Friday, March 26, 2010

A Visual History of the Beast

Patrick Garson at has a really interesting piece on the visual history of The Beauty and the Beast, exploring different versions of the beast and what those differences mean in "No Beast So Fierce."  While I grew up thinking that the story was about looking beyond the surface of how s/he appears to others, I've since decided it's actually about how one's attitude and behavior affect how one appears to others, so it is interesting to see different interprtations of what exactly it means to be a "beast."

With that said, let me add a couple of things that are distinctly plebian in comparsion.  

Regarding the Disney version of Beauty and the Beast, which is how I was first introduced to the fairy tale: does anyone else find it hard to believe it came out twenty years ago (next year).  Twenty years?  I remember sitting in the theatre bawling when I thought the beast had died.  It was the first movie I ever saw where it seemed like things might not end up as happily as I hoped they would.  (Since this was the case, it's probably pretty obvious that Bambi was banned from my mother's house.)  In addition, the movie helped reinforce the idea that reading is freaking awesome, which has over the years become integral to my personality and life.

Also, I too would fall in love with a man who looked like a cross between a bear and a buffalo if he had a library that looked like this:

What can I say?


Enbrethiliel said...


I too would fall in love with a man who looked like a cross between a bear and a buffalo if he had a library that looked like this . . .

. . . and if told me the whole library was mine! =P

Lindsay-with-an-A said...

In that case, I'd even agree to BEAR his buffalo children (pun unnecessary but totally intended, haha).

Bethany said...

I always liked the beast better as a beast.

Beauty and the Beast is my favourite Disney film, and one of my favourite fairy tale stories. I LOVE Angela Carter's beast tales in the Bloody Chamber.

Bit of a fairy tale buff...ahem.

Lindsay-with-an-A said...

Beauty and the Beast is my all-time favorite Disney movie. I have the movie MEMORIZED, so I don't even need to watch it to run it through my head haha.

My brother always used to say at the end, "Ugh, he looked better before he changed. Look at that nose!" Somehow, I think he may have been missing the point.

I haven't read Angela Carter's beast tales, but I've loved most of the re-writes I've read (e.g. Robin McKinley's, and then another one where "Beauty" is actually a portrait artist and the "Beast" was a man scarred in an accident or something like that. Can't remember what that one was called off the top of my head, though).

I'd have to say I'm a fairy tale buff, too--have you seen "Into the Woods" or "The Tenth Kingdom"? If so, can you recommend anything else as cool as those?

Bethany said...


Only thing that springs to mind is Pan's Labyrinth. Or, The Company of Wolves (a film version of a Carter story)

Lindsay-with-an-A said...

I was going to see Pan's Labyrinth, but wimped out when I heard how violent it was. I'll look up Company of Wolves, though. (I love getting recommendations from people with similar tastes in things. Hence, my love of the blogosphere.)

Bethany said...

The violence in Pan's Labyrinth really isn't that extreme. (But then, I am an avid horror movie watcher) Still, it is such a stunningly beautiful film taht I think you HAVE to watch it, even if you skip by the few and far between violent bits!

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