<--Previous Review Click Here to Return to Index of Reviews
Click Here to Return to Home Page
Next Review-->
Click the Cover Picture or Title to purchase this item from Amazon.com -- a new browser window will open.

The Only One You Need
Beauty & the Beast
dir. Jean Cocteau


There hasn't been a better filmed version of "Beauty & the Beast" either before or since this film. ((I know Disney did a film with the same title, but it wasn't the real story.))

Most people ought to know the story -- the well-to-do merchant who loses everything, his one last chance to recoup that falls through, the journey through the spooky forest that leads to the magic castle, the rose the merchant picks for his daughter, the angry Beast who demands the merchant's life, Beauty's return to the Beast's castle in her father's place, ... and so on.

But you really don't KNOW the story till you see this film and let Cocteau make it clear for you.

Done on an obviously shoe-string budget, brilliantly applied, with camera-work and incredibly simple but effective "special effects" that truly enhance the story without calling undo attention to their own cleverness, with beautiful costume and makeup designs adding even more, this film is simply a visual treat. (An example of the simple-but-effective effects is Beauty's return to her father's home -- the actress stepped backward through a paper "wall"... and they ran the film backward.)

[This film is/was good enough that when the cable "Faerie Tale Theatre" series did "B&B", they basically did a 60-minute remake in color of this film, including most of the visual touches, especially the Beast's makeup.]

Beautiful, dreamlike and entrancing.

(Additionally, for further appreciation of the nuances of the story, one perhaps should read Robin McKinley's two retellings, "Beauty" and "Rose Daughter" - read "Beauty" first, or if you only read one, make it that one.)