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.