Needless to say The Beast (Le Bete) is certainly one of the more… unusual films I’ve come across. However, it’s not for everybody and frankly, as strange as it is, and actually the performances aren’t half bad all things considered, I’m not sure if this is one I’ll ever revisit.
Genre(s): Drama, Fantasy, Horror
Arrow Video | NR – 98 min. – $39.95 | September 15, 2015
Bestial dreams interrupt the venal plans of a French aristocrat (GUY TREJAN) attempting to save a crumbling mansion by marrying off his deformed son, Mathurin (PIERRE BENEDETTI), to a horny American heiress, Lucy (LISBETH HUMMEL). Yet Mathurin seems more interested in his horses than in his bride-to-be, and when Lucy finds out about the story of his 18th-century ancestor Romilda (SIRPA LANE) copulating with the titular beast it sparks to life one of the most outrageous dream sequences in cinema history.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 4.0/5
This 2-disc set comes housed in a wide clear Blu-ray case. As with other Arrow releases, it comes with booklet and reversible cover.
Introduction by Peter Bradshaw (1:45; HD) – The film critic gives an intro to The Beast and Walerian Borowcyk’s career in general.
The Making of The Beast (57:56; HD) – Camera operator Noel Very provides his thoughts on the film set against rare behind-the-scenes 16mm footage.
Frenzy of Ecstasy (4:22; HD) is a look at Borowcyk’s designs and correspondence for the design of the Beast’s costume, plus a glimpse at the never-filmed sequel, Motherhood.
The Profigate Door (13:17; HD) – Curator Maurice Corbet provides a guided tour and demonstration of Borowcyk’s “sound sculptures”.
Boro Brunch (7:37; HD) – Former associates of Walterian Borowcyk reminisce on working with the filmmaker in this new set of interviews recorded in 2014.
VIDEO – 4.5/5
Arrow Video releases The Beast onto Blu-ray presented in its original 1.66 widescreen aspect ratio and given a new 1080p high-definition digital transfer. The picture actually looks pretty darn good showing off excellent detail levels and bright and brilliant colors which never appeared to be boosted and skin tones look natural. There is some natural film grain but otherwise it’s a clean-looking transfer free of any obvious scratches or dust marks.
AUDIO – 3.5/5
The movie was given a French PCM 1.0, with English subtitles, and for the most part it’s a fine track but dialogue levels were uneven sometimes coming across with relative clarity while others seem to top out. There were some hissing noises throughout but ambient noises are noticeable. This is an adequate track that presumably is a solid upgrade over any other home video incarnation.
OVERALL – 3.0/5
Overview, needless to say The Beast (Le Bete) is certainly one of the more… unusual films I’ve come across. However, it’s not for everybody and frankly, as strange as it is, and actually the performances aren’t half bad all things considered, I’m not sure if this is one I’ll ever revisit. The Blu-ray released by Arrow Video offers great video, adequate audio and a fine selection of special features to browse.
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.