10 things you didn't know about Beauty and the Beast | Virgin Media
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10 things you didn't know about Beauty and the Beast

16/03/2017Movies

It may be a tale as old as time, but Disney's Beauty and the Beast is getting a 21st century makeover this week. You can keep your Emma Watsons and your CG Beasts and your outraaaageous Fronch accents: we'll stick with the animated original every time. But do you know Beauty And The Beast like we know Beauty And The Beast? Here are 10 fascinating trivia titbits that will make you appreciate it even more. Be our guest, be our guest, put your trivia to ze test...

 

Angela Lansbury thought Mrs Potts wasn't her cup of tea

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Bona fide screen legend Angela Lansbury originally didn't fancy play-acting as a porcelain teapot, so she suggested to the film's directors that someone else play Mrs Potts. Directors Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise suggested that she give the title song, 'Beauty and the Beast', a shot anyway, just so they had a backup of the song to use as a temp track. Lansbury agreed, and it was that single take recording that ended up in the movie. It has gone on to become one of the most beloved Disney songs ever.

 

Gaston: the secrets in his eyes

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Despite Belle's protestations, she and Gaston do actually have something in common - they both have blue eyes. That might not sound like much, but Gaston is actually the first ever Disney villain to share the same eye colour as the protagonists (Beast also has blue eyes). Gaston's eyes also hide another secret: as he plummets from the Beast's castle, skulls can be seen in his pupils in a single frame, confirming that yes, he very much does not survive the fall.

 

Old Beasts litter the castle designs

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As Belle potters around Beast's castle, she takes in the striking decor. For example, Beast has famous paintings - or at least good quality knock-offs - hung on his walls, like 'The Girl With The Pearl Earring'. Look at the columns and pillars, however, and you'll notice some beastly designs: these are animation supervisor Glen Keane's scrapped designs for the Beast himself. At least they made it into the movie in some form or another.

 

Beast is a real animal

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The accursed Beast is quite the specimen: Glen Keane used characteristics from several animals to create his memorable look. Beast is an amalgamation of many different creatures and is comprised of the mane of a lion, the beard and head shape of a buffalo, the tusks and nose of a boar, the brow of a gorilla, the body of a bear and the legs and tail of a wolf. It's a miracle he looks half a cuddly as he does, to be honest.

 

Beast was originally kinda dumb

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In Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve's original book, 'The Story of The Beauty and the Beast', the story is not quite so family-friendly. For starters, Beast isn't cursed for being arrogant or selfish, but because he refused to marry his wicked godmother. And though he is still transformed into an ugly beastie, he wasn't always so well-read; storybook Beast had to communicate his love to Belle despite the fact he had the intelligence and eloquence of an animal. With that in mind, their romance becomes super creepy.

 

The international versions are fun

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Beauty And The Beast is a story beloved the world over, so it's little surprise that other cultures took to Disney's version. It's the little differences in the international versions that make you smile. For instance, in France, the Cogsworth character is known as Big Ben (which, given he's a British clock, makes way more sense than Cogsworth). The Chinese version, meanwhile, scored an awesome dubbing coup: Beast was voiced by none other than martial arts superstar Jackie Chan.

 

It has a whopping great plot hole

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Not to sound like a conspiracy theorist here, but the timelines just don't match. Settle in. So! We know that, because the rose has almost shed its last petal, Beast is in his "21st year" as the enchantress said. We also know that Lumiere and friends claim to have been rusting for "ten years". That means that Beast née Prince Adam was cursed when he was just 11 years old. Fine. But if that's the case, how come there's a portrait in the attic of a grown-up Prince Adam, looking exactly like he does at the end of the movie when the curse has lifted? Aha! This fictional children's adventure is slightly flawed!

 

Belle's book tells the story of the movie

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Remember when Belle is lording it around town in the opening musical number, rubbing her literacy in the face of all the villagers? If you look closely, you can see that the book Belle has her head buried in contains an illustration that foreshadows the entire film. The caption translates from French as 'Prince Charming' and the drawing shows a brown-haired girl being wooed by a blonde man in the grounds of a large castle. Sound familiar? Remember, she also described the book earlier as being about a prince in disguise ("She won't discover that it's him until chapter three"). Sound familiar yet? It's... it's the story of... oh, never mind.

 

Beauty and the Beast used CG. In 1991.

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Who knew movie CG was even invented in 1991? Beauty And The Beast was the first full-length Disney animated movie to use 3D computer-generated backgrounds in combination with traditionally cel-animated 2D characters: the chandelier effect, for example, may look rudimentary now, but it was revolutionary at the time. It was only the second Disney film to use the new computer system; 1990 animation The Rescuers Down Under was the first.

 

The climactic ballroom dance is phoney

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Even Disney's finest animators have to adhere to the dreaded d-word: Deadline. With just weeks left on the movie's production schedule, the final scene featuring Belle and the newly restored Prince Adam was yet to be drawn. An executive decision was made: with the time available, animators would draw over existing cels taken from the dance scene in Sleeping Beauty, effectively reusing the same animation, albeit with different characters. You think that's bad? Look at the onlookers: Disney didn't even bother to animate them at all.

Beauty and the Beast (1991) is available now on Sky Cinema