This week on From Page to Screen I'll be tackling Beauty and the Beast. Although the first published version of Beauty and the Beast was written by Author Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve, in 1740, this week, I decided to focus on the more well known abridgement of her work published in 1756 by Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont.
First Let's Discuss the Book.
Here is a bit of back story in case some of you aren't familiar with the novel. Beauty and the Beast is a traditional fairy tale written by Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont. After leaving France to become a governess in London Jeanne-Marie Le Price de Beaumont wrote Beauty and the Beast and Other Classic French Fairy Tales. Leprince de Beaumont revised and abridged this story considerably from its originally published version titled Beauty and the Beast by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve another popular author of the day. However, the success of this shorter revised version is the reason Leprince de Beaumont is commonly deemed the author of the classic story.
Let's take a look at some of the characters now, shall we.
Belle - A bibliophilic young woman who seeks adventure, and offers her own freedom to the Beast in return for her father's. Belle has gained a significant amount of intelligence over the years due to her love of books, providing her with an amazing vocabulary, active imagination, and an open mind. She is very confident and outspoken in her opinions, and seldom likes being told what to do. Belle refuses to be mistreated, undermined, humiliated, demeaned or controlled by any man making her somewhat of a women's-libber for her time.
Beast - A prince who is transformed into a beast by a beautiful enchantress as punishment for his arrogance. He has the head structure and horns of an American bison, the arms and body of a bear, the ears of a deer, the eyebrows of a gorilla, the jaws, teeth, and mane of a lion, the tusks of a wild boar and the legs and tail of a wolf. Fun Fact: The Beast is the first male character in a Disney fairy tale to have a role that is equally as significant as the female protagonist's.
Gaston - Strong, handsome, chauvinistic and arrogant, Gaston is very popular in his village. Gaston's view of women is rather sexist as he believes that women should not be able to think for themselves or even get ideas. At one point he even stamps Belle's book into the mud in an attempt to get her to focus on "more important things" such as himself.
Now Let's Discuss the Movie.
In case some of you aren't familiar with the film, here is a bit of back story. Beauty and the Beast is an animated movie musical directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise. It was released November 22, 1991 by Walt Disney Pictures. Beauty and the Beast cost $25 million to create and it went on to make over $425 million worldwide in theaters. Upon release Beauty and the Beast was met with an overwhelming amount of praise and it famously went on to become the first Animated film ever to be nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Picture category. In 2002, Beauty and the Beast was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.
Major Differences Between The Book Film
The rose in only in the beginning of the story when Beauty's father picks it from Beast's garden.
The rose is enchanted and plays a significant role in the story. Should it die, so will the beast.
Beauty has five older sisters who treat her wickedly and six older brothers who are more concerned with wealth and status than being good and kind.
Belle is an only child.
Beauty's father is a once wealthy merchant who became penniless after he lost all his goods in a tempest at sea.
Maurice is an inventor whose dream is to make a good invention and become rich, so he and Belle can move away to a bigger town.
Does not exist.
Gaston the villages handsome hunter wants to make Belle his Bride since she is the most beautiful girl in town.
Before becoming a Beast the prince was described as being kind and well mannered. .
Before becoming a Beast the prince was described as being selfish, arrogant and whiny.
The prince is turned into a Beast after refusing to marry his Governess.
The prince is turned into a Beast after turning away an ugly old woman on a cold winters night.
After being cursed as a Beast, a good fairy intervened and lessened the blow by promising he would turn back into a human if he could find someone to love him in this form.
After being turned into a Beast by the old woman turned Enchantress,she informs him that if he does not learn to love someone by his 21st Birthday, and have his love returned, he would remain a beast forever.
Beauty's father finds the castle in the middle of the day, completely untouched by snow, and surrounded by flowers and orange trees.
Maurice finds the castle after being chased by wolves in the snow. He finds it sinister but has no choice but to seek shelter inside.
Beauty's father falls asleep in front of the fire twice due to exhaustion. He is served food, drink and delicious desserts by an unknown person. He can't wait to run home and tell his family about the Castle.
After settling in for a cup of tea by the fire, Beast makes himself known and throws Maurice into his Dungeon. Belle comes to his rescue and agrees to stay in his place.
Beast is very polite and courteous towards Beauty. After conversing with her about what she did during the day, and whether she is happy and comfortable, he informs Belle that she is now a queen of the castle, and can go wherever and do whatever she pleases.
Beast warns Belle that she is only allowed to eat meals if she eats with him, and that she is forbidden from the west wing of the castle. She is his prisoner and nothing more.
While we never see servants specifically it is shown that the Castle employs Monkeys as butlers..... Did I mention they use Parakeets to translate for them?
The Castles entire staff including Cogsworth, Lumiere and Mrs. Potts were all transformed into job-specific appliances by the enchantress. They can talk and be understood by Belle without interpreters.
Beast is seen dying from a broken heart after Beauty fails to return in a timely manner from visiting her family. With the Beast near death Beauty returns reviving the prince to his previous form, after much unnecessary exposition and the realization that Beauty and Beast are actually cousins they get married and live happily ever after.
After having been brutally stabbed and shot with an arrow by Gaston, Belle cries over the Beast’s body and tries to reassure him that she’s back. When Beast appears to expire, she tells him she loves him crying over his body. At this point, he is transformed back into his true self and the curse is broken.
Well that about wraps up this weeks From Page To Screen. This week the clear winner by a mile is the film. Everything about the film adaptation is wonderful from the animation to the actors and of course the music!!! Seriously, I could fan girl for hours over the soundtrack to this film alone. Needless to say, the short story stood no chance of coming out ahead in this match up. Definitely read the story if you haven't already. However, if you want the full Beauty and the Beast experience I'll forgive you if you just skip right on ahead to the film.
Still not convinced? Check out the trailer below!
Well that about wraps up this weeks From Page To Screen. Have a recommendation for an upcoming From Page To Screen, let me know in the comments below!
Have you read the book or watched the film?
Which did you like better? Why?
What is your favorite quote or scene from Beauty and the Beast?
Leave your answers in the comments below, I love to read your responses. Like what you see? Please share!