Jean Cocteau

T. it.: La bella e la bestia. T. int.: Beauty and the Beast. Sog.: dal racconto omonimo di Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont. Scen., Dial.: Jean Cocteau. F.: Henri Alekan. M.: Claude Ibéria. Scgf.: Christian Bérard. Mus.: Georges Auric. Su.: Jacques Carrère, Jacques Lebreton. Int.: Jean Marais (Avenant/La Bestia/Il principe), Josette Day (Belle), Mila Parély (Félicie), Nane Germon (Adélaïde), Marcel André (padre di Belle), Michel Auclair (Ludovic), Jean Cocteau (narratore). Prod.: André Paulvé per Discina. Pri. pro.: 29 ottobre 1946 DCP. D.: 94’. Bn.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

The notes and reference copies made by Henri Alekan during the 1995 restoration have been used. The diary kept by Cocteau during filming (La Belle et la Bête, Journal d’un Film) has also provided the precious indications regarding tone and visual quality that the director wanted.

Everybody knows the story by Madame Leprince de Beaumont, a story often attributed to Perrault, because it is found next to Peau d’Ane between those bewitching covers of the Bibliothèque Rose. The postulate of the story requires faith, the faith of childhood. I mean that one must believe implicitly at the very beginning and not question the possibility that the mere picking of a rose might lead a family into adventure, or that a man can be changed into a beast, and vice versa. Such enigmas offend grown-ups who are readily prejudiced, proud of their doubt, armed with derision. But I have the impudence to believe that the cinema which depicts the impossible is apt to carry conviction, in a way, and may be able to put a ‘singular’ occurrence into the plural. It is up to us (that is, to me and my unit – in fact, one entity) to avoid those impossibilities which are even more of a jolt in the midst of the improbable than in the midst of reality. For fantasy has its own laws which are like those of perspective. You may not bring what is distant into the foreground, or render fuzzily what is near. The vanishing lines are impeccable and the orchestration so delicate that the slightest false note jars. I am not speaking of what I have achieved, but of what I shall attempt within the means at my disposal.
My method is simple: not to aim at poetry. That must come on its own accord. The mere whispered mention of its name frightens it away. I shall try to build a table. It will be up to you then to eat at it, to examine it or to chop it for the firewood.

Jean Cocteau, Beauty and the Beast. Diary of a Film, Dove Publications, New York 1972

Copy From

Restored by SNC – Groupe M6 and La Cinémathèque française, with the support of Fonds Culturel Franco Américain – DGA MPAA SACEM WGAW