Movies + Travel: La Belle et la Bête by Jean Cocteau

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Jean Cocteau’s “La Belle et la Bete”. Belle begins her run down the hall with the arm candelabras.

I was reading a book on a French courtesan who had known Cocteau, a novelist, poet, playwright and director, among many other things. It was the first time I had heard of him and as it turns out, he had directed a slightly different version of “Beauty and the Beast.”

Filmed in 1946, I found it even scarier, with the Beast’s enchanted castle using live arms coming out of the walls and holding candelabras in the shadows. The black and white film sets the tone for the off-kilter feel, especially in the scene where Beauty runs down the hall. There was a scene that was clearly filmed backwards of Belle slowly prancing as if she were running forwards.

The costumes were done by French atelier, Jeanne Lanvin, a name that still has a place in today’s haute couture.

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Belle in a Lanvin original in “La Belle et la Bete” by Jean Cocteau.

It’s amazing to find out, given my admiration for this movie, that there is even a hotel that has the look of the Beast’s castle.

By mere chance, I had found out that the Mondrian Soho in New York City was a Cocteau-inspired creation by Benjamin Noriega Ortiz.

Forgive me if I’m the only one who thought this incredible but it’s not every day that you get to see an iconic movie get translated into a hotel. A HOTEL, for God’s sake!

Check out the photo gallery at the hotel and you’ll see what I mean

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