Screened as part of NZIFF 2014

Beauty and the Beast 1946

La belle et la bête

Directed by Jean Cocteau

A beloved classic of French cinema returns in a stunning digital restoration. Lovely Josette Day and magnificent Jean Marais star in Jean Cocteau’s retelling of the great Gothic romance.

France In French with English subtitles
94 minutes B&W / DCP



André Paulvé


Jean Cocteau. Based on the short story by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont


Henri Alekan


Claude Ibéria

Production designers

René Moulaërt
Lucien Carré

Costume designer

Marcel Escoffier


Georges Auric


Jean Marais (Avenant/Beast/Prince Ardent)
Josette Day (Belle)
Mila Parély (Félicie)
Nane Germon (Adélaïde)
Michel Auclair (Ludovic)
Raoul Marco (moneylender)
Marcel André (the merchant
Belle’s father)

This film has been restored by SNC – Groupe M6 and La Cinémathèque française, with the support of the Franco-American Cultural Fund – DGA MPA SACEM WGA.


Reissued in a beautiful 4K digital restoration, Jean Cocteau’s 1946 film remains a most seductive vision of a classic Gothic romance. Conjuring pure magic from the simplest of effects, the film’s Beast makeup is so perfectly detailed that you forget that those longing eyes staring out from it belong to a man. It’s not exactly a film for children, and yet it’s one generations of children have enjoyed.

“Jean Cocteau’s first full-length movie is perhaps the most sensuously elegant of all filmed fairy tales. As a child escapes from everyday life to the magic of a storybook, so, in the film, Beauty’s farm, with its Vermeer simplicity, fades in intensity as we are caught up in the Gustave Doré extravagance of the Beast’s enchanted landscape. In Christian Bérard’s makeup, Jean Marais is a magnificent Beast; Beauty’s sacrifice to him holds no more horror than a satisfying romantic fantasy should have. The transformation of the Beast into Prince Charming is ambiguous – what we have gained cannot quite take the place of what we have lost. When shown the film Greta Garbo is reported to have said at the end, ‘Give me back my Beast.’” — Pauline Kael, 5001 Nights at the Movies