- Title: Beauty and the Beast
- IMDb: link
Released several times over the years on both Blu-ray and DVD, Disney’s 1991 animated feature was a break-out success with audiences and critics alike and became the first animated film to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. Love for the film hasn’t died, as can be seen in the new live-action adaptation about to hit theaters. For Throwback Thursday, we take a look back at the original.
Based on Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont’s French fairy tale, the story introduces us to a bright young woman named Belle (Paige O’Hara) who doesn’t quite fit into the quaint French town where she and her father (Rex Everhart) live. When her father is caged by a Beast (Robby Benson) for trespassing, Belle agrees to take his place and stay in the magical castle in his stead (unaware that she alone will have the power to release the curse and return all of the castle’s odd characters back into humans).
The cast includes the Beast’s servants Lumière (Jerry Orbach) the candelabra, Cogsworth (David Ogden Stiers) the clock, and Mrs. Potts (Angela Lansbury) the tea pot and her son Chip (Bradley Pierce). No Disney film would be complete without a villain, and so we get the dreadfully vain Gaston (Richard White) who decides he wants Belle to be his wife merely because she’s the only girl in the town not enamored with him. The real beast of the piece, Gaston’s machinations nearly destroy the relationship which begins to develop between Belle and the Beast.
The film is highlighted by several songs including the opening number “Belle” which introduces us to a heroine for a modern age, “Be Our Guest” which introduces Belle to the magic of the castle in which she is imprisoned, the Oscar-winning “Beauty and the Beast” sung by Angela Landsbury, and “Gaston” which (as you might expect from the title) involves our villain celebrating himself in a tavern full of his fans (in a sequence rather blatantly stolen from The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad).
Extras vary depending on which home video release you own, but all include featurettes on the making of the film, bonus scenes, a deleted song, audio commentary, sing-a-long with the songs, and more.
[Walt Disney Studios, $39.99]