Below are (or will be in
the future) several novels, movies, and short stories that I have read
that are about "Beauty and the Beast" or its variants. This page is
mostly to help me keep them all straight in my head. I sometimes read
upwards of ten versions a week so it can get confusing. This page is
mostly for my own benefit but if anyone else should happen upon this,
there are spoilers. I have tried to keep them out of the synopsis
section, however. I will give a brief synopsis and then describe the
material based on the following categories:
Location: I just find it
interesting to see where the story is set
"Magicalness": Was it
magical or more realistic?
Romance: Was there any? If
not, did it compensate in other areas?
Illustrations: If there
were any, did I like them? If it was a film or TV show this becomes
Anything that really makes this stand out from other versions. Like the
Beast being female or truly evil.
Beast's appearance: I
figure if nothing else triggers my memory, this will.
This template is not used
in the Psychology section where an altered one is introduced.
Angelfish by Laurence Yep
Synopsis: A young
ballerina named Robin has just been given the part of Beauty in her
ballet school's latest production. She accidentally shatters the window
of a local pet fish shop and must work there for three months to pay
for it. She begins to see her boss, Mr. Tsau, as a real life Beast. He
only reveals kindness when he tends his beloved angelfish. Through her
Grandmother, Robin learns of Mr. Tsau's past and her own Chinese
culture and history.
Location: The story
is actually set in America (can't recall where exactly, New York
maybe). However, China plays a central part in the story.
story could have really happened. I suppose you could say there is
"everyday magic" in it.
Romance: Not in the
traditional sense. The reader comes to find out that the Beauty to Mr.
Tsau's Beast is actually Dance itself.
is not illustrated given that it is a young adult novel and not
Everything is symbolic. There's no magical spells, physical
transformations, etc. The story is much more dependent on actual
history than other versions.
Since this is symbolic he looks like a normal 60ish man from China.
Fire Rose by
Hawkin's father dies and leaves her to deal with all of his debts. A
mysterious man sends her professor a letter asking for a governess for
his two children. Rosalind agrees to take the job only to find out that
her employer, Jason, has no children but was left crippled and deformed
by an accident. Instead of caring for children, every night she reads
texts about magic to Jason through a speaking tube. Later she finds out
that Jason's accident was far from typical and that his current state
was the result of a failed magic spell.
Location: Rose lives
in Chicago and then moves to San Francisco after Jason hires her.
is a magician so, yeah, plenty of *that*.
Romance: Yep, it
becomes really evident about half way through the book. Given this is a
400+ page novel it deals with the repercussions more, too.
It doesn't wait til the very end to establish that the characters are
in love with each other.
Half man, half wolf.
Beauty by Susan
family has been painting the family of Lee Crompton for generations. At
last, her turn comes and Alix is surprised to find out that Lee suffers
from acromegaly and lives as a recluse. Naturally, a friendship forms
and through various trials such as her father's illness, Alix's
tumultuous relationship with her boyfriend, and Lee's taciturn nature
the two become closer. Alix is angered when she discovers no one will
ever see her painting of Lee, including the subject himself. She stomps
away with the painting. Will they be reunited? I said I'd try and avoid
suppose this could happen. Nothing really magical. The ending is
definitely grounded in realism.
Romance: Yep, a
pretty complicated one but it's there. Its course is probly not to the
liking of most people, though.
"Beauty"/Alix narrates the first part. "Beast"/Lee takes over towards
the end. Giving the Beast an actual genetic condition seems new. And
that was the biggest problem I had with this book. It doesn't seem
right to even symbolically suggest that someone with a genetic
abnormality is a "beast."
He has acromegaly.
Beast by Donna Jo
Synopsis: This is
the story told from the viewpoint of the Beast, formerly the son of the
Shah of Persia. He lives a life of luxury but after disobeying a
religious law, a fairy turns him into a lion. Unfortunately for the
prince, his father has scheduled a lion hunt for the next morning so he
must leave his native Persia and search for forgiveness.
Location: The story
follows the prince from Persia to France.
complete with a fairy and curses! It also has a lot of cultural and
religious information regarding Islam which was interesting and
different from most versions I've read.
eventually. Beauty doesn't show up til the fourth part of this four
part book, though.
but it does have a map that's rather helpful. It's really a very pretty
The importance of religion and the geographical movement of the Beast
and the story. Also, this is the first version I've found told
completely from the Beast's POV.
A lion, walking on all fours and everything.
Beauty: A Retelling
of the Story of Beauty and the Beast
hits Beauty and her close knit family when her Father's ships are lost.
They are forced to move into the country. The story pretty much follows
the traditional order of the story but with emphasis placed on Beauty's
family as well as the local people. Beauty must learn to love not only
the Beast, but also herself.
entirely sure which country but Beauty and her family come to reside in
a little town called Blue Hill.
the traditional sort. Also, dreams are really important. It's been a
while since I've had the opportunity to read this but I remember being
especially pleased with this element.
Romance: Yes, and it
seemed more natural. Not rushed or anything. This was the couple I was
most impressed with of all the versions I read.
but the descriptions are quite vivid.
Beyond the central characters of Beauty and the Beast, this story is
also very interested in Beauty's family. They are all very lovely
characters, with each of her sisters having an intriguing love story of
their own. The story is all told from Beauty's perspective.
Doesn't seem to favor a particular animal (at least that I recall at
this time), but walks and dresses like a man.
by Robin McKinley
Roses by Barbara
Isabel's father takes a rose from a florist shop for her, the deformed
owner demands his child come work for him as payment. Isabel is
at first wary of her employer, Leo, but then is drawn into his company
when she finds in him a well-traveled and intelligent
conversationalist. However, her family and boyfriend become
increasingly disturbed by the amount of time she spends with Leo.
Hill (Connecticut, I think) circa 1980s
one point the author seemed to be going for a sorta psychic connection
but not much here.
Romance: Yes but not
as much between "Beauty" and the "Beast" as "Beauty" and another guy.
There's a lot of teenage, high school friends and family angst.
Plus the modern setting with Star Wars and Dunkin Donuts
references. A wider cast of characters than with most BatB
tales. Kinda found myself thinking of it as "Beauty and the
Beast" as done by Sweet Valley Twins.
Leo survived a horrific car crash leaving him heavily scarred and with
hands like claws. Honestly, I found the character pretty
creepy. Way more into a teenager than a thirtysomething ought to
Lover by Tanith Lee
7-27-08, Updated 7-18-09)
Synopsis: First, I just want to say
that if you're a JABBer reading this and you recall me going off the
deep end over a book... here's the book! And I'm sorry.
;-) So beyond being the cause of one of my existential crises,
what was this book about? (ETA: Read it again just shy of a
year later. Still shaken up.) Well, 16 year old*
Jane lives with her
single mother in a beautiful home in the sky. Her
life's pretty well about being who her mother and society want her to
be. And then she meets Silver... Who is a robot. Or
is he? ETA: NOOOO!
Location: A futuristic
Earth that has survived a destructive asteroid.
"Magicalness": A great
deal of scientific "magic." But what I'll remember this for is
its spiritualness. ETA:
There's a part of this book that makes me really glad I believe in
Heaven. Because the thoughts one character has at one point are
things I never, ever want to feel or think.
Romance: Well, it's rather
obvious based on the title isn't it? By the way, the title is the
only thing I did NOT like about this book. I'm not quite sure
why. Regardless, it's one of the most romantic books I've
read. Romantic in a tragic but not hopeless way. (Quite
literally it drove me to drink, thankfully just one wine cooler. ETA: I did not drink anything this
time... cept a lot of caffeine so I could finish it over night and then
have two days to recover before work. I learned from the last time.)
Some people may wonder why I have it on this page given it's not
technically "Beauty and the Beast." For one, I learned about it
when I saw it on some one else's list of BatB adaptions and I had no
better place on this site for it so went with that
the progression of the love between Jane and Silver did very much
remind me of standard BatB variations with one party almost immediately
falling for the other while the other takes much more time.
Third, and most depressingly, it does have an equivalent to Disney's
torch-bearing mob led by Gaston. This one, however, is far less
dramatic and by that token infinitely more chilling. (Meaning it
took me 2 hours to read the last 30 pages cause I had to keep putting
it down to breathe.)
Illustrations: Just the
rather intriguing cover.
Interesting changes: The
futuristic setting, the robotics, and a very active supporting
cast. The whole Beauty and the Beast holed up alone in a castle,
never seeing anyone else, isn't here at all. Jane's friends and
mother are a near-constant presence either physically or as a lurking
threat. And this has the most awesome transformation IMO.
Truthfully, there are several transformations but the one at the end...
Gave me shivers. In a good way.
I read that I would likely cry during this book. I didn't (just
paced, ran, and failed to sleep a lot) and wondered if there was
something wrong with me. And then there was the last chapter...
and I sobbed. And was very glad I bought Kleenex the day before
last. ETA: Started sobbing much
earlier this time. My dog was concerned. However, I would
put the book down through out the entire rereading because I knew what
coming and wasn't quite ready to get there.
Beast's appearance: I
spose that would be Silver who is, well, silver with reddish hair and
very attractive. But I'm wont to think the robot corporation is
the true Beast. ETA: Or
stupid, horrible Egyptia is. Or those horrid twins. Or
selfish Demeta... or that idiot Swohnson. Or... clearly I should
cut back on the caffeine.
*If you're like me and sometimes put off by teenage characters, you can
probably fear not. If not for characters occasionally bringing up
ages, I would have never imagined these people as teenagers. In
this futuristic world, high school seems non-existent and teenagers can
live on their own without raising eye brows. So as a
twentysomething, I saw them as peers given I'm just now out on my own.
Synopsis: The Delauriers live a
charmed life in the city but all that falls apart when the father's
ships are lost at sea. The family moves into the country.
On the way there, their surrogate grandfather tells the tale of the
Heartwood Tree. Belle is enchanted by the tale and wants to learn
its secret. The same secret that will free the Beast who dwells
near it. In other words, it's pretty much the standard story but
with a tree in place of a rose.
Location: Based on the
names: France. Although I don't remember if it's clearly stated.
usual. An enchanted Beast who lives in a castle with food that
magically appears, doors that open, etc. The Heartwood Tree is
the most novel magical thing in this variation.
Romance: Yeah but it's not
really deep enough for my tastes. This book is only 204 pages and
the Beast and Belle don't meet until page 143. We then have a
mere 4 chapters before Belle returns to her family. I wanted to
buy this relationship but it seemed far, far too rushed and I ended up
feeling like this was a couple who was together because they just
really wanted to be in love and it may not have mattered with
who... I'm not a fan of predestined romances. I want the
couple to fall for each other because their own hearts, minds, and
spirits can't do anything else.
Interesting changes: I
really liked the myth of the Heartwood Tree and the tragic couple that
gave it birth. A lot could have been done with it. I kept
thinking that Belle would carve the branch and reveal the Beast as he
was pre-enchantment. Thus showing that she could see the real
him, because she loved him. But unless I missed it the branch
never does get carved. I felt like the author was setting up
Belle's carving abilities for a reason but it never comes to anything.
I did like the explanation for why the Beast was transformed. He
killed Bambi's mom! Okay, so it wasn't Bambi but close enough.
Beast's appearance: Tall
and wolf-like with copper fur.
by Alex Flinn
Synopsis: Kyle Kingsbury is the
most gorgeous guy in his prep school... and also the jerkiest. So
a witch, Kendra, decides to teach him a lesson. When he invites
her to Homecoming only to humiliate her, she gets her revenge by
turning the pretty boy into a beast. Kyle's newscaster father is
horrified and after dragging him from specialist to voodoo
practitioner, he dumps Kyle in a huge house with a blind tutor and
their maid. As a condition of the spell, Kyle must fall in love
with a girl and gain her love in turn within two years time.
Enter Lindy. Lindy is a poor classmate of Kyle's whose druggie
dad gives her to Kyle in exchange for his freedom after Kyle catches
him burglarizing his greenhouse. And then... you'll have to read
Location: New York
"Magicalness": Kyle is
definitely under a spell and Kendra makes recurring appearances.
There's also a magic mirror that can show anyone Kyle wishes to see...
including, apparently, the President in his bathroom. You also
get glimpses of the Little Mermaid, Rose Red, Snow White, their bear,
and the Frog Prince.
Romance: Yes. I
really did start to buy the relationship between Lindy and Adrian (nee
Kyle). There's a scene when they're on the fifth floor reading
about the couple that used to live there that's quite romantic.
And their sojourn into the country is very sweet. I like that
they begin to establish a sense of family together despite their cruddy
families of origin. That being said... I'm feeling my
age. It's hard for me to get too wrapped up in teen love
affairs. Really I only read this cause Neil Patrick Harris is
going to be in the movie and he is legend...wait for it...dary.
Although I did like it more than I thought I would.
Interesting changes: The
use of technology (chat transcripts pop up randomly) was
interesting. However, it also made me think how dated this book
will soon seem. And some of the chat lingo was driving me
batty. I realize many HS students type like that but I was just
plain dishearted to learn a smart girl like Lindy would actually use
"2" as a preposition. And I get Kyle using it but Adrian comments
on his prettified speech and still uses that crud! I can cope
with "lol" and the like but it was just too much.
The development of Kyle's past is probly more extensive than most any
I've read for a Beast. I did feel sorry for him with his "Cats in
the Cradle" childhood. Lindy, too, with her horrid father.
Simply having different locales was interesting. Adrian has his
"castle" but there's also his vacation home which was a nice
change. And in a couple scenes he actually wanders the
street. One subway scene made me wonder if the author watched
CBS' TV show. But Vincent remains way cooler than Adrian.
But then... Vincent was nearer my age. Gah. That makes me
There's a very nice parallel to Jane Eyre. Really it
goes into Lindy's bookishness and Adrian's growing intellect more than
most BatB takes.
Beast's appearance: As the
author writes: "Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog but a horrible
new creature who walks upright-- a creature with fangs and claws and
hair springing from every pore."
Whispers in the Woods by
Helen R. Meyers
Synopsis: Paloma St.
John is an orphan left in the care of her father's scientific
partner. Unfortunately for Paloma, he's a psychotic scientist
bent on creating a disease-resistant super human. While a young
girl, she stumbles upon his lab where he's doing viscious experiments
on primates. Years later she's able to escape with the survivors
and settles with her two chimps and wise old orangutan in a cottage in
Maine. Due to her telepathic abilities, she's able to pick up on
frightening communication from a being in the woods who wants her to
leave. However, she's drawn to this entity and, well, you know
the general gist of what happens next. They meet, they fall in
love, and it's all threatened when they both must face a common enemy.
"Magicalness": Paloma is a
telepath able to communicate with the primates in her care. But
her abilities are especially strong with Dunndrogo aka the Beast.
They're able to carry on entire conversations via telepathy from some
distance. In addition, they can enter each others' thoughts and
due to his reluctance to risk harming her by consummating the
relationship, the physical aspect of their relationship mostly unfolds
in their dreams.
Romance: Of course.
This is a romance novel. I did find the couple
intriguing although the development of their relationship seemed rushed
to me. However, not being a romance novel fan there were
times I wanted to scream "Ah! TMI!!!" but that's just me. I
thought the book was at it's best when they were talking about how much
they loved each other instead of giving a play-by-play. Dunndrogo
reminded me a lot of Vincent from the TV show with his worries about
hurting Paloma, losing control of himself, etc. I would be
absolutely shocked if I ever discovered the author hadn't seen the show.
I have to applaud this author for doing something I always wanted
Catherine on the TV show to do. Paloma gets really angry and
shoots back at him when Dunndrogo suggests she could be happier with a
normal life with a normal man... and he even has a particular man in
mind. Vincent tended to bring those sorts of points up and I
always wanted Catherine to just snap and start screaming "All this time
and you honestly think I'm so shallow I'd pick some rich Ken doll over
true love? Or is it that you just don't care about me enough to
not wish me the hell that is a loveless marriage? Or maybe you
just don't think my emotions run very deep? Which is it?!?"
At least Paloma gets a briefer statement of that type.
Dunndrogo's mother has a pretty prominent role and I can't recall too
many BatB stories in which his parents were very involved. So
that was really interesting. And gone is the benevolent father of
Beauty. Her "uncle" is a horrible, deranged person.
There's an entire moral aspect with animal experimentation. Nobel
cause but at times it was almost too much for me and I thought I might
have to stop reading or else have nightmares.
And, again, the telepathy. Even though several versions of BatB
feature special communication between the leads, I think this is the
most obvious about it. Unfortunately, at times it became
difficult for me to tell who was "talking."
The rival to the "beast" is far from a Gaston-type. He's actually
quite nice and helps Paloma to keep herself and her animals safe.
But at times he seems written to serve a purpose and not so much as an
Paloma has some shock when she first sees Dunndrogo. But she
jumps to love very, very quickly as opposed to the usual delayed, death
confession of love.
His name. Maybe it's just me but I woulda done something a lil
less exotic than Dunndrogo. Any time I put it down, I found
myself losing track of the name. Dunndrago?
Dunndrogo is the result of a human pregnancy interrupted by the
administration of some sort of chemical or something. So he's a
creation of science, not a witch with a vendetta.
Beast's appearance: She
never really described his features with much detail. All I
gathered was that he was covered in black hairs, extremely large, and
had blue eyes. At some point reference is made to him looking
like a mix of 3 different species but I don't think any is ever
expressed. I would assume primates.
Cupid and Psyche as
told by M. Charlotte Craft
Synopsis: This is a
Greco-Roman legend. This particular version is a picture book and some
aspects of the original legend have been altered, presumably to make
the story more kid-friendly. The main details are the same: The mortal
Psyche is beautiful, Venus gets jealous, and Venus asks her son Cupid
to make Psyche fall in love with a horrible creature. Cupid is struck
by Psyche's beauty and accidentally nicks himself with his own arrow
and falls in love. So they have this hidden romance, the only condition
is Psyche can never see her husband. Naturally curiosity (and her
sisters) get the better of her and she peeks. Cupid flies away and
Psyche spends the rest of the story fulfilling difficult tasks, seeking
Hades, Olympus, and the like.
mythology than magic. Gods and goddesses abound.
Romance: Yep, and
some regard this couple as the forerunners of every Beauty and Beast
Gorgeous. Lots of pretty, flowery scenery and beautiful costumes.
Other versions of this story have Psyche getting pregnant before she
actually sees Cupid. This doesn't happen in this version.
A winged guy with really blond, really curly hair.
The Dragon Prince by
Synopsis: Seven is
the youngest daughter of a poor farmer. She saves a snake from being
killed by her cruel older sister. Later, that snake returns in the form
of a dragon and demands that Seven's father give him one of his
daughter's for a wife or die. All refuse, until finally the question is
put to Seven who agrees to marry the dragon. Life is not so bad as she
might have feared, until one of her sisters interferes and Seven is
separated from her Prince.
Naturally, the Beast takes on three different shapes and Seven is
magically transported from her home to the Beast's and vice versa.
definitely. The passages which deal with the separation of Seven and
the Prince are very moving.
Amazing. Very bright colors and some of the pictures look almost real
enough to be photos.
The Beast chooses to transform himself into a dragon to look for a
wife. There is no unfortunate enchantment. Also, Seven sees the
Prince's true form almost immediately after entering his home.
He changes from a little snake, a great, brilliantly colored dragon,
and a man.
Beauty and the Beast
retold by Marianna Mayer
Synopsis: This is
basically a retelling of the most common form of the story, but fleshed
out a bit for added length. Many versions remove the scenes concerning
Beauty seeing the Beast's true form. This version leaves those scenes
typical fairy tale landscape.
certain. Beauty's dreams are made much of. There's a mysterious old
woman. The characters in the stories the Beast tells come to life and
Romance: This is
really very interesting. It's a sort of faux love triangle with the
Beast and the Prince both in love with Beauty but Beauty only loving
the Prince. Of course, she eventually learns they are one and the same.
Fantastic paintings by Mercer Mayer. I loved his books as a kid and
looking at this I know why. They are so intricate and colorful! The
writing is great but even if it weren't the illustrations alone would
Pretty much the general story. I do think the dream sequences are
treated with bit more depth than others, though that could just be my
Not as easily categorized as in some versions. Catlike I think.
Beauty and the Beast
retold by Carol Heyer
Synopsis: This is a
pretty basic retelling of the most popular version of the story.
Beauty's family must move to the country, Beauty's father meets Beast,
Beauty goes to the Beast, Beauty returns home for visit, evil sisters
interfere and keep Beauty from returning to Beast, etc.
Location: Not sure,
There's a flying horse, a magic ring, a wicked witch, and a magic
Romance: As with
many versions, Beauty's love for the Beast surfaces as he lays dying.
Really pretty unique. I especially liked the clothing depicted. Very
colorful. The people have a very ethereal look to them. The author also
illustrates her book.
Not much really. I do think some of the magic elements may be different.
A cross between a lion and a tiger. Post-transformation he looks like
Legolas' prettier twin. :-)
Daughters by John Steptoe
Synopsis: Mufaro has
two daughters, Manyara who is cruel and Nyasha who is kind. Nyasha is
dutiful and tend to her chores, especially the garden where she
befriends a small snake. The Great King announces plans to marry and
desires to meet the eligible daughters of his kingdom. Desiring to be
queen, Manyara sneaks away and hastens to the King, being cruel to
those who stand in her way. Nyasha then follows but, unlike her sister,
is kind to those who she runs into. When the two sisters finally meet
with the King they are both in for surprises.
Great King can shapeshift at will.
Romance: Yes, a
rather intelligent brand at that. The King gives much thought to
choosing a wife and Nyasha does not just fall into his path by
coincidence as with the more typical BatB stories.
beautiful, the reason my friends and I loved this story as children.
The illustrations of the characters are very good but the landscape is
A lot of people probably would not even consider this a BatB story, but
I see definite parallels so I listed it here. The King is not enchanted
and Nyasha is not forced to stay with him. There is great importance
placed on good works.
He changes from snake to little boy to old woman to handsome King, as
Beauties and Beasts:
The Oryx Multicultural Folktale Series
Synopsis: This is a
collection of 20+ variations form the tale from all different areas of
the world and cultures. Since it's so jam-packed, I gave this
book it's own page. You can visit it here:
"The Courtship of
Mr. Lyon" by Angela Carter
father sets out to restore his fortune but his car dies in the middle
of a storm. He seeks help in a nearby house where he finds a white rose
he hopes to bring back to Beauty. Naturally, this angers the Beast who,
upon seeing Beauty's photograph, releases the man after demanding
Beauty be brought to have dinner with him. The two return where the
Beast makes an announcement, he will help her father regain his fortune
and... perhaps it would be best if Beauty remained with him for the
Location: The Beast
seems to be somewhere in or around England, Beauty and her Father live
in London. It is also sometime in the modern era due to the presence of
telephones and cars.
Invisible servants and a dog that seems too human though, I suppose
even nonmagical dogs can be like that. I have one. :-)
Romance: Yes. The
Beast's devotion becomes clear quite soon. Beauty's own feeling are
dealt with a bit later, after she leaves the Beast's home.
Special attention is given to the period after which Beauty leaves the
Beast but before she returns to find him dying. This was especially
interesting and shows how Beauty is not so beautiful and good without
A lion with human attributes.
from the book The
"The Tiger's Bride"
by Angela Carter
Synopsis: The first
line is "My father lost me to The Beast at cards." That pretty much
sets the stage for this very strange version. Beauty is then taken away
from her father and brought to the Beast's palazzo where he makes a
most bizarre request of her.
Location: Italy, it
Something's definitely going on. Also, there's a robot who tends to
Beauty, though I suppose that's more technology than magic.
sure. Perhaps just not my version of it.
I felt totally outside my element reading this so I could just be
confused here, but I think Beauty turned into a beast at the end. Her
father being not-nice also seems new. I'm glad I didn't find this
version until I was 20, I really wouldn't have understood much of
anything before that.
A tiger, but he wears a wig and mask in public to appear human.
from the book The
"The Rose Garden" by
from the book Little Red Riding
Hood in the Big Bad City
is cursed with immortality and after hundreds of years finds his
woodland sanctuary destroyed forcing him to move into the
suburbs. His only love in the city is his magnificent rose
garden. When a teenage girl enters his yard and plucks one of his
prize roses, their lives change forever.
Location: A big bad
city. :-) If it was ever specifically stated, I don't
Yep. This story assumed the reality of things like immortals and
Romance: No but a
very different type of love.
Okay, gotta say when I was reading this and first figured out that
Cassie, child prostitute, was our Beauty I thought "Oh my God... this
is going to be a sick and twisted 'Pretty Woman' isn't it?" Not
at all. Turns out Cassie entered the Beast's garden to get a rose
from her dying only friend, Trina. Something in Cassie's story
makes the Beast want to meet this Trina. The rest of the story
revolves around them tending to Trina and "Beauty" and the Beast coming
to love each other. Not as lovers but father and daughter.
I thought it was a really beautiful story about forgiveness, grief, and
family. I thought it was an interesting twist to have not
romantic love humanize the Beast but instead fatherly love.
The author tells that over the course of his very long life, The Beast
changes from someone of beastly appearance to that of a normal enough,
if bulky, man. More emphasis is placed on his personality
transition. He's utterly detestable at the start but by the last
page he's a very different man.
"Beauty and the Beast" by Anne
from the book Forbidden Journeys: Fairy Tales and Fantasies
by Victorian Women Writers
Barly has three daughters. When his stocks plummet, the family's
forced to move to the country. The youngest, Belinda called
Belle, tries to make the best of it. When Mr. Barly wrongs Guy
Griffiths, Guy says that the debt can be paid off by having Belinda
(whom he's been crushing on for some time) come tend his mother.
She does and Guy falls more deeply in love with her. But then
she's called back home when her father becomes ill. Enter
conniving sister and all the rest!
Location: London and the
Not really. I think the gist of the original collection this was
taken from is how real life can sometimes mimic fairy tales.
Although it does start with a nice bit about how maybe fairies are
still active but we just take their work for granted since it's always
been with us.
Romance: On his side:
constant. The passages describing Guy's feelings for Belle are
very sweet. As for Belle's, it's the usual slowly-building love.
Illustrations: No, at
least not in this anthology.
Well, it definitely seemed timely despite being set in the Victorian
era! Stocks crashing! Downsizing! Money
schemes! But I liked the idea of the "Beast" actually have been
smitten with "Beauty" for some time. Granted, using her father's
misfortune as means of gaining access to her is a lil
questionable. But his mother really did need help and he's such a
socially awkward and enamored but well-meaning type that I found myself
liking him. Sorta a Mr. Darcy type.
The mother and a neighbor-as-narrator both seemed novel to me also.
Beast's appearance: A
shaggy-haired lawyer with a fairly big build and horrid
"The Brown Bull of Norrowa" by
Maria Louise Molesworth
from the book Forbidden Journeys: Fairy Tales and Fantasies
by Victorian Women Writers
The safety of a kingdom is threated by a great brown bull wrecking
havoc on the land. He will only stop if the princess is given to
him. The king and queen, however, are determined not to let their
daughter go with the beast so they send dopplegangers and keep the
truth from the Princess. The bull rejects them. When the
Princess at last learns of the situation, she decides to go with the
bull. As it turns out, he's a Prince and allowed to take his true
form for three hours a day. If she'll stay with him for three
years, he'll be free. Unfortunately, in a moment of desperation,
the Princess wishes for his bull skin to be smoted and so he is taken
away from her. She then needs to endure many trials before a
reunion is possible.
Location: Norway for the
Prince's home. I'm not sure about the other locations.
"Magicalness": The place
where the Prince and Princess stay is full of magic. The Princess
need only wish for something and she gets it. Of course, there's
also the enchantment that requires the Prince wander about as a bull
and behave rudely for 21 hours each day. Also, the Princess is
given three magical golden balls by a fairy at her birth and those and
other magical tokens figure in a lot.
Romance: Yep but in
typical non-psychological fairy tale style. The Prince and
Princess become very close in their three hours a day but it's not
really very well fleshed out.
Illustrations: There is
one black and white drawing of the Princess and the bull in this
Interesting changes: This
is definitely mostly "East of the Sun, West of the Moon."
Although having read versions of that, I don't recall the magical
balls. Those brought "The Frog Prince" to mind. Also,
there's a footnote that informs me that in other versions the Prince is
not shot and that this element was a nod to the author's husband who
was wounded. I'm not sure if that really is a big change or not
as I've not read too many "East" versions.
Beast's appearance: A big
brown bull... as one would guess from the title.
Theatre's "Beauty and the Beast"
Susan Sarandon and Klaus Kinski. 1984. A merchant with
three daughters, one nice and the others bratty, steals a rose
from the garden of a Beast. The Beast orders his death or that
one of his daughters come to him. Beauty runs off in spite of her
father's protests. Drama and romance ensues. Really I hope
you know the story by now. :-)
Location: Take your
pick I suppose.
Yep. The magic ring makes an appearance in this one as well as
the well-known mirror. Also, plenty of disembodied arms bearing
light fixtures. Also the Beast's explanation for his beastliness
at the very end speaks to the importance of fantasy in this version and
the entire series.
The Beast repeatedly asks for Beauty's hand and she declines.
Then she finds him dying and discovers she does love him. Upon
her declaration he turns into a prince (natch) but this leaves Beauty,
understandably I think, feeling nostalgic.
It feels like you're watching a play which I love. Cool
costumes. But the DVD has no added features.
The Beast's smoking hands taken from Cocteau's 1946 version. Also
this one makes a lot more of the selfish sisters than other versions I
Wolfish with a mane, blonde, sparkly clothes and a German accent.
"Beauty and the Beast"
George C. Scott and Trish Van Devere. 1976. The usual story
of a poor man who runs into trouble when he tries to take a rose for
his daughter. The Beast demands he return or send a daughter in
his stead and really I'm sure you know what happens.
There didn't seem to be one common accent.
"Magicalness": The Beast
is uber-magical. He seems able to create just about anything and
tries to help Belle find her own magic. As far as the staples, I
didn't notice a prominent mirror but there was enchanted jewelry (both
the standard transportational ring and burning gems for the wicked
sisters) and a blue rose.
Romance: Natch. And
I'm so outta the loop that I just now realized the two leads were
actually married. So on and off screen romance! Anyhow,
this was one of the more realistic romances for me. It was not
just "not interested, not interested, not interested, OMG you're
dying! Now I'm interested!" This was more like "not
interested, not interested, by golly I think I'm interested but you're
attacking your meal so never mind, not interested, OMG you're dying so
I'm going to give a touching speech showing I'm interested." I'm
a big fan of anyone pledging to follow someone to Hell.
Really. I'm not sure why. And I do prefer it when Beauty's
a bit hesitant post-transformation. It is a rather big switch...
Production values: This
was never professionally released but the quality of my copy was
surprisingly good. In fact, it was better than parts of the
professional "Beauty and the Beast" TV show DVD releases. I
thought the sets were good. I especially liked the outdoor
gardens and such. Nice costumes. The music was oddly
familiar which makes me wonder if it's reminiscent of a classical piece
or just had that sorta nostalgic quality to it.
Interesting changes: Belle
wasn't very well educated and learns much while with the Beast.
Big difference from the brainy Belle of Disney's version. After Ron Perlman's Vincent, I
think Scott's Beast is the most literary Beast I've seen. Loved
the Beast is a king and not a prince like in many versions I've
seen/read. Belle has a nice brother in this version.
Beast's appearance: George
C. Scott with a boar's nose and tusks and excess hair.
Jim Henson's The Storyteller
Synopsis: Starring John Hurt as the
Storyteller. Complete cast listing here.
1988. A woman tries everything to conceive a child but with no
luck until she cries out that she wants a child so badly that she'd
welcome one even "ugly as a hedgehog." And so Hans is born.
Taunted by his father and the village folk, Hans set off on his own and
takes residence in a castle. There he feeds and gives shelter to
a lost king. In appreciation, the king promises him whatever
greets him when he firsts arrives home. The king assumes this
will be his dog but instead his daughter greets him. And so she
must marry Hans. But the story doesn't end there...
Location: The segment
starts with words attributing the story to a German folk tale.
However, the people sounded English to me. So my guess is no
where in particular.
"Magicalness": Hans is
enchanted although by what I don't think is ever entirely explained but
that's no loss.
Romance: The episode's
only 24 minutes long and so you don't actually see a whole lot of Hans
and the "Princess of Sweetness and Cherry Pie" too terribly much.
But the final shots of them are very romantic and fairy tale-esque.
Awesome. I love this series. The Muppet creatures are still
amazing to me. (And, for the record, I don't think baby Hans was
ugly.) There was good use of silhouette. I suppose to some
it may look a lil low-budget but to me it just made it seem all the
more story book-like.
Interesting changes: This
wasn't strictly "Beauty and the Beast." More like that, "Cupid
and Psyche," and Jephthah's daughter from the Bible all mixed
together. Under the auspices of Jim Henson and the Creature
Shop. One interesting change for me, who seldom finds the
"Prince" attractive, is that as briefly as you saw Human Hans... he
looked good! And this is one of my favorite
transformations. I'm also fond of the use of bag pipe music (that
"began like hello and ended like good bye") here.
Beast's appearance: A
hedgehog. The title probably told you that, though. ;-)
the Beast to
the Blonde: On Fairy Tales and Their Tellers
Wow... I gotta give credit to anyone that can write a book that
spans thousands of years of history and sociology. This book
first traces the person of the storyteller from the ancient Sibyl to
the women from whom the Grimm brothers collected their tales. In
between we meet the Queen of Sheba, a variety of saints, and the
beleaguered ladies of royal courts. The second part of the book
deals with specific tales with two chapters devoted to "Beauty and the
focus: I think with any psychological or sociological work it's
important to know where the author is coming from. Warner lives
in London and is contemporary. Her work in this book spans
several parts of the globe and shows how familiar stories pop up all
over. But it does seem like the majority of it revolved around
Europe. I remember Germany and France seeming to be
particularly well represented. But the first part of the book
deals largely with Rome and the biblical world also.
are a myriad of black and white illustrations through out the chapters
as well as two sections of colored plates, about 40 some in
total. They really added a lot and made the ideas the author
brings up more understandable.
What the author has
to say about "Beauty and the Beast": As with most, she traced
BatB from it's ancestor "Cupid and Psyche." She hypothesizes that
the attraction to this story comes from a period when women's romantic
fates were decided by family, particularly the father. Obviously,
this can lead to several women unhappily wed to men they may even
regard as beasts. So the story offers a hopeful message that
these unwanted mates can transform and become something wonderful and
ideal. The author supports this by looking at the lives of some
BatB tellers and their own troubled marriages. One even tried to
have her husband killed! It was all wildly interesting and made
me really grateful to live now. However, it didn't do much to
enlighten why I love the story so much. Certainly I'm not likely
to end up forced into an arranged marriage. So I found myself
more interested in the second BatB chapter entitled "Go! Be a
Beast". This chapter talks more about our modern day
romanticization of nature and the wild and embracing it in our own
natures. This appealed to me more. The idea of
balancing different natures: civilized and natural, male and female,
etc. I read this entire 400+ page book and it really held my
attention. There were a couple spans when I sat and read it for
hours on end. The only draw back is the author alludes to so many
books and story variants and films and plays that you wish you had time
and access to them all!
by Marina Warner
Main "Beauty and the Beast" Page