The obvious theme starring its audience in the face is not to judge a book by its cover. This is reflected when Belle's affection towards the Beast changes from being repelled by his ugliness to letting him drink water from her hands after speaking and spending time with the Beast, understanding his character. Cocteau is possibly trying to make a point about himself through the Beast, either about his sexuality or his skin problems, don't judge by these outer labels. John Nesbit argues, "Many draw psychological interpretations of the film, partially based on Cocteau’s sexuality or on the fact that Cocteau was beginning to have skin problems (the filmmaker could represent the ugly beast in search of love)." (Nesbit 2001) Nesbit highlights Cocteau's possible personal influences.
The film theatrical style is reflected through costume and setting, pantomime like, yet has a beauty reflected within it. The way certain scenes are created and portrayed its easy to see how Disney has used this as their inspiration for Beauty and the Beast (1991). "Studied or not for philosophy, this is a sensuously fascinating film, a fanciful poem in movement given full articulation on the screen." (Crowther 1947) Bosley Crowther believes the film is poetry in motion.
List of illustrations
Figure 1. Cocteau, Jean (1946) La Belle et la Bête Film Poster. At: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:La_Belle_et_la_B%C3%AAte_film.jpg (Accessed on: 5/10/11)
Figure 2. Cocteau, Jean (1946) Slow motion sequence with Belle At: http://obscurehollow.blogspot.com/2008/10/beauty-and-beast-1946.html (Accessed on: 5/10/11)
Figure 3. Cocteau, Jean (1946) Belle and the Beast At: http://www.hollywood.com/feature/Movies_that_Changed_My_Life_1946s_Beauty_and_the_Beast/6893436 (Accessed on: 5/10/11)
Matt Langdon (2003) Beauty and the Beast. At: http://www.filmcritic.com/reviews/1946/beauty-and-the-beast/ (Accessed on: 5/10/11)
John Nesbit (2001) Beauty and the Beast (La Belle et la Bête). At: http://www.culturecartel.com/review.php?rid=10002091 (Accessed on: 5/10/11)
New York Times Review Bosley Crowther (1947) La Belle et la Bete. At: http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9B03EFD71E3EEE3BBC4C51DFB467838C659EDE&partner=Rotten Tomatoes (Accessed on:5/10/11)