The Throwback: 'Beauty and the Beast' returns to the big screen
January 12th, 2012
05:42 PM ET

The Throwback: 'Beauty and the Beast' returns to the big screen

On the heels of its 1989 box office success with "The Little Mermaid," Walt Disney Pictures released another musical animated adaptation of a fairy tale, "Beauty and the Beast," in 1991. The animated classic became the third highest grossing movie that year.

It became the first animated feature to be nominated for Best Picture. The character Belle, especially, is a mainstay for Disney. She's part of their "Disney Princesses" franchise.

Friday, Disney will re-release the movie in theaters... in 3-D.

“I knew it was going to be a great Disney film but I didn’t realize until I went to New York for the film festival when [the movie] was 70% completed," Paige O'Hara, who voiced the role of Belle, told CNN.

"Coming from the Broadway world," she continued, "I know how tough the critics are in New York. They laughed and applauded throughout the film, and [at the end], stood up and applauded it. And I realized then, that this had the chance to be a classic."

O'Hara talked about what has kept the movie popular all these years. “It’s really timeless in terms of what it really means: don’t judge a book by its cover, beauty comes from within. The story will be meaningful 50 years from now."

And as Angela Lansbury, who played Mrs. Potts, put it, “It’s a simple story. It’s a visualization of a story that children have been reading for years, come to life. And in 3-D? My goodness gracious. I think every generation of children should get to see it. I hope they will always get to see these lovely stories."

Lansbury said the movie holds a special place in her heart, in more ways than one. "I cherish [it] because it’s one of the last great hand-drawn cartoon movies. I hope it’s not the last. I hope they do some more," she said. "I think there’s a quality to [those] movies that is irreplaceable. It’s all done by hand and I think that’s what makes it so extraordinarily special."

O'Hara admires her character, because, "She sacrificed her life without hesitating for her father. Her goal [unlike] the other princesses, was not to find a man."

O'Hara – who now works as a painter for Disney (her current project is based on the "Something There" scene from the movie, her favorite) – is recognized as the voice of Belle to this day. “I was in London and went to meet with a bunch of little kids, and one little girl asked, ‘Belle where’s your ball gown?’ I realized I need to sit down on the floor, read the book and do the Belle voice, and they accepted me and loved me.”

Lansbury, whose career stretches back to Hollywood's golden age, is recognized for "Beauty and the Beast" as well: “My voice gives me away, and kids and people will turn around when they hear me speaking, at the supermarket or someplace and say, ‘You’re Mrs. Potts!’"

Both actresses hope to travel to Walt Disney World this year, as the theme park is opening a replica of the Beast's castle.

O'Hara also noted that, this year, she and Disney decided that "I was sounding a little too old" to voice Belle, something she has done on DVDs and video games in the years since. Another actress will be taking over the role, though some of the talking Belle dolls still use her recordings.

Lansbury, who considers herself "lucky" for having such a lengthy career (which also included the Disney cult classic "Bedknobs & Broomsticks," another film she loves), hopes to start work on a stalled film project entitled "Adaline," and was recently seen in "Mr. Popper's Penguins."

But, more than anything else connected with "Beauty and the Beast," Lansbury is known for singing the Oscar-winning song of the same name.

"I will always be connected with that song, thank goodness, and I do sing it occasionally. [I even sang it] once with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir."


soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. xit khoang evian

    Excellent post. I was checking continuously this weblog and I am impressed! Extremely useful information specifically the final section 🙂 I care for such information much. I was seeking this particular info for a long time. Thank you and good luck.

    April 23, 2013 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. hoodia

    Helpful information. Fortunate me I found your web site accidentally, and I'm shocked why this coincidence didn't came about in advance! I bookmarked it.

    June 7, 2012 at 7:32 am | Report abuse |
  3. Jim

    Classic's between this and Lion King for my all time favorites...–

    January 16, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Vicks

    Looking forward one of my favs...thanks

    January 16, 2012 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  5. Samuel Getaneh Bogale

    This was an awesome movie that my kids loved. Welcome it back to the big screen!

    January 13, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Peace

    LMAO! @ Peter Griffen, How old do you think I am? OMG, that's so funny! I look nothing like her & she's waaaaay older than me. Oh I can't stop lol! Thanks for the laugh, I really needed it!

    January 13, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  7. laquesha tyree

    I LOOOOOVE REMAKES ! They rule !

    January 13, 2012 at 8:24 am | Report abuse |
  8. duh

    Here's a novel concept... come up with a novel concept! Everything is a re-make, re-boot, re-release- re-gurgitate. Bleh.

    January 13, 2012 at 7:43 am | Report abuse |
  9. Fred

    The Disney Lion King 3D quality is not great at all.
    Each shot was treated differently, you can see it at the 2 corners of the screen left and right.
    Lazy work for making more money.
    I saw others 3D conversion like Shrek, Alice in Wonderland etc .... it was amazing.
    Shame on you Disney!

    January 13, 2012 at 4:36 am | Report abuse |
  10. Peter Griffin

    Angela Lansbury. Lol. For sum reason that lady peace thats comes on there i also think she would look like angela lansbury. no joke.

    January 13, 2012 at 12:44 am | Report abuse |
  11. Sokman

    I would think more people would recognize Angela Lansbury from Murder She Wrote than Beauty & the Beast, but that could just be me being a product of the 80's-90's

    January 13, 2012 at 12:20 am | Report abuse |

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