Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB
USA, 1991. Walt Disney Pictures, Silver Screen Partners IV, Walt Disney Feature Animation. Story by Brenda Chapman, Burny Mattinson, Brian Pimental, Joe Ranft, Kelly Asbury, Chris Sanders, Kevin Harkey, Bruce Woodside, Robert Lence, story supervisor Roger Allers, Animation screenplay by Linda Woolverton. Produced by Don Hahn. Music by Alan Menken. Production Design by Ed Ghertner, Brian McEntee. Film Editing by John Carnochan, Ellen Keneshea.
A masterpiece of animation, this retelling of the Madame LePrince de Beaumont fable concerns a studious young woman named Belle who goes to live with a hideous beast in order to save her father’s life. While in his enchanted castle, she discovers that beneath the savage exterior of this creature lies a noble heart, which is good because her love could break the curse that has made him so beastly in the first place.
Their friendship is heartfelt, the comedy of the castle’s anthropomorphized objects perfectly timed and the songs by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman (whose death from AIDS meant he never got to see the finished product) are beautiful. The opening number, “Belle”, belongs more to the best musical theatre than any simple cartoon film you’ve ever seen. Watch it again and again, this is one of Disney’s finest achievements and it never grows old.
Academy Awards: Best Original Score; Best Original Song (“Beauty and the Beast”)
Nominations: Best Picture; Best Sound; Best Original Song (“Be Our Guest”); Best Original Song (“Belle”)
Golden Globe Awards: Best Picture-Musical/Comedy; Best Original Score; Best Original Song (“Beauty and the Beast”)
Nominations: Best Original Song (“Be Our Guest”)