The British Film Institute has detailed its upcoming Blu-ray release of Jean Cocteau’s classic film Beauty and the Beast (1946), starring Jean Marais, Josette Day, Mila Parély, Nane Germon, and Michel Auclair. The release will be available for purchase on August 6.
Synopsis: Beauty and the Beast is a landmark feat of cinematic fantasy in which master filmmaker Jean Cocteau conjures spectacular visions of enchantment, desire and death. The BFI proudly presents the original film version of this fairy-tale masterpiece in High Definition for the first time in the UK.
Josette Day is luminous yet feisty as Beauty and Jean Marais gives one of his best performances as the Beast, at once brutal and gentle, rapacious and vulnerable, shamed and repelled by his own bloodlust.
Henri Alekan’s cinematography combines with Christian Bérard’s masterly costumes and set designs to create a magical piece of cinema: a children’s tale refashioned as a stylised, highly sophisticated dream.
Shipping starts on August 6, 2018
- Director: Jean Cocteau, René Clément
- Starring: Jean Marais, Josette Day, Mila Parély
- Country: France
- Production Year: 1946
- Discs: 1 Blu-ray Disc
- Region: B
- Run Time: 96 minutes
- Formats: Color; 1.37:1
- Audio: French
- Subtitle: Optional English
- AKA: La belle et la bête
- Studio: BFI Video (UK)
- 4K RESTORATION OF THE FILM, completed by SNC and the Cinémathèque française
- Feature commentary by cultural historian Sir Christopher Frayling
- Des Réves de Cocteau en numerérique, l’aventure de la Belle et la bête (2013, 51 mins)
- Christian Bérard et Jean Cocteau, deux magiciens du spectacle (2013, 24 mins)
- Deleted scenes (6 mins): film and audio clips from scenes that were not included in the final film
- Barbe Bleue (René Bertrand, 1938, 13 mins): an animated version of Perrault’s Bluebeard
- Original theatrical trailer
- BFI trailer (2013)
- Stills gallery
- Illustrated booklet with essays by Dr Deborah Allison, Marina Warner and George E Turner, and full film credits
- Optional English subtitles for the main feature
Notice: The picture quality of this video does not reflect the picture quality of the blu-ray or DVD in this package.
Beauty and the Beast: Fun Facts
1. The effect of the candles lighting themselves as the merchant passes them was achieved by blowing them out and then running the film in reverse as he walked backward past them. The entire sequence was done in one long take and reversed – a quick glimpse of the fireplace shows the flames appearing to move downward.
2.The look and decor of the film was influenced by the work of nineteenth-century artist and engraver Gustave Doré, most famous for illustrating a famous nineteenth century French edition of “Don Quixote”. Doré’s illustrations for that novel are so famous that they continue to be reprinted even today.
3. During the shooting of the film, Jean Cocteau became very ill because of a bad skin disease, and eventually had to be hospitalized. While he was recovering, René Clément served as the director.
4. Jean Cocteau used several different kinds of film stock because of the difficulty of getting stock immediately after the war. He claimed that the different visual textures added to the poetic effect of the film.
5. It took five hours for Jean Marais to put on his make-up as the Beast.
6. The costumes were manufactured at the workshop of the famous Paris couture house of Jeanne Lanvin, with the men’s costumes under the supervision of Lanvin designer Pierre Cardin
7. The first screening took place before the staff of the studio at Joinville. Jean Cocteau was so nervous, he invited his friend Marlene Dietrich, whose hand he held tightly as the film unwound. The response, however, was enthusiastic.