Thursday, 27 October 2016

La Belle et La Bête review

(Figure1) La Belle et la Bête [Poster]

La Belle et La Bête(see fig1) or in english: Beauty and the Beast, was produced in 1946, directed by Jean Cocteau, it tells the story of a man who picks a rose from a beasts(see fig2) garden, the beast gives him the choice of either dying or giving the beast one of the mans daughters, "Belle" the youngest daughter takes the mans place but the beast falls in love with her, as the story progresses she slowly falls for the beast who transforms into the handsome prince he once was.

The film uses visuals to tell the story more than it's dialogue which is far more life-like in acting, the characters natures are always coherent and really feels like something said characters would do in the situations they are placed in, from Ludovic (Belle's brother) teasing his sisters to how Avenant (Ludovics friend) attempted to slay the beast to win Belle's heart.

(Figure2) The Beast [Still]

Visually the film stuns it's audience with it's deep, dark shadows(see fig 3) and contrasting bright lighting that really puts emphasis on what is going on rather than having the set pieces take precedence over the actors.
A lot of the movie is filmed at "Raray" a commune in northern France, praised for being a beautiful place: '
many of the exteriors having been filmed for rare architectural vignettes at Raray, one of the most beautiful palaces and parks in all France' - Bosley Crowther (1947) 

(Figure3) The beasts dining hall [Still]

Upon release the film received critical acclaim, Bosley Crowther (mentioned above) was a critic in New York City at the time and reviewed the film: '
priceless fabric of subtle images,...a fabric of gorgeous visual metaphors, of undulating movements and rhythmic pace, of hypnotic sounds and music, of casually congealing ideas' Crowther obviously really enjoyed the film, praising it in all aspects but mostly focusing on how it was pieced together: 'fabric of subtle images,...a fabric of gorgeous visual metaphors' the fabric of the film that holds it all together that according to his statement was the visual side of the film.

Crowther was not the only reviewer of course, in 1999 Roger Ebert said: '
one of the most magical of all films" and "fantasy alive with trick shots and astonishing effects, giving us a Beast who is lonely like a man and misunderstood like an animal.' Evidently the film reaches deep into the human psyche and pulls fourth emotion and understanding, it's designed to make you care for a monster which at the time was not common at all.


  • La Belle et la Bête (1946) Directed by Jean Cocteau [Film] France: André Paulvé
  • Bosley Crowther (1947) Review of La Belle et la Bête: (Accessed 27/10/16)
  • Roger Ebert (1999) Review of Beauty and the Beast (Accessed 27/10/16)


  • Figure 1 La Belle et la Bête [Poster]
  • Figure 2 The Beast [Still]
  • Figure 3 The Beasts dining hall [Still]


  1. Hi David,

    Ok, it's time to really start digging deeper; spend less time on the quotes that are just describing the obvious (the Raray quote for example), and get stuck into the theory that is underpinning things... you have a quote, for example, that talks about the 'visual metaphors' - what are these, and why are they important? Or your quote that mentions the 'trick shots and astonishing effects' - how were these achieved? You might have also have discussed the collaboration between the director and the production designer... how Christian Bérard's designs fed into the final look of the film...

    1. Oh, i wasn't aware that it being filmed at "Rayray" was obvious, i honestly had no clue until i found that quote haha, well i'll keep trying to improve.

  2. ...also, check that you are formatting your bibliography and in-text references correctly!

    1. in what way is the bibliography incorrect? I thought it was:
      Title (date) director [Media] Location: Publisher ?

      or is it the references i'm doing incorrectly? even after reading the guide again i don't quite see what is incorrect.

    2. look at how you reference quotes for example - i.e. what happens after a quote when you include one in your review? The Harvard Method is quite clear: after a quote you need to give a citation, which looks like...?