Michel Auclair

Michel Auclair

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Beauty And The Beast (1946) Review


Essential
When Jean Cocteau began to direct Beauty and the Beast (La Belle et la bête) in 1946, he was known primarily as a poet and a painter. After the film was released he instantly became one of the finest French directors of his era. As it stands today Beauty and the Beast is still one of the best French films ever made.

The basic story, by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, is well known to most of us: A merchant (Marcel André) steals a rose from an estate owned by a beastly looking character. The Beast (Jean Marais) tells the merchant that he will spare his life if one of his daughters can stand in for him. The merchant reluctantly offers up his daughter Belle (Josette Day). She enters the Beast's world completely afraid of him but in time she grows to pity and then understand him. Ultimately she falls in love with him for his inner beauty rather than his external ugliness. And just about the time she accepts him for his ugly nature, he turns into a prince.

Continue reading: Beauty And The Beast (1946) Review

The Day Of The Jackal Review


Excellent
It's awfully long, but The Day of the Jackal (which inspired a remake almost 25 years later) is a terribly compelling look at the machinations of an assassin and the military/police machinations that must occur in order to apprehend him. Or, more to the point, the machinations of 1973, before the dawn of the electronic age, when hotel registration cards had to be collected by a local policeman, deposited at the station, messengered by motorbike to a city, and phoned in to HQ if a match was made. It's inefficiency that lets our British Jackal (Edward Fox) get within spitting distance of his target, Charles de Gaulle, after nearly a week of travelling across Europe with the French cops (led by Michael Lonsdale) on his tail. Delightfully intelligent and often irreverant, it's a good yarn and a good thriller to boot.
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