Wednesday, 11 November 2015

La Belle et la Bête (1946)

La Belle et la Bête (1946) directed by Jean Cocteau is a live action black and white film based on the 1756 novel written by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, it is a rendition which sticks closely to the original story of La Belle et la Bête giving the whole film its dark and creepy undertone (visible in fig 2) and it is also the first rendition made from the novel.

 Figure 1: La Belle et la Bete poster

The film begins to unravel as a Beauty's father goes in search for a man of wealth to marry one of his daughter, in his travels for such a man her father comes across a palace and a garden graced with roses. In remembering that Beauty wanted a rose from his travels her father takes a single rose, a point in the film in which the Beast emerges from hiding and confronts her father explaining that for such thievery he should kill him. In his pleading the Beast offers him a deal, that one of his daughters are to take his place and that he should not kill her in his place. He flees on a horse provided by the Beast which will bring the daughter back to him within 3 days or else the Beast will take his life.

Upon his return he explains to his daughters his encounter with the Beast over the rose and the deal which was made. Beauty, feeling guilty about her request of the rose takes to the stables and leaves on Magnificent (the Beast's horse) towards the palace in order to fulfill her fathers deal. upon arriving Beauty comes across the Beast and discovers the rules of the deal in which she has taken upon herself. As the film progresses the Beast begins to slowly develop feelings for Beauty, presenting her with gifts. luxury and multiple proposals. Further on into the film Beauty begins to warm up to the Beast, although she only becomes more infatuated with him after he allows her to return home for 7 days.

Figure 2: Beauty within her room in the castle

Once Beauty returns to visit her sick father using a glove of teleportation given by the Beast. She tells those close to her of her encounters and stay with the Beast, Beauty then begins to put off her return and in her absence the Beast begins to slowly die as a result of Beauty not fulfilling her promise. When Beauty discovers the Beast's condition she returns to him, however Avenant and Ludvic, after discovering the Beast's treasure, also set off towards the palace in the aim to claim it for themselves and to also slay the Beast. As Ludvic and Avenant discover the Beast's treasure, Avenant is soon killed by a magical statue, from which point the Beast and Avenant than trade bodies, leaving the Beast living and Avenant dead inside of the previous body of the Beast. Beauty, after becoming accustomed to this transformation tells the Beast of her feelings, from where the Beast tells her they will return to his Kingdom and live out the rest of their lives.

The sets within this film are spectacular, from the overgrown nature to the dark furniture which shows the Hierarchy of the Beast. "With interiors that owe much to the paintings of Doré and Vermeer" Doré (fig 3) and Vermeer influence can be clearly seen in Cocteau's master piece with its dark and creepy forest, the lighting on the set, the décor of the rooms and also in the appearance of the Beasts features. It can also be inferred that Cocteau's set design for the film such as the hands in the wall and moving 'furniture' has influenced other directors "Did Polanski take something from this for his nightmare scenes in Repulsion?". When looking at the overall set designs, it is clearly thought out as to how it all operates from the human organs within the walls, to doors opening and closing without any force from another being - again making the whole film feel more creepy but also it makes it function well together. 

Figure 3: Gustav Doré painting

Cocteau's rendition is clearly one for a more mature audience rather than a younger one with its dark themes and mature story line, it is a great creation in terms of cinema and set design albeit only for a more mature audience. David Parkinson goes on to mention the films "Exquisite costumes", the costumes can be used to show the class of the characters within the film. For example the Beast is portrayed in elegant clothing fit for someone who is of high aristocracy or importance, whereas Beauty at the beginning is shown to be wearing little clothing - showing the wealth she does not have and therefore creating a barrier which separates her from the Beast but also adding to the romance of the story.


Cocteau. J - Beauty and the Beast: Diary of a Film (1972)

Parkinson. D - (2 quotes)

Bradshaw. P -


Figure 1 -

Figure 2 -

Figure 3 -

1 comment:

  1. Hi Danni,

    You have something strange going on here with your font... you have a combination of white, black and grey, which is making it difficult to read certain bits.

    Have another look at the referencing guide please, as you are still not referencing the quotes, or including all the required elements in the bibliography... have a look here -