NerDisney #30 – Beauty and the Beast

My memories

The beauty and the Beast it’s always been my favorite disney classic: 30 years later I still know all the words of the songs by heart (and I had proof of this by watching it: I never miss a beat!). The initial sequence with the background told on the colorful stained glass windows of the castle still gives me chills today, I loved the romantic and magical atmosphere of the enchanted castle and the surrounding woods and, since I was a little girl who loved to read, I couldn’t help but feel an affinity with the protagonist Belle, who like me preferred to stay at home and read a good fantasy book rather than go out and have social relations… Furthermore, even as a child, the stereotypical notion that I have the power, as a woman, to change a man made its way into my brain, alas.

Although this cartoon was my favorite, as a good pain in the ass (already 7 years old) there were some things I didn’t like completely, first of all the fact that Lumiere’s character had a French accent: why, I was wondering, if the film is obviously set in France, only he speaks with that particular accent? I did some research to give me an explanation: some say that Lumiere spoke differently to distinguish him from the other characters as he comes from Paris, while the castle is located in an area of ​​France (some say Alsace, some Provence) in whose speech is very different, it seems instead that the truth is that the voice actor simply liked it that way.

Another thing that didn’t add up to me at all was the curse of the fairy: After getting furious at the prince for finding him rude and selfish, she condemns him to become a beast if he can’t find love by the age of 21. If we do some calculations, assuming that the prince has at least a few years available and that at the end of the film he is about to turn 21, at what age was he cursed? At 11 or 12? Dear fairy, don’t you think it’s a bit excessive to turn a rude little boy into a monstrous beast? Were there no other ways? And then, where are the boy’s parents, that if he’s a prince he should have a king and queen somewhere? Finally, isn’t it a bit unreasonable to think that you can find love by the age of 21, especially without being able to leave the house and without Tinder?

The last thing that really didn’t go down for me, perhaps because I’ve never been a particularly rebellious girl, was the fact that Belle, having an enormous castle, a garden and an immense library at her disposal, instead of enjoying it, decides to go and poke the own nose the one place she was told not to go, i.e. the notorious west wing. Beautiful, why?

The most romantic classic?

Belle is a girl unlike any other: she doesn’t integrate with the people of her country, she always has her head in the clouds and, supreme dishonor, she loves reading in a historical period in which women were hardly allowed to learn to read. His father Maurice (only parent present: Belle is orphaned of a mother like all self-respecting Disney princesses) is as eccentric as she is, he is an inventor that everyone thinks is crazy. One day Maurice goes to a fair to present his latest invention, but along the way he gets lost and finds himself in a snowy forest (despite the height of summer) being chased by wolves: to escape he ends up in the garden surrounding a huge dark castle. He has the audacity to enter to seek some refreshment and as an inventor he is fascinated by the creatures that inhabit the castle: objects that move and speak. The host, a monstrous beastdoes not agree very much and imprisons him to punish him.

Belle, not seeing her father return, goes in search of him and immediately finds the way to the castle, which apparently no one had ever managed to find over the years (fate?). Full of nobility, Belle offers herself in sacrifice to the beast in exchange for saving his elderly father: he will therefore have to spend his whole life in the castle in the company of the beast, which is actually a prince who has been cursed by a fairy until he manages to make someone love him.

Whether it is Belle, the only girl who has happened in the castle in many years, who happens to be also beautiful and intelligent, the one who will be able to go beyond appearances and break the spell by falling in love with her captor, saving him? And it’s actually really about great love or instead of Stockholm syndrome? Finally, do you happen to notice similarities to the myth of Persephone? To you the reflections.

The beauty and the Beast was released in theaters in 1991 and it’s the thirtieth Disney classicthe third of the “Disney Renaissance” (after The little Mermaid And Bianca and Bernie in the land of kangaroos); was directed by Gary Trousdale And Kirk Wiseproduced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures.

The story is inspired, as in the past for other Disney classics such as snow-white or Cinderellato a pre-existing fairy tale: The beauty and the Beast from Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Baumont, which I recommend recovering because it adds important details to the plot that everyone knows and above all shows the beast in a different light that makes it a little more lovable. For the final realization, cues from the film of the same title released in 1946 were also taken.


The beauty and the Beast it was the first ever animated film to be Oscar nominee how best movie (along with 4 other nominations), and has grossed more than 300 million of dollars!

Since the 1930s, Walt Disney was looking for a fairy tale that could be animated and that replicated the success of snow-whiteand has repeatedly focused on The beauty and the Beast but the project was always shelved: only many years later, in 1988, the idea was finally approved but it went through quite a troubled production between complete rewrites and director changes.

The beauty and the Beast is one of the few animated feature films that has had a film scriptin fact apart 101 Dalmatians And The sword in the Stone all other films up to that point had been developed from storyboards rather than written text.

The soundtrack

The beautiful music was composed by Alan Menkenwinner of multiple Academy Awards for his work with Disney, and 2 for The beauty and the Beast: best soundtrack and best song (Beauty and the Beast). The lyrics, on the other hand, were written by Howard Ashman, who shortly before his death also wrote the lyrics for Aladdin. Unforgettable are among all the fun Stay with us and the very romantic The beauty and the Beastsong that accompanies the dance between Belle and the beast.

I admit that I never understood why in the Italian version of The beauty and the Beast sung by Gino Paoli and Amanda Sandrelli the beast falls asleep every time the beauty smiles at him (if you haven’t caught it, go read the lyrics of the song, ed). Mystery.

The live action

The live action de The beauty and the Beast (2017) is my absolute favourite among all those released in recent years, indeed perhaps it is one of the few that I really liked. I loved that they come in the movie delve into the backgrounds of all the characters, in particular of the prince (who is shown as an adult at the time of the curse) and of Belle, moreover it is explained why no inhabitant of the surroundings of the castle has memory of the fact that in recent times there was a prince to reign over the area and that several people worked for him. The only thing that put me in a bit of trouble is the fact that the lyrics of the songs in Italian have been retranslated and therefore the words are not the same ones that I know by heart since 1991. I talked about it in depth here.

How has it aged?

Although it’s my favorite and I’m biased, I don’t feel like saying that from a technical point of view The beauty and the Beast has aged as well as other classics: the animations are not quite as superior to those of other previous films as one might expect, despite the use of cgi in its infancy. The songs and the soundtrack but they are immortals and this is demonstrated by the success that the version of Beauty and the beast sung by Ariana Grande and John Legend in 2017 for the release of the live action.

Seeing him again as an adult also led me to ask me many questions about the real nature of report between the beast and Belle, as well as the obsession that modern women have to change the men next to them. Emma Watsoninterpreter of Belle in the live action, asked myself the same questions and I decided to make my own conclusion: “Belle has none of the characteristics of a person affected by Stockholm syndrome because she maintains her independence and the freedom of thought“. I therefore decided, at the end of long reflections, to abandon cynicism and simply bask in the thought of the existence of a love so great that it goes beyond aesthetics and bad character, overcoming all adversity.

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About David Martin

David Martin is the lead editor for Spark Chronicles. David has been working as a freelance journalist.

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