Faerie Tale Theatre: “Beauty and the Beast” (1984)

Lovingly designed after Jean Cocteau’s 1946’s French masterpiece “La Belle et La Bete,” this episode of Shelley Duvall’s beloved children’s program is one of its most artistically satisfying. Operating beyond the conventions of family entertainment, the episode casts the enigmatic, intense Klaus Kinski as Beast and the inaccessible Susan Sarandon as Beauty, which creates a memorable dynamic between two disparate acting methods that blend surprisingly well. In addition (as referenced by the comparison to Cocteau’s surreal adaptation), the set design is absolutely stunning, recreating Cocteau’s dreamy approach on a smaller scale but nevertheless effectively. It’s unlike anything else in the imaginative series, and stands out even among the high standards the show established for itself.

Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)

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