Daily Archives: January 23, 2015

Flashback Friday-Beauty And The Beast (1946)

Many of us know have seen at least once the 1991 Disney adaptation of Beauty And the Beast.

But there is another Beauty And The Beast movie (based on the original fairy tale), which to me, is a far better movie.

In 1946, La Belle Et La Bete (translated to Beauty And The Beast in English) was released.

Belle (Josette Day) is the youngest daughter of a once wealthy merchant who lost his fortune when the ships carrying his cargo drowned. While her siblings keep spending money that they do not have, Belle has taken on the role of family servant.  Avenant (Jean Marais) is a friend of Belle’s brother, who would like nothing more than to marry Belle. But she is uninterested in him.

While crossing through a dark forest at night, Belle’s father is welcomed into a castle the seems empty. On his way out, he steals a rose, an act which angers the beast (also Jean Marais) that owns the castle.  Belle’s father has two options: sacrifice his life or send one of his daughters in his stead. Taking her father’s place, Belle rides to the Beast’s castle, not knowing what or who is waiting for her.

Unlike the Disney movie, which is a bit simple (I love that movie, but it’s oversimplified in terms of character), this movie is full of psychological symbolism and not for young children. One of the most fascinating elements of this movie is not the movie, but what was going on in the world at the time. This movie was released just after World War II, when Europe was relying on the Marshall Plan to help rebuild from the destruction that the war created.

I highly recommend this movie.

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Flashback Friday- Mid 90’s Cartoons- The Lion King (1994) & Space Jam (1996)

The 1990’s produced a vast array of entertainment, especially for younger audiences. The Lion King (1994) and Space Jam (1996) are two of these movies.

The Lion King

Simba (voiced as a cub by Jonathan Taylor Thomas and by Matthew Broderick as an adult) is a young lion prince in the jungle. When his uncle Scar (Jeremy Irons), accuses Simba of murdering his father by starting a wildebeest stampede, Simba runs. Years later, when he comes face to face with his past, Simba must decide to run or face his demons.

I like this movie. Taking a break from their traditional fairy tale/prince and princess/happily ever after storyline, the good people at Disney took a risk with this movie. The risk paid off. The movie won multiple awards and it’s Broadway incarnation has been playing for nearly 20 years. What I find interesting is that this movie could be construed as, Hamlet in the jungle. But that’s fine, because it is an enjoyable film.

Space Jam

Michael Jordan (playing himself) must help the Looney Tunes gang win a game of basketball against aliens who have stolen the abilities of well known NBA players.

Michael Jordan was the king of basketball in the 1990’s. So it made perfect sense to cast him rather than cast an actor and teach them how to play. This movie is not for everyone, but it is entertaining and it has a message about self esteem at it’s core, a message I think we all need to hear every once in a while.

I recommend it.

 

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Flashback Friday- The New World (2005)

The story of Pocahontas is a well known story. The question is, after all of these centuries, how much of the information that we know about her is fact and how much is myth?

The 2005 film, The New World is the story of Pocahontas and John Smith. But unlike the 1995 Disney film Pocahontas, The New World tries to use fact and historical evidence to tell as truthful a tale as can be told.

Pocahontas (Q’orianka Kilcher) is the favorite daughter of an Indian chief. Captain Smith (Colin Farrell) is nearly hung for mutiny, but saved. In the English colony of Jamestown, Virginia, a theft occurs. The punishment is violent and swift. Captured by the local Indian tribe, Captain Smith is saved by Pocahontas. The relationship develops, but when it is discovered, they are separated and punished by their own people.  Pocahontas and John Smith meet again years later. Believing that the Captain is dead, Pocahontas has converted to Christianity and married another man.

What I like about this movie is that the creative team took time to do their research. This movie feels very authentic for the period, as does the actors. Unlike the Disney movie, the performer playing Pocahontas was closer to the age of the real Pocahontas than the Disney movie version of her was.

I recommend it.

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