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Beauty and the Beast

Draft Review by Dean Duncan May 26, 2015

Cocteau’s special effects (smoking beast, when Belle comes through the wall of her house) are just amazing, as is the decor and especially the matchless rendering of magic in the beast’s castle, as are the costumes, the relationship between Belle and Bete is a wonderful fairy tale like thing, and the touches that surround them–smoking, watching statues, reassembling pearl necklaces, automatically opening gates, magic mirrors, arm candelabras and the whole familiar litany, are just as wondrous as they’re made out to be; but in the real world, despite exemplary set design and still gleaming cinematography, things aren’t nearly as interesting; when the worlds collide, what? why is Marais playing both parts? this is all figure outable, but I never feel like making the attempt because I have to confess it kind of bores me; Orpheus does the same, which makes me think that the cool stuff isn’t so much Cocteau as his helpers