Thinking about the Broadway musical, it occurs to me that I’ve never seen a recording for the revised version. I prefer a lot of the lyrics in the version that tours regularly to the original ones and I can only ever find recordings from the original cast album. Is there an updated soundtrack out there anywhere?
Is there a rendition of Beauty and the Beast that adds a haunted mansion or the like to the premise?
Aside from my take on the story, I think the most ‘haunted” feeling versions would be the following…
Panna a Netvor – set in a decaying manor house exposed to the elements, and filmed in the style of a ‘70s horror film, Netvor is not the only monster haunting the ruin…demonic faces decorate the walls and strange imps creep through the building, peering from the fireplaces and chandeliers, laying traps for our heroine. It’s never made clear whether they serve or torment our Monstrous suitor.
Rose Daughter– The castle where Beauty and the Beast reside is an uncannily clean but lifeless hulk where no living thing may venture. Beauty is warned not to look out of widows or up staircases, and not to let on when the place has the better of her. While the changing portraits and corridors are at first simply mischievous, by the climax they seem much more malicious indeed.
Disney’s Beauty and The Beast – When Belle arrives, she finds the Beast’s castle to be a dark, nebulous and poorly maintained space full of broken mirrors and tattered drapery. While we quickly learn that its inhabitants are (mostly) friendly, the first half of the film makes it a spooky place indeed!
Cocteau’s La Belle at La Bete – This surrealist film creates a dream-like landscape for Belle to wade through when she agrees to join the Beast in his palace. Billowing curtains fill the corridors, and disembodied hands hold torches and pour wine, as statues with flickering eyes watch our stoic heroine. Pacing the halls, hands bloodied and smoking, La Bete longs to enter her chambers…
There are a number of nicely spooky picture book versions as well, but I would want to take a little while to go through my collection, which is by no means exhaustive! Dear Readers, if you know of a nice and spooky haunted castle sort of BATB, feel free to weigh in!
Have you done a break down on issues with the 2017 Disney BATB remake yet?? I could personally write a whole paper on how Belle's character went from something more independent to becoming Beast's life coach in the 2017 version and continues being nice to him while he acts like a complete and utter jerk to her. (ex: "Uuuuggh why am I not surprised YOU like romance books!!!"
I haven’t, because I’m just Too Darn Tired. The film came out not long after I gave birth, so I wasn’t in a state to give it the good going-over I otherwise might have. But also, it hurt me to see so much money and talent and time go into something so weak. It’s frustrating to know the strong framework and immense financial backing they had at their disposal, and to see such a ramshackle narrative result. I ranted a bit in a post about the costuming a while back but in the end I just felt so let down by it that I couldn’t muster the energy (to those who feel I’m unnecessarily harsh on this version, note that I was also terribly let down by the 2014 adaptation and haven’t given it a thorough picking-over either).
Lindsay Ellis did a pretty good deconstruction of its issues in her video essay, which I’ll post shortly!
And again… nobody likes negging! It’s not cool or detached or ironic, it’s just mean.
So, when I first saw previews for this Disney Cruise production of Beauty and The Beast, I was pretty wowed by the puppetry and stage effects but unsure if it was a production of the Broadway musical, or a new stage version based on the 2017 film. Turns out It is 90% 2017 based, though a few lines and situations from Broadway turn up here and there. How is it? It’s… very pretty. Very, very pretty. Just…not good.
What I loved
-Every bit of the effects. Wow. just WOW. I hope we see some of these carried into any new productions of the Broadway version, because they are absolutely gorgeous. The use of video projection in the backgrounds was surprisingly seamless and didn’t feel gimicky. Belle’s Sound of Music scene was especially nice. The Beast’s transformation is great, too.
-The puppets and puppeteers. Surprisingly, this just really works. It’s well done, especially the actors solemnly walking away from their puppets once the curse leaves them immobile. It’s a great effect and honestly, I think it functions better than any version of costumed actor I’ve seen in the Object roles. I understand why this wouldn’t be doable for off Broadway productions, though.
-The costumes. With the exception of Belle’s outfits, I really like the costuming decisions, particularly on The Beast. Belle’s wardrobe suffers from choices made for the film. Why a prom dress from the mall, Belle? Why?
-The Jell-o (aspic?) replacing the carpet in Be Our Guest. It makes so much more sense you guyssss
What I Didn’t
– The writing. Look, the Broadway show is a cheesefest and we know it, but at least it more or less flows and we feel sympathetic for the Beast (eventually). This version chugs alongfrom scene to scene without any real emotion until somewhere near the end. We’re not given enough character moments to anchor us, and we barely see The Beast until over halfway through. The dialogue is awkward and just feels like exposition trying to make up for lack of characterization. It’s fanficky levels of stilted.
-The Songs. Or the lack thereof. We don’t get many of the numbers from Broadway or from the film. The Beast has no solo at all –neither If I Can’t Love Her nor Evermore are used.
-There’s some very awkward attempts at Gurl Powrrr here that feel like a ‘90s sitcom. Efforts to make Belle more empowered™ fall flat and just seem out of character. She’s more interesting in any other version.
But you know what? Rough as it is, it’s stunningly gorgeous to look at. The Broadway version has its own set of Real Bad Choices (Soup!) so I can’t be too upset here. This production is absolutely 100% style over substance, and look, even if the cake is bad, that’s some fine icing they piped all over it. I would absolutely love to see these sets, costumes, effects and some of the staging paired with the updated version of the Broadway script.
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