Beauty and the Beast: An Introductory Ramble

It seems that I always want to start an introduction in one of three ways:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, OR

A Long Time Ago in a Galaxy Far, Far Away, OR

Once Upon a Time (which I’m pretty sure is the title of a TV series which is pushing me over the edge right now, but I digress).

I don’t know if any of them work, although the latter may come closest, because this is a rambling about a fairy tale. My favorite fairy tale. But the version on which my story is based is not the well-known animated movie created by that company which begins with the letter D and has a mouse for a mascot.

No, my adaptation is drawn from one of the most beautiful, atmospheric movies to emerge from the French cinema. On seeing it, it is difficult to believe that director Jean Cocteau made such incredible, breathtaking magic when you consider that France was not only coming off World War II, but had been under Nazi occupation since 1940! And sometime, I’ll talk more about what went into making this classic…

When I first wrote this story – inserting it with caricatures of well-known people as well as featuring one of Russell Crowe’s characters (who is not revealed until nearly the story’s conclusion) – it was part of a fairy tale challenge. In other words, take your favorite fairy tale and work it around one or more Crowe characters. The second I heard the challenge, I knew what my story would be, and not just the one I remembered from that beautifully illustrated fairy tale book of my childhood. The story would be inspired by and center around the Cocteau film, which I saw on PBS when I was growing up, and at a time when they would air great foreign movies and great silent movies. For me, La Belle et la bête was love at first sight. All these years later, my love for it has never wavered. It is in honor of it that I wrote a story and only hoped it came close to capturing Cocteau’s vision…  

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