Beauty and the Beast, a traditional fairy tale written by French novelist Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont and published in 1756, has lived beyond its times.
‘Beauty and the Beast’ tells the story of a prince who is transformed into a hideous beast as punishment for his cruel and selfish ways, and an adventurous young woman named Belle whom he imprisons in his castle. In order to become human again, the Beast must earn Belle’s love before it’s too late.
Variants of the tale are known across Europe. In France, for example, Zémire et Azor is an operatic version of the story, written by Marmontel and composed by Grétry in 1771, which had enormous success well into the 19th century; it is based on the second version of the tale. Amour pour amour, by Nivelle de la Chaussée, is a 1742 play based on Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve’s version.
The tale has been notably adapted for screen, stage, prose, and television over the years. It ran on Broadway for 5,461 performances between 1994 and 2007, becoming Broadway’s ninth longest-running production in history.
Recently, the latest version of this released worldwide, and had multitudes of people flocking to watch. ‘Beauty and the Beast’, the musical, with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, is based on the 1991 film of the same name. Seven new songs were written for the stage musical.
We enlist the other film adaptations of the tale.
1. A French version titled ‘La Belle et la Bête’ was made in 1946, directed by Jean Cocteau, starring Jean Marais as the Beast and Josette Day as the Beauty. This version adds a subplot involving Belle’s suitor Avenant.
2. A 1952 animated feature film, ‘The Scarlet Flower’, based upon Aksakov’s aforementioned tale, was directed by Lev Atamanov and produced at the Soyuzmultfilm. It was restored at the Gorky Film Studio in 1987 and is now widely available on several video and DVD editions in Russia (an English-subtitled version has not been released).
3. A 1962 version directed by Edward L Cahn, starring Joyce Taylor and Mark Damon, had the Beast as a prince who transformed into a werewolf at night, with makeup by Universal’s Jack Pierce.
4. In 1987, The Cannon Group and Golan-Globus Productions released ‘Beauty and the Beast’, a musical live action version, directed by Eugene Marner, starring John Savage as Beast, and Rebecca De Mornay as Beauty, with original music by Lori McKelvey. It was released on VHS in 1988 by Cannon Video, and on DVD in 2005 by MGM Home Entertainment.
5. In 1991, Walt Disney Feature Animation produced a musical animated film entitled ‘Beauty and the Beast’, directed by Kirk Wise and Gary Trousdale, with a screenplay by Linda Woolverton, and songs by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman. Like the 1946 version, the Disney version also names Beauty “Belle” and gives her a handsome suitor (here named Gaston) who eventually plots to kill the Beast.
6. Children’s film producer Diane Eskenazi produced ‘Beauty and the Beast’, directed by Masakazu Higuchi and Chinami Namba, for Golden Films in 1993. The film, which relied on moderate animation techniques but was mostly faithful to the original tale, featured classical compositions as opposed to an original soundtrack, featuring the works of many well-known popular composers.
7. The theme of the music video “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)” by Meat Loaf, released in 1993, is adapted from ‘Beauty and the Beast’.
8. A 2003 Viking period film directed by David Lister was alternately known as ‘Beauty and the Beast and Blood of Beasts’.
9. A dark version of the fairy tale updated to modern times, director Robert Beaucage’s 2008 film Spike, was described (at its premiere at the Edinburgh International Film Festival where it was chosen as part of the Best of the Fest) as “Angela Carter rewriting La Belle et la Bête as an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer”.
10. Another modern take on “Beauty and the Beast” is Beastly starring Alex Pettyfer as the beast (named Kyle) and Vanessa Hudgens as the love interest (named Lindy). Directed by Daniel Barnz and based on the novel by Alex Flinn, it was released on 18 March 2011. The story places the basics of the original fairy tale in the context of a contemporary American high school. The film also features Neil Patrick Harris as Kyle’s blind tutor and Mary-Kate Olsen as the girl responsible for cursing Kyle and causing his subsequent transformation.
11. ‘Beauty and the Beast’, a French-German film, released in 2014.
12. ‘Beauty and the Beast’, a Disney’s live-action set for 2017 release.