Director – Eugene Marner, Screenplay – Carole Lucia Satrina, Producers – Yoram Globus & Menahem Golan, Photography – Avi Karpick, Music/Songs – Lord McKelvey, Special Effects – Terry Glass & John Hargreaves, Makeup Effects – Deborah Eastwood & John Price, Production Design – Marek Dobrowolski. Production Company – Cannon
Rebecca De Mornay (Beauty), John Savage (Beast/Prince), Yossi Graber (Father)
A merchant comes upon a deserted castle and decides to stay the night. He finds that lodgings have mysteriously been provided for him, although does not see any inhabitants. In the morning, he prepares to leave and plucks a rose from the garden to take home to his daughter Beauty. An angry Beast then appears, ready to kill the merchant for stealing his roses. The merchant pleads for his life and the Beast allows him to go free if Beauty will take his place. Beauty agrees to do so. Once she arrives at the castle, Beauty is at first frightened but then drawn to the hideous but strangely courteous Beast, who similarly begins to fall in love with her.
Beauty and the Beast is one of the better among Cannon Films’ unlamentedly cheap series of Movie Tales. (See below for other titles). It is an unexceptional variation on the familiar and oft-filmed story. It is far too predictable what is going to happen. The middle pf the film is padded with song and dance numbers where nothing happens as we invariably wait for the overly familiar tale to take its course and Beauty to fall in love with the Beast.
On the plus side, director Eugene Marner gives Cannon’s usually threadbare sets and costumes more texture and believability than usual. John Savage’s portrayal of the Beast comes with just the right degree of misanthropy, nobility and moody temperament – unfortunately as the prince, Savage gives a singularly wooden performance. Equally, Rebecca De Mornay is a little too wide-eyed and blank in the role. Together the two of them seem to clunkily stumble around their parts without ever connecting. Passably average. The definitive version of the fairytale is still Jean Cocteau’s Beauty and the Beast (1946).
Other films among The Cannon Movie Tales are:– The Emperor’s New Clothes (1987), The Frog Prince (1987), Hansel and Gretel (1987), Puss in Boots (1987), Red Riding Hood (1987), Rumpelstiltskin (1987), Snow White (1987) and Sleeping Beauty (1988).
Other versions of Beauty and the Beast include:– several lost silent versions made variously in 1899, 1903, 1905, 1908, 1912, 1913 and 1922; Jean Cocteau’s classic version Beauty and the Beast (1946) with Jean Marais and Josette Day; the stodgy Technicolor adaptation Beauty and the Beast (1961) starring Mark Damon and Joyce Taylor; Beauty and the Beast (1976), a tv movie adaptation starring George C. Scott and Trish Van Devere; a Czech adaptation Beauty and the Beast (1979); a 1984 episode of Shelley Duval’s Faerie Tale Theater starring Klaus Kinski and Susan Sarandon and directed by Roger Vadim; Beauty and the Beast (1991), the Disney animated adaptation; Beauty (2004) starring Martin Clunes and Sienna Guillory, a modernised retelling; Beauty and the Beast (2009) starring Estella Warren, which turned the fairytale into a cheap fantasy adventure; Beastly (2011) starring Alex Pettyfer and Vanessa Hudgens, which transplanted the fairytale into a modern high school setting; the tv movie Beauty and the Beast (2012) starring Ruith Bradley; Christophe Gans’ exquisitely dreamy Beauty and the Beast (2014) with Lea Seydoux and Vincent Cassel; and Beauty and the Beast (2017). the live-action remake of the Disney film starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens. Beauty and the Beast (1987-90) was a fantastical contemporary urban tv series loosely based on the fairy-tale, starring Ron Perlman and Linda Hamilton, and was later remade as Beauty and the Beast (2012-6) starring Kristin Kreuk and Jay Ryan.