Disney’s masterpiece Beauty and the Beast is the perfect Christmas movie: there is a romantic love story, a magical setting and a happy ending. Let’s discover together 10 incredible curiosities about the 30th Disney Classic.
There are many Christmas-themed films and TV series that are offered to us every year to prepare us for the most loved holiday; but there is a title, released in cinemas way back in 1991, which in the month of December always retains its charm, we are talking about the classic Disney The beauty and the Beast, directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise. The film is based on the French writer’s fairy tale of the same name Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumontit’s not exactly a Christmas movie, yet it remains the rewatch perfect for entering the festive atmosphere, having inside all the elements of a classic holiday story: a love story, a magical context and, of course, a happy ending.
Let’s find out together 10 curiosities about the unforgettable The beauty and the Beast.
1. The beauty and the Beast: the Oscars
In addition to winning two Academy Awards, for music by Alan Menken and for the romantic song Beauty And The Beast, The beauty and the Beast it was also the first animated film to receive a nomination in the “best picture” category (The Oscar then went to Jonathan Demme’s masterpiece The silence of the lambs). In 1992, in fact, there was still no category dedicated exclusively to animated feature films (it was established only several years later, in 2002).
2. Belle: the only villager to wear the color blue
The choice of a color in a film is a very powerful tool, a subtle indication to indicate to the audience the personality of a particular character. For example, Have you ever noticed how many Disney villains wear the color purple? (we also talked about it here, in an article dedicated to The Sleeping Beauty). In the Trousdale and Wise film, Belle is literally the only person in the entire village to wear the color blue. This detail enhances its uniqueness, compared to the banal uniformity of the other inhabitants.
3. Beauty and the Beast: Belle’s primacy
Beautiful she is the fifth official Disney princess and the first to have brown hair. Aurora and Cinderella are in fact very blond, while Snow White has hair as black as ebony. How can we forget Ariel’s flaming red hair? We will have to wait Rapunzel – or rather, its ending – before seeing a brunette princess appear on the screen again.
4. The Loire Valley as inspiration
About six hundred animators, artists and technicians worked on the film for three and a half years. Disney, to obtain a more realistic and engaging effect, decided to send some art directors to France, in the Loire Valley, to foster their creativity in the rendering of the settings.
5. The beauty and the Beast: the song cut from the film
The song Human again, sung by the enchanted objects of the castle, finally free to regain possession of their human form, was supposed to be present in the film but was later cut in the final version. The song was used in the Broadway musical in 1994, and then included in 2002 as extra content in the special edition DVD of the film.
6. The beauty and the Beast: the casting
The casting for The beauty and the Beast it was very long and several movie stars were considered for the project. For example, Mrs. Pott could have had the voice of Julie Andrews, before Angela Lansbury got the part, while Gaston was one step away from being voiced by Rupert Everett; the English actor’s tone of voice was considered too little arrogant, and so Richard White conquered the iconic role of Gaston.
7. The homage to All together passionately
Staying on the beloved Julie Andrews, you must know that there is a scene de The beauty and the Beast which pays homage to one of his most famous films: All together passionately (1965). The scene where Belle, to the tune of Bonjourleaves the house running free up a hill, hoping for a different life, is inspired by the iconic sequence in which Maria, played by Andrews, sings with open arms, a few steps from the convent where she lives, intoning The sound of music.
8. The Easter Egg linked to Gaston’s death
In an early version of the script, Gaston was supposed to survive falling from the castle walls, only to be eaten by a pack of wolves. This scene, as we know, was shortened, but how to make the audience understand that the villains main would not have survived following the fall? Well, there’s an ingenious Easter Egg hidden right on the man’s face. As Gaston falls from the castle, small skulls briefly appear inside his eyes. This detail should suggest the death of the villains.
9. The beauty and the Beast: the film wanted by Walt Disney
After the success of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), Walt Disney was eager to explore new ideas for feature films inspired by famous fairy tales. In the late 30’s and early 40’s, Walt seriously considered bringing his own version of de The beauty and the Beast. Eventually, as we know, the project was temporarily abandoned.
In the opinion of critic Peter M. Nichols, Disney felt disheartened by the theatrical release of La Belle et la Bête (1946), directed by Jean Cocteau. Although Walt chose not to make the work, curiously Cocteau’s film ended up influencing the 1991 version, providing the idea for the servants transformed into inanimate objects, and for the villains principal.
10. The joke deleted
In one of the ideas about the film’s ending, Belle was supposed to ask her beloved, now back in his human form, what he thought about growing a beard; to her question, the protagonist should have answered with an animal-like cry, similar to a “roar”. It will seem trivial but this idea, a bit cringedirector Bill Condon liked it, who inserted the joke in the 2017 Disney live action, starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens.