Well crafted documentary on a timeless Disney classic...
With the score of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST in the background, the documentary starts out with CELINE DION talking about the "making of a tale as old as time" and we're given bits of information about the film from the various artists and animators who worked so well on the Disney film. In other words, the segments are broken down into discussions on the characters, the art work and the technology that went into making BEAUTY AND THE BEAST with a younger team of animators who had already had great success with THE LITTLE MERMAID.
Walt Disney himself had been interested in doing the story some day, from the '30s to the '50s, keeping it in mind but putting it aside while he concentrated on other projects. The challenge was to top the '46 French film which, although a great success, focused mainly on the two central characters and did not give animators enough to work with. So, it was decided to have the enchanted victims of the household become the Greek chorus for the story and to add a villain (Gaston) to thicken the plot.
All of the animators were thoroughly impressed with the music and songs of Ashman and Menken which propelled the story forward and gave it "style and scope" while furthering the plot. There is much talk about how the "victims of enchantment" in the castle gave the film comic relief and added so much to the story's point of view.
The success of the film was due in part to its ability to transmit the message of the transforming power of love in an affirmative way. Everyone connected with the film knew even before its release that it was destined to be a product they could be proud of. But even then, they were overwhelmed by the enormously favorable reviews.
As Robert Osborne states: "It's one of the Disney films that will last forever." He's so right. Like a true classic, this "tale as old as time" will be remembered as long as the other Disney animated features that began in the '30s.
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