Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Movie Moments 4: Candelabras, La Belle et La Bête

Simple Magic: La Belle et La Bête (Beauty and the Beast)

One of the defining events of my childhood was the season the local public television station ran a series of World Cinema Classics. It was around the same time I saw Play it Again, Sam (movie moment 1). This is when I first saw movies such as The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, The Seven Samurai, and Jean Cocteau's La Belle et La Bête (1946).
The magic of handheld candelabras bursting into flame as Beauty (Josette Day) enters the Beast's castle is unsurpassed. Like so many low-tech effects, it was achieved with a simple technique: Cocteau filmed each candle blowing out, and then ran the film in reverse.


ddip said...

Oh, how I lOVE(D) this movie! it holds up into adulthood. My favorite moment is when the Bete (Beast) cries when Beauty has to leave. His diamond tears sparkle on his furry face--I bet they were little plastic trinkets!

fresca said...

As I was hunting for an image of the candelabras I came across a reference to Cocteau's book "Diary of a Film," about the making of La Belle... and I intend to read it--would love to know more about it.
But no, no, I'm sure those were real diamond tears from the beautiful Beast!

momo said...

I had forgotten this until I read your post. Thanks for reminding me--now I will get the movie again and watch it!