Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Jean Cocteau's La Belle et la Bête (1946)

 Figure 1. La Belle et la Bête Poster

 La Belle et la Bête is a fantastical retelling of the popular fairytale ‘Beauty and the Beast’. As Crowther states in his review it’s “telling a familiar fairy-tale with pure imagery and enchantment through the sensuous devices of the screen” (Crowther, unknown). Aided well by it’s design it certainly seems magical and much like a fairytale.

Figure 2. Dining Hall Still

What’s magical about La Belle et la Bête is the way the special effects are done as Harley says “The simple and surreal effects bind the spell: by using the tangible magic of hands through walls, moving statues, steamy paws and the rest, Cocteau makes rapt believers of us all – adults and children alike.” (Harley, 2013). Though this is not realistic the effects instead look dreamlike and fit in well with the fairytale setting of the film. This films effects instead appeal to the children within us rather than the realistic thoughts of an adult. 

Figure 3. Castle Still

The film also has a very elegant set design especially within the beasts’ castle. In his article Caldwell mentions that “the gorgeous production design and magical special effects go a long way in making it palatable” (Caldwell, 2011). The production design in the film has been deeply considered, with small elements making the elegance and beauty shine through. For example as shown in Figure 3 the soft net curtains that drape as Belle explores the castle add to the overall look of glamour in the castle. There are also the objects in her room which add to the grandness of this fairytale remake.

La Belle et la Bête is an inspiration to production designers and an example of making your props and set feel as if it is part of the same world.

Illustration List
Cocteau , J (1946) Figure 1. La Belle et la Bête Poster http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-HLiVENnEnMk/T3l3ZJ3YnXI/AAAAAAAAA3w/GfL-gJnuACc/s1600/full.labelleetlabete+47x63+9347+.jpg (Accessed on 4/11/14)
Cocteau , J  (1946) Figure 2. Dining Hall Still http://image.toutlecine.com/photos/b/e/l/belle-et-la-bete-1946-28-g.jpg (Accessed on 4/11/14)
Cocteau , J  (1946) Figure 3. Castle Still http://thepandorian.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/pdvd_022.jpg (Accessed on 4/11/14)

Harley, K (2013) http://www.totalfilm.com/reviews/cinema/la-belle-et-la-bete (Accessed on 4/11/14)



  1. Hi Kayliegh!
    Good to see these reviews coming through :)

    I will comment on this one, but it the comments stand for Black Narcissus too. Just a couple of points really... firstly, make sure that you italicise your quotes - this just helps separate them form your text a bit. Also, double check what you need in your bibliography as at the moment, you are missing some of the required information - look here - http://community.ucreative.ac.uk/Harvard-Referencing

    1. I'll go edit that now! I've also just realised myself that I've missed the 'accessed on' part sorry about that!