Once upon a time, in a forest near the Spa town of Merano, famous for its sparkling streams, it's bracing air and it's therapeutic salts, a young prince, named Henry, lives in his shining castle. Although he has always had everything his heart could have desired, Henry is spoiled, selfish, and unkind. His servants put a brave face on his angry outbursts, but none of them are happy and the Prince's reputation for a foul temper spreads far and wide. One winter's night, an old beggar woman comes to the castle and asks for shelter from the rain, and the bitter cold. The servants are unsure at first, and reluctantly allow the old woman in, warning her that she mustn't be seen by Prince Henry. But that is exactly what happens. Prince Henry is livid and berates his servants for wasting his money. "Do you think I pay out vast sums of money to heat this place so that you can invite all the riff-raff of the neighbourhood in to share it". He then throws the old women back out into the cold and rain. There is a particularly loud crash of thunder and suddenly the doorway is filled by a blinding light. When it dies down, standing in the doorway is a powerful Sorceress. She tells Prince Henry that she has come to see for herself, if his reputation for heartlessness was true and it is. She then places a curse on the Prince. "You must be taught a lesson in humility. A beast is how you behave, and so it is as a Beast you shall appear from now on." And before the eyes of his cowering servants, he is transformed into a hideous howling Beast, and is doomed to live out the rest of his days like this, unless someone likes him enough to shed a tear for his predicament. At the sight of him most of the servants run away as fast as they can, only Sarah the Cook stays to tend to his needs. "But you won't find me shedding any tears over him. He deserves what he gets, does Prince Henry"
In the town of Merano, life goes on. The Townsfolk are unaware of the Beast that lives on their doorstep, and every day is much like the one before. Today there is a market in the village square, and wandering between the various setters we find Belle Duchant, a beautiful young woman who lives there with her father, Mr. Duchant, who is an inventor; and her two selfish sisters, Nicole and Angelica. Unfortunately, Belle has caught the unwanted attention of the smelliest and dirtiest man in the town, who goes by the name of Fleshcreep. He has taken it into his head that Belle's politeness to him, means that she returns his attentions. Behind his back the other townsfolk laugh at him, for this. They also laugh at Belle's Father, Mr. Duchant, because his inventions have a habit of blowing up. They laugh a lot in Merano. But on this day, of all days, Mr. Duchant, has a new invention. He has been searching everywhere for Belle to show her the plans. The townsfolk encourage him to demonstrate his new invention, they hope for their amusement. It turns out to be a very strange machine indeed, made up from many organic, moving parts and making peculiar noises. To the townsfolk's disappointment it doesn't blow up, but none of them can see what use it might be. Although Belle is admired by the villagers for her beauty, she is seen as odd and peculiar, as is her father, whose inventions never amount to anything except an explosion. As always Belle is supportive and with her encouragement, Mr. Duchant decides to take his invention to the big city to make his fortune. Nicole and Angelina manage to stop bickering long enough to ask him to bring them back some expensive presents from the big city, but all Belle wants is a single red rose.
On his way back from the big city, his great invention having failed to work when he pitched it to the Dragon's Den, Mr. Duchant stumbles across the Beast's castle in the fog. He is amazed to find a rose growing there and remembers that all Belle had wanted was a single Red Rose. As he goes to pick the rose, the Beast finds him, and he is only saved from the Beast's wrath by Sarah the Cook. Mr Duchant finds that he is now a prisoner at the castle, since the Beast will not anyone leave, in case, they tell everyone that he lives there. Mr.Duchant shows the Beast a picture of Belle, and the Beast immediately falls in love with her. He allows Mr. Duchant to leave but only on the condition that he sends Belle back in his place.
When Mr. Duchant returns to Merano, he arrives just in time to stop Fleshcreep from moving into his home, allegedly to take care of Belle and her sisters. When Mr. Duchant explains what has happened to him, Belle quickly agrees to go back to the Beast's castle to save her Father.
Meanwhile, back at the castle, the Beast waits anxiously for Belle's arrival, unsure how she will react to his hideous appearance. Sarah, tries to reassure him, but even she isn't so sure that he should have been building his hopes up. When Belle arrives, he panics and hides. She too is nervous, having heard her Father's description and so she is surprised and relieved to be greeted by Sarah. Eventually, they stop being afraid of each other and much to Sarah's surprise they even start to like each other.
Fleshcreep, stills wants to marry the beautiful Belle, and will stop at nothing to see that this happens, so he instigates the arrest of Belle's father, suggesting that he has gone mad and murdered his daughter. When Belle starts to feel homesick, the Beast allows her to see her father in his magic mirror, and she sees that her Father is in trouble. The Beast, is touched by her love for her father, and in an act of kindness, allows her to leave the castle, believing it will be forever.
When Belle reaches the village, the villagers realise that Mr. Duchant is innocent, and release him, but when they find out about the Beast. Fleshcreep ceases on the opportunity for revenge and inflames the villages into a lynch mob and they march on the Castle. The villagers surround the castle and the Beast is confronted by Fleshcreep and they fight. Fleshcreep deals the Beast a near fatal blow. But as he lies dying Belle arrives and sheds a tear and the Sorceress's spell is broken. She arrives in a flash of light and restores the Beast to his original state. And needless to say the Prince Henry and Belle live happily ever after.
The story of Beauty and the Beast (French: La Belle et la Bête) was first published in a meandering version of the fairy tale by Madame Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve, published in La jeune américaine, et les contes marins in 1740. The best-known written version was an abridgement of Mme Villeneuve's work published in 1756 by Mme Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, in Magasin des enfants, ou dialogues entre une sage gouvernante et plusieurs de ses élèves; with an English translation appearing in 1757. The best known version is obviously the 1991, Walt Disney Feature Animation with a screenplay by Linda Woolverton, and songs by Alan Menken & Howard Ashman. It won Academy Awards for Best Song and Best Original Score, and is the only animated film ever to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture.
Beauty & the Beast RESOURCES
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