This classic film was released on November 22nd, 1991 was inspired by Jeanna- Marie Leprince de Beaumont’s French fairytale Beaty and the Beast. Set in provincial France, a young narcissistic Prince (Robby Benson) was throwing a ball during a winter storm when thee was a knot at the castle’s door. An old beggar woman asked for a place to stay in exchange for a rose. The prince laughed in her face and set her on her way but not before the old beggar woman cursed the prince to become the beast, giving him the enchanted rose, with which she said “Unless you learn to love another and earn their love in return by the time the last petal falls, you and your servants will be cursed forever.”
Fast forward 10 years in a neighboring town, young girl Belle (Paige O’Hara) is stuck in her mundane life. Bored with the unintellectual townsfolk, Belle visits the town library. On the way Gaston (Richard White) the most eligible bachelor and his sidekick LeFou (Jesse Corti) spot Belle reading through the chaos of the morning market. They chase her down so that Gaston can court the most beautiful girl in town. Bell turns him down right before running home after hearing an explosion coming from that direction. There her father Maurice (Rex Everheart), a crazy invented was on the floor covered in soot. Belle rushed to him, helping him up and showing him that his invention worked. Maurice packed in up on to their wagon and set off into the woods into the neighboring market.
On his way through the woods, Maurice gets caught in an unsuspecting storm and ends up lost. Trying to take a shortcut to the Market, Maurice ends up going deeper into the woods. Soon he’s being chased by wolves and comes upon an old castle where he and his horse find refuge. Inside the castle, Maurice meets Lumiere (Jerry Orbach), Cogsworth (David Ogden Stiers), Mrs. Potts (Angela Lansbury) and Chip (Bradley Pierce) a few of the servants of the castle, but to his surprise they were not human. Cogs worth warns Maurice to leave before his Master finds their unwelcome guest but it was too late. The Beast imprisons Maurice.
Phillipe the horse knew something was wrong and left the castle grounds to find his way to Belle, who knew something was wrong when her father wasn’t with him. Phillipe brings Belle to the castle where she trades her life for Maurice’s. Maurice is released while Belle is being welcomed by the servants. Finally feeling a little comfortable she meets the master of the castle who she butts heads with socially. Belle doesn’t want to be treated like prisoner, which she felt like in her own town. The servants realize this and gives Belle a tour of the East wing of the castle but before they know it, Belle has sneaked off to the forbidden West wing. Belle finds the enchanted rose, entranced she begins to lift the glass but the Beast finds her, raged she was going to destroy the rose.
Belle runs out of the castle and towards home. on her way she encounters the pack of wolves. Thankfully the Beast saves her and they return to the castle to be given a second chance and knowing each other. Meanwhile Maurice returns to town raving about a monstrous beast, talking objects and Belle being imprisoned. Gaston and Lefou use this opportunity to mock Maurice and pretend to help in order to gain favor for Belle’s hand in marriage. Gaston is about to put Maurice in an insane asylum when Belle finds out through an enchanted mirror the Beast had gifted her. He sets her free to save her father.
Returning to town, Belle shows the townsfolk that she’s safe and that Maurice isn’t crazy. She shows them the Beast but is trying to explain how nice he is when Gaston twists her words and has the townsfolk march upon the castle to kill the Beast, locking Maurice and Belle up in the wagon set to head to the insane asylum. Lucky enough, Chip stowed away in her picket and is able to unlock the wagon. Chip, Phillipe and Belle race to the castle to warn the Beast and the servants, who are already aware and are prepared to fight. Through the fighting Gaston makes his way to kill the Beast up on the West wing tower. Belle finds them and watches as Gaston ends up falling to his death, the beast also collapses, just as the last petal falls. Belle kisses the beast and watches him transform back into the prince he was. They are greeted by the castle servants who are also back in human form. Belle and the prince live happily ever after.
So this film was released just a few months after I was born. Growing up it was between this and the Little Mermaid being my favorites. I mean that library beast has. Honestly though when I was in my teens and I went down to Asheville, North Carolina and took a tour of the Vanderbilt Estate, it reminded me of a modern day Beauty and the Beast Castle. And that library is such a dream. Heck even now it is our inspiration inside our Minecraft houses. It is funny because my son is not the biggest reader and yet must have books around him whether in real life or in his Minecraft worlds. I, on the other hand, am one of the biggest readers. Which would make sense given how much I love to write. I mean keeping up with 3 blogs and being an author, it is a lot, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.