power, but which she dons while reclined on the respective beds of her bed chambers in the Castle and the Merchant's house.

That Belle's journey of maturation must be undertaken, despite her reluctance, is most poignantly underscored in the scenes of Belle's return to the Merchant's house after she has lived for a while in the Beast's castle. In her father's house, she rapidly regresses to the physical and psychological bondage that had characterized her condition at the beginning of the film - only now the audience, if not Belle herself - is painfully aware of the arrested development it represents.

Like so many Greta Garbos, we want her out of the there and back with the Beast where she belongs!

Reviewed by dbdumonteil 10 / 10

From the fairy tale to Cocteau.

In France ,the fairy tale "La Belle et la Bête " is a classic by Madame Leprince de Beaumont.Try to read it if you haven't because you will realize that although Cocteau adapted the story,he took it to new limits ,he dramatically expanded the scope,and most of all,he wiped out an obsolete grating moral.

Mrs De Beaumont's fairy tale insists on virtue ,her story takes virtue over beauty,wit or anything life can bring.The two bad gals are strictly punished at the end of the story:they become statues at the gate of their sister's palace but -supreme humiliation-,they will keep their mind beneath the stone which covers them ,and thus be able to watch their sister's happiness.

While keeping the two sisters' characters,Cocteau leaves the "moral " angle far behind magic,symbolism,surrealism and psychoanalysis.Jean Marais plays three parts:Avenant,la Belle's suitor ,the Beast (four hours of make-up and terrible sufferings during the shooting:Jean Marais was one of the greatest actors France ever had -proof positive was that the new wave (with the exception of jacques Demy) clique never used him-,and the prince.These three entities that finally make one predates Bruno Bettelheim by thirty years:this is not only because Belle does not want to leave her father that she does not want to marry Avenant:she's afraid of the man,he's the real beast.This triple part is Cocteau's genius.Cocteau dropped out the good fairy who appears in a Belle's dream and then at the end of Leprince de Beaumont's story when she punishes the "vilainesses "and rewards the "good ones" Instead ,we have these sublime lines:

-You resemble someone I knew...

-Does it worry you?

-Yes ....(then a beaming face) No!!!

Two words coexist -like in the literary work-:the mundane bourgeois house of the merchant;the Bête's mansion,where everything is possible,where Cocteau uses special effect to create pure poetry,extraordinary enchantment .The two characters seem to act as if they are in a ballet. The passage between the two is first the mysterious forest.Then the Beast reveals his secrets five magic clues:the rose,the golden key,the glove,the ring and the mirror -some of them were in the story- and a horse "le magnifique" as the two worlds intertwines towards the end:Belle's room in her father 's room,in her room in the palace,Avenant coming to her rescue while the Beast is dying,the two characters soon to become one.

This is the best adaptation of a fairy tale for the screen.By writing the cast and credits on a blackboard,Cocteau winks at childhood -for a child he writes everything's possible -besides,it's because the prince did not believe in the fairies -all that is hidden for our poor rational spirit- that he was sentenced to his bestial life.Bruno Bettelheim thought children intuitively actually understood what lied beneath the fairy tales.They do not cry when the wolf eats the first two little pigs because thy do know that there is only one pig ,at three stages of its development.They won't cry when Avenant will be hit by Goddess Diana's arrow because they do understand in their subconscious that all in all,Avenant and the Beast are the same entity:beautiful prince,horrible

beast or simple young man share the same mystery.

Michel Tournier said that when his writing was at the height of its powers,he could appeal to children as well.Cocteau did the same for the seventh art.

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