Jean CocteauFrance93 minutes1946French
Jean Cocteau brings a dash of Freud to his classic version of the beloved fairy tale. Jean Marais stars as the werewolf-like beast who resides within a magical castle, where the beauteous and virtuous Belle (Josette Day) comes to do penance for her father's crimes and finds herself unexpectedly falling in love with her tragically cursed captor. The fantastic sets, the dreamlike photography of Henri Alekan, a magnificent music score by Georges Auric, and Cocteau's sly teasing out of the perverse psychological undercurrents of the much-told tale combine to create "the most perfect cinematic fable ever told. After Méliès, only Cocteau has understood that perfect simplicity is required to tell a fairy tale — and that nothing but the power of pure cinema is needed to create awe and wonder" (Guillermo del Toro).