Beauty and the Beast
Classic 1947 movie (2003)
Starring: Jean Marais, Josette Day
Director: Jean Cocteau, René Clément
Format: Black & White, Dolby
Studio: Criterion Collection
DVD Release Date: February 11, 2003
- Commentary by writer/cultural historian Sir Christopher Frayling
- Commentary by film historian Arthur Knight
- Theatrical trailer(s)
- New high-definition transfer
- Original opera written for the film by renowned composer Philip Glass
- Screening at the Majestic, 1995 documentary featuring interviews with cast and crew
- Interview with cinematographer Henri Alekan
- Rare behind-the-scenes and publicity stills
- Original 1945 trailer narrated and directed by Cocteau
- A note about the film by Cocteau
- Film restoration demonstration
- 1995 restoration trailer
- A reprint of Mme. Leprince de Beaumont's original fable translated from the French
- Notes by Francis Steegmuller, from the definitive book Cocteau: A Biography
- New and improved English subtitle translation
Beauty and the Beast: Diary of a Film Book
Beauty and the Beast Video
Visionary filmmaker and poet Jean Cocteau responded to the terrors and creative constraints of occupied France with this elaborately realized take on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast. Suggested by his longtime collaborator and muse, French actor Jean Marais, the cinematic version of the fable first penned by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont became Cocteau’s most celebrated film. Cocteau renders the story of a gentlehearted beast in love with a simple and beautiful girl in the style of the luminous paintings of Dutch master Vermeer.
From the quaint and humorous scenes of Beauty’s happy home to the ominous surreal spectacle of the Beast’s enchanted estate, Cocteau transforms the simple tale of tragic love into a surreal vision of death, desire, and beauty.
Marais is chilling as the lonely and tormented beast, projecting a wounded love for the glacial yet endearing Beauty (Josette Day), whose simple request for a rose from her father brings tragedy crashing down on her whole family. Cocteau expands upon the cinematic inventiveness first seen in his masterpiece Blood of a Poet with mirrors made of water, living statues, and candelabras fashioned from living arms, transforming a children’s fable into a complex and radiant cinematic classic.
The making of La Belle et la Bete
Starring: Jean Cocteau
Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries.)
Format: Black & White, Box set
Studio: Criterion Collection
DVD Release Date: April 25, 2000
- The Three-Disc Box Set of Jean Cocteau's Orphic Trilogy Contains: The Blood of a Poet (1930, 50 min.), Orpheus (1949, 95 min.) & Testament of Orpheus (1959, 80 min.)
- Disc One: The Blood of a Poet, new transfer of the film with digitally restored sound, collection of rare behind-the-scenes photos, Edgardo Cozarinsky's renowned documentary Jean Cocteau: Autoportrait d'un Inconnu (Autobiography of an Unknown) (1983, 66 min.), transcript of Cocteau's lecture given at a 1932 screening, and a 1946 essay on the film by Cocteau, a Cocteau bibliofilmography, new English title translation
- Disc Two: Orpheus, new transfer of the film with digitally restored image and sound, Cocteau's essays on the film from 1950, new English title translation
- Disc Three: Testament of Orpheus, new transfer of the film with digitally restored image and sound, Villa Santo Sospir, a 16mm color film by Cocteau featuring many of the locations used in Testament of Orpheus, a collection of Cocteau's writings on Testament of Orpheus, a Cocteau bibliofilmography, new English title translation
- Number of discs: 3
Decadent, subversive, and bristling with artistic invention, the myth-born cinema of Jean Cocteau disturbs as much as it charms. Cocteau was the most versatile of artists in prewar Paris. Poet, novelist, playwright, painter, celebrity, and maker of cinema-his many talents converged in bold, dreamlike films that continue to enthrall audiences around the world. In The Blood of Poet, Orpheus, and Testament of Orpheus, Cocteau utilizes the Orphic myth to explore the complex relationships between the artist and his creations, reality and the imagination. The Criterion Collection is proud to present the DVD premiere of the Orphic Trilogy in a special limited-edition three-disc box set.
Blood of a Poet:
"Poets . . . shed not only the red blood of their hearts but the white blood of their souls," proclaimed Jean Cocteau of his groundbreaking first film-an exploration of the plight of the artist, the power of metaphor and the relationship between art and dreams. One of cinema's great experiments, this first installment of the Orphic Trilogy stretches the medium to its limits in an effort to capture the poet's obsession with the struggle between the forces of life and death. Criterion is proud to present The Blood of a Poet (Le Sang d'un poète).
Jean Cocteau's 1940s update of the Orphic myth depicts Orpheus (Jean Marais), a famous poet scorned by the Left Bank youth, and his love for both his wife Eurydice (Marie Déa) and the mysterious Princess (Maria Casarès). Seeking inspiration, the poet follows the Princess from the world of the living to the land of the deceased through Cocteau's trademark "mirrored portal." As the myth unfolds, the director's visually poetic style pulls the audience into realms both real and imagined in this, the centerpiece to his Orphic Trilogy. Criterion is proud to present Orpheus (Orphée) in a gorgeous new digital transfer.
Testament of Orpheus:
In his last film, legendary writer/artist/filmmaker Jean Cocteau portrays an 18th-century poet who travels through time on a quest for divine wisdom. In a mysterious wasteland, he meets several symbolic phantoms that bring about his death and resurrection. With an eclectic cast that includes Pablo Picasso, Jean-Pierre Leáud, Jean Marais and Yul Brynner, Testament of Orpheus (Le Testament de Orphée) brings full circle the journey Cocteau began in The Blood of a Poet, an exploration of the torturous relationship between the artist and his creations. Criterion is proud to present the last installment of the Orphic Trilogy in a new digital transfer.
the blood of a poet
testament of orpheus