When Beauty (the suitably ravishing Josette Day) arrives at the Beast's enchanted castle, she finds candelabras held aloft by living human arms extending from the walls, mirrors and doors that whisper ominously in her ears, and statues that watch her from their darkened alcoves with cold, inquisitive eyes. This sure as heck ain't the Disney version. There are no singing tchotchkes here (although this film's Beauty is surrounded by furniture a good deal more animated than she might care for), and Jean Marais' Beast is a world away from Robbie Benson; he's a fearsome, pitiful creature with eyes that glow in the darkness and hands that smoke whenever he kills. Marais is nothing short of magnificent in the part, and his performance is all the more extraordinary when you factor in the Chewbacca-like makeup he's somehow managing to emote through. Cocteau's lyrical, surreal, 1946 adaptation of Mme. Marie Leprince de Beaumont's fairy tale (this "tale as old as time" actually dates back a mere two centuries) is at once darker and more magical than anything today's Disney studio could ever dream up. History credits Cocteau with many achievements—filmmaker, playwright, poet, essayist, painter, actor, et al.—but this film proves that there is yet another title Cocteau deserved: master sorcerer. A discussion will be hosted... More >>>