This ravishingly beautiful 4K restoration of Jean Cocteau’s much loved Gothic fantasy Classics: is a sublime adaptation of Mme Leprince de Beaumont’s fairy-tale masterpiece in which the pure love of a beautiful girl melts the heart of a feral but gentle beast is a landmark of motion picture fantasy, with unforgettably romantic performances by Jean Marais and Josette Day. The spectacular visions of enchantment, desire, and death in Beauty and the Beast (La belle et la bête) have become timeless icons of cinematic wonder.
With its enchanted castle featuring fantastic living statuary and Cocteau’s lover Jean Marais starring as a Beast who is at once brutal and gentle, rapacious and vulnerable, shamed and repelled by his own bloodlust.
La Belle et la Bête remains a pinnacle of the cinematic Gothic imagination. As Marina Warner has written, ‘the film unfolds to a perfectly poised slow tempo in surreal settings that gain intensity from the fabulous decor and costumes, the glittering lighting and the many moments of magic effects.
The candle-lit shadow-play deepens the gothic atmosphere of the beast’s castle, harking back to early expressionist classics of the genre.’ This new restoration by SNC/Groupe M6 and the Cinémathèque Française uses the notes and reference prints made by cinematographer Henri Alekan for the 1995 restoration, as well as the diary kept by Cocteau during filming, which has provided valuable evidence of his ambitions for the look and sound of the film.
Dir. Jean Cocteau, René Clément, France, 1947, 93 min, French movie
Cast: Jean Marais, Josette Day, Mila Parély
P.S note that this film is a oniric masterpiece and that the story told in this adaptation has nothing, but nothing in common (apart from the title that should have been changed), with the ignoble « singerie » of the film Walt Disney. It must be said that is in very bad taste.
The version with Vincent Cassel, Léa Seydoux by Christophe Gans is really successful in comparison.
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