The BFI proudly presents the original film version of the fairy-tale masterpiece in High Definition for the first time in the UK
Jean Cocteau’s enchanting screen version of the popular fairy-tale by Madame Leprince de Beaumont is one of the most imaginative films of the French cinema. Now this landmark feat of cinematic fantasy gets a BFI release in High Definition for the first time in the UK, released on Blu-ray this week (Monday 6 August).
Josette Day is luminous yet feisty as Beauty who agrees to go and live at the Beast’s remote chateau as punishment after her father steals a rose from the garden of the fearsome monster. Jean Marais (Cocteau’s favourite actor) 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.
• Newly presented in High Definition from the French 4K restoration (by SNC and the Cinémathèque française)
• Audio commentary by cultural historian Sir Christopher Frayling
• Des Réves de Cocteau en numerérique, l’aventure de la Belle et la bête (2013, 51 min). This documentary includes interviews with author Dominique Marny, amongst others
• Christian Bérard et Jean Cocteau, deux magiciens du spectacle (2013, 24 min) This featurette looks at the working relationship between Bérard and Cocteau
• Deleted scenes (6 min)
• Barbe Bleue (1938, 13 min): The 1995 restoration of René Bertrand’s colourful all-signing claymation based on Charles Perrault’s Bluebeard
• Original theatrical trailer
• BFI trailer (2013)
• Stills gallery
• Illustrated booklet with essays and full film credits