Thursday, February 23, 2006

My favorite movie

I listed some of my favorite movies a while ago. Most of them are the Busby Berkely musicals from the early thirty’s. Most of the rest are Fred Astair and Ginger Rogers flicks. Guess I have a thing for all the choreography and swirling around. A while back I found a CD of Fred Astair singing the songs from his movies and it’s on my top play list – he’s pretty good at those types of songs.

For something completely different – I was just on the MGM Grand web site, and they are having Tom Jones back in the small showroom. With Englebert Humperdink and Barry Manilow having shows in town it’s like old singer month, t to mention the Rolling Stones show in March (oops, just mentioned it, didn’t I?)

Back to the movies.

One of the other movies on my list is one that I think very few people have seen. It’s Jean Cocteau’s La belle et la bete (Beauty and the Beast). It’s black and white, made in 1946 in France. I had a video disk of it years ago, which unfortunately I loaned to somebody that never gave it back. Thinking about it when I made up the last list prompted me to go searching, and I found that Barnes & Noble carries the Criterion Collection of DVDs. I ordered two and over the past two weeks I have watched it four times. Last night, instead of getting to bed early in preparation for my 3am wake up call, I watched it again on my PC and captured some screen images to show you.

I majored in photographic illustration back in college (no, not computers, that’s an earlier posted story), and my heart still is with well made imagery. Still photos and well made movies are a joy. (look at Deana's b&w shots of the snow for some good images). I cannot really show how very nicely this movie comes across. The scenes are all kind of misty and faded, things are just a little strange, but it all works very well.

It’s from an old French fairy tale, the love story of a beautiful woman and a beast. I think the Disney version was created after Walt saw this movie, but cartoons have no where near the style of this. So, here are lots of shots – it was hard paring down to just these, there are so many interesting scenes.

Let’s open with Belle and the man chasing after her in the ‘real’ world.

(love his hair)

The story movies to Belle’s father traveling through the scary woods at night, and coming across a castle where he spends the night.

It’s hard to see, but there are faces in the fireplace that talk to each other, and arms holding candles that point the way.

Father finds a meal at the table and falls asleep in his chair.

There is another arm holding the candles on the table, which pours his wine for him.

After taking a rose for his daughter, the beast appears.

Remember, it’s 1946 makeup and special effects, the actor spent five hours having all the hair applied (no, they didn’t get a wookie to play the part, sorry Chewie).

Eventually Belle travels to the castle and wanders around by herself quite a lot. But eventually she spends some time with the beast.

The bedroom she gets is really interesting - full of plants and billowy window coverings.

She does end up with some pretty fancy gowns.

After a while she gets to go home and spend some quality time with her family.

This version seems to mix a little with Cinderella - Belle also has two wicked sisters, and she does all the cleaning and cooking and dirty work while they dress in fancy pretend clothes and go to the fancy ball without her.

But back at the castle the beast also gets to wear some fancy togs.

I just love the little crown she wears.

That’s my taste of the film – no, I am not going to tell you how it ends. Track down the film for yourself to find out. I have no idea if it’s like the cartoon, that one I haven’t seen. The B&B on Ice show was here last week, I wasn’t tempted to go to that one either. Dancing teapots, oh my. There are no teapots in this version.

Sorry, but this has absolutely nothing to do with Vegas, but it's my blog and I can put up what I want.

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