New Release: Beauty and the Beast (1946) Blu-ray

Beauty and the Beast movie scene

Jean Marais (l.) and Josette Day are Avenant and Belle in Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast.

The Criterion Collection issued a Blu-ray edition of Jean Cocteau’s sublime 1946 film adaptation of the fairy-tale masterpiece Beauty and the Beast on July 19, 2011, for a list price of $39.95.

Cocteau’s landmark movie fantasy, in which the true love of a beautiful girl melts the heart of a feral but gentle beast, features unforgettably romantic performances by Jean Marais (Orpheus) and Josette Day (Les parents terribles). The spectacular visions of enchantment, desire and death in Beauty and the Beast (La Belle et la Bête) remain timeless.

Criterion released a DVD edition of Beauty and the Beast in 2003, which is still available for the suggested retail price of $39.95. But this Blu-ray is no doubt an upgrade.

Presented in French with English subtitles, the Blu-ray edition has a high-definition digital transfer from restored film elements and an uncompressed monaural soundtrack.

The following special features are included on the disc:

  • composer Philip Glass’s opera La Belle et la Bête, presented in 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio as an alternate soundtrack
  • two commentaries: one by film historian Arthur Knight and one by writer and cultural historian Sir Christopher Frayling
  • Screening at the Majestic, a 1995 documentary featuring interviews with cast and crew
  • interview with cinematographer Henri Alekan
  • rare behind-the-scenes photos and publicity stills
  • film restoration demonstration
  • original trailer, directed and narrated by director Jean Cocteau, plus restoration trailer from 1995
  • booklet featuring an essay by film critic Geoffrey O’Brien, a piece on the film by Cocteau, excerpts from Francis Steegmuller’s 1970 book Cocteau: A Biography, and an introduction to Glass’s opera by the composer


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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.