Monday, 4 November 2013

La Belle et la Bête - Film Review

From the start of this film I was captured and wanted to follow Beauty and her story, treated as a slave in her home, the audience already begin to feel sympathy towards her. Set in a small village with old stone cottage-homes and cobbled streets, the residents travelled by horseback. The “credible French country landscape contains not just the realistic home of Beauty but also the weird, enchanted domicile of the Beast." (Malcolm, 1999). When Beauty’s father sets off one day through the mystical and enchanting forest he stumbles upon the Beast’s Lair and after trespassing through his private dwelling and picking a rose from his garden, the Beast confronts him and threatens to kill him. The Beast lets him free on the condition that one of his daughters takes his place, when he returns home, Beauty sacrifices herself. She arrives through a big, arched door; wooden, with lots of bolts, bewildered by her surroundings. It is clear to see how much Disney was influenced by Cocteau’s creation when they remade the film in colour animation in 1991, “From the long corridor of candelabra, held out from the walls by living arms, (Figure 1) to the glittering temple of Diana, wherein the mystery of the Beast is revealed, the visual progression of the fable into a dream-world casts its unpredictable spell.” (Crowther, 1947). Disney’s Lumière character (Figure 2) was one of the ideas that were most obviously kept from the original film and I also thought that the re-made animated Beast still looked fairly similar (Figure 3).  

As Beauty dined in the Beast’s castle, she sat in a chair that was like an intricately detailed throne; with beautifully carved patterns and it seems very ironic to me how such an ugly beast could acquire such an enchanting and magical home. It is juxtaposed as two extremes to great effect and his home is made out to be his main power in gradually charming and winning over Beauty as she is not used to such kind treatment. At one point, Beauty is walking about the castle’s gloomy hallways and there are some very thin, kind of curtains by the window that slowly move with the wind and brush against her (Figure 4). I feel that many of the elements of the Beast’s luxury lair are representative of Beauty and as if she has always been part of his surroundings.

There was a certain shot in the film that I really liked and thought was quite cleverly done but unfortunately I can’t find an image for it, it was when Beauty first encountered the Beast and fainted in shock. The camera changed from being in the scene outside to then inside the castle and looking out through the window at them. What I liked about it in particular was that the window had a kind of ‘lattice’ style design and one of these squares in the window was being used to frame what was going on outside and aim at a point of focus for the audience. It also made the connection with Beauty and the Beast seem more intimate as he carried her away to safety.



Crowther, B. (1947) La Belle et la Bete (1946) THE SCREEN IN REVIEW at 

(Accessed 4/11/12)

Malcolm, D. (1999) Jean Cocteau: La Belle et La Bête at 
(Accessed 4/11/12)


Figure 1 – Corridor of candelabra
(Accessed 4/11/12)

Figure 2 – Disney’s Lumière and Beast
(Accessed 4/11/12)

Figure 3 – Cocteau’s Beast
 (Accessed 4/11/12)

Figure 4 – Curtains in hallway
(Accessed 4/11/12)


  1. Hi Megan!
    Another thoughtful review... :)

    A couple of points - try not to write in the first person, as this takes away from the academic tone of the writing. So instead of saying something like 'From the start of this film I was captured and wanted to follow Beauty and her story', you could say 'From the start of this film the audience is captured and wants to follow Beauty and her story.'

    Always keep the content positive, so don't apologise for things you have not been able to include, such as the missing image of Belle fainting...just describe the scene, and let your words paint the picture for the reader.
    On the subject of images, make sure they are big enough to show the reader what it is you are describing - at the moment figs 1,2 and 3 are so small, most of the detail has been lost! Figure 4 is ideal :)

    You still need to polish up your bibliography a bit, in terms of what is in italics, and your image list is still missing some components - look again here ...