Well it turns out Cocteau MEANT for the audience to be disappointed!
|Josette Day & Jean Marais|
behind the scenes ofLa Belle et La Bete (1946)
“My story would concern itself mainly with the unconscious obstinacy with which women pursue the same type of man, and expose the naivete of the old fairy tales that would have us believe that this type reaches its ideal in conventional good looks. My aim would be to make the Beast so human, so sympathetic, so superior to men, that his transformation into Prince Charming would come as a terrible blow to Beauty, condemning her to a humdrum marriage and a future that I summed up in that last sentence of all fairy tales: ‘And they had many children.’”
As one commenter on a review wrote:
If this was Cocteau’s intent, his ending should be judged a success. I certainly felt Belle’s letdown.I'm going to have to go watch it again (for the 52nd time) with this in mind...
Note: There's a really interesting article/review discussing the ending (how let down we are and why) HERE. Although it's all interesting (of course!) the ending is discussed in the second half.
In a related bit of news, a video interview was posted yesterday (August 19) by Stitch Kingdom, taken during D23's tribute to Glen Keane, (Disney veteran and the supervising animator for Disney's Beauty & the Beast) and some trivia emerged that will fascinate fairy tale folks.
While we know Disney referenced Cocteau's version quite a bit while in development, there's one thing the films had in common that likely the animators (and viewers) didn't know at the time (especially as Cocteau's essay referencing his intent with the ending, wasn't widely available then): it's just come to light that at least one key creative knew that viewers - and Belle - would most likely be disappointed with the transformation. There was even a plan to reference that.
‘I never referred to him as anything but Beast,’ he answered. ‘To me he’s always been Beast. I always just believed that Belle called him Beast from the moment that he transformed… so whatever his name was before is not important because he was called Beast after that.’ Keane also went on to add, ‘matter of fact, when he changed into the prince, I knew everybody was going to be disappointed by that, because they fall in love with the beast.’
Heh. Wouldn't that be awesome?
You can see the full interview from Stitch Kingdom HERE.
*By the way, critics agree this is likely true and not just an urban legend.