Director: Jean Cocteau.
Starring: Jean Marais, Josette Day, Mila Parély.
France 1946. 95 mins. French with English subtitles.
Despite the stringent conditions of its making in post-liberation France, Cocteau’s exquisite version of the 18th-century fairy tale remains one of the greatest films of the fantasy genre. Beauty gives herself to the Beast who has held her father to ransom. Through love, and to her slight disappointment, he turns into a handsome prince. Romantic, erotic, hallucinatory and almost tragic, this is an intelligent, grown-up retelling of a ‘children’s’ tale.
Director: Neil Jordan.
Starring: Angela Lansbury, David Warner, Sarah Patterson, Brian Glover.
UK 1984. 95 mins.
Adapted from short stories drawn from Angela Carter’s revisionist fairytale collection The Bloody Chamber, director Neil Jordan’s second feature was one of the most surprising and startling British films of the early eighties. Centred on the troubled sexual awakening of a young girl, Rosaleen, the film’s modern-day frame opens up to reveal a dark dream world – a fairytale village nestled in the depths of a primeval forest where young men, both desired and feared, turn into werewolves on the prowl. At once sensual and seductive, genuinely eerie, and with eruptions of alarming violence, this exquisitely designed film is destined to linger in the memory.
Supervising Director: David Hand.
Voices: Adriana Caselotti, Lucille La Verne, Pinto Colvig.
USA 1937. 83 mins.
Eighty years after release, Walt Disney’s first ground-breaking animated cartoon feature continues to captivate audiences young and old with its unique blend of fairy tale, fantasy, laughter, thrills and tears. Boldly reworking the Brothers Grimm tale, this hand-crafted Technicolor masterpiece was the gorgeous result of the years of love bestowed upon it by perfectionist Disney and his dedicated studio team. By turns charming, creepy, cute and comical - and jam-packed with wonderful characters - this evergreen story of a beautiful princess, a wicked witch and those dauntless dwarfs took the world by storm, and remains a timeless treat for all the family.
Director: Francesco Stefani.
Starring: Christel Bodenstein, Charles Hans Vogt, Eckart Dux, Richard Krüger.
East Germany 1957. 71 mins. English narrated version.
A proud and beautiful princess is punished for her arrogance when a bewitched suitor (in the form of a bear) steals her away to an enchanted garden. There, through a series of gripping trials, she learns that kindness, humility and bravery are the routes to friendship, love and happiness. Inspired by stories by the Brothers Grimm, this East German fairy tale enchanted a generation when broadcast as a three-part black-and-white miniseries under the BBC’s ‘Tales from Europe’ banner in the 1960s. Today’s viewers are in for an even greater treat; prepare to be bowled over by the original feature’s joyous riot of colour.