Book Vs. Movie: Beauty & the Beast
The French Fairy Tale from the 1700s Vs the 1991 Animated Classic
The Margos continue our month of Disney films with the 1991 classic Beauty and the Beast which is based on a fairy tale written in 1740 by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villenenueva and then later abridged by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont in 1756 for a collection of children’s stories.
The simplest version is by de Beaumont. A French merchant has six children with “Beauty” being the youngest daughter. She is considered the most beautiful and has the nicest in temperament so she is her father’s favorite. When he loses his fortunes and then has the opportunity to get it back, she only asks for a rose from him as they have not grown in over a year.
Her father tries to take a rose from a garden but is stopped by “The Beast” who runs the manor. The Beast asks the merchant to send his daughter to live with him as his fiance. He treats her well (though she is basically a captive) and she is kept company with a fairy (who wishes she would treat the Beast as more than just a friend) and animated furniture who act as servants for the Beast.
Eventually, Beauty goes home and then comes back to find the Beast dying from her absence. She kisses him and he becomes a handsome Prince. They get married and live happily ever after.
Disney attempted to make this as an animated picture in the mid 20th Century but no one could figure how to adapt it. With the success of The Little Mermaid in 1989, a new team with Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise, Linda Woolverton, Howard Ashman, and Alan Menken created a masterpiece that lives on to this day. (30 years after its release!)
So, between the fairy tale and the animated movie--which did we prefer?
In this ep the Margos discuss:
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