Criterion has announced news that is likely to thrill some, and confuse others. For the first time (on DVD), Criterion will revisit a title, not with a repressing, but with a new version, complete with new extras. The title in question is the currently out of print 1946 Jean Cocteau version of Beauty and the Beast.
This masterpiece by the poet of cinema, Jean Cocteau, has enchanted audiences for more than fifty years with its surreal beauty and magical visual effects. Josette Day and Jean Marais shine in the definitive filmed version of the classic romantic tale, which has come to supplant the original fable in the modern imagination. The source of the later television series, animated feature, and Broadway musical, it remains one of our greatest treasures.
Renowned composer Philip Glass has created a new 5.1 surround mix of his Beauty and the Beast opera for inclusion on the re-release. Glass’ opera will be one of four audio tracks available on the newly-restored Beauty and the Beast, along with audio commentary by film historian Arthur Knight, a second commentary by writer and cultural historian Sir Christopher Frayling, and the film’s original soundtrack.
The original release of this title contained the spine number of #6. No news on whether the new release will share this number or have a new one. The disc is scheduled for release in early 2003.