Findlay, Kerstetter Changes in a Tale as Old as Time

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Beauty and the Beast

Disney's Beauty and the Beast became a hit Broadway musical. The musical tells the story of a cursed young prince, who because of his own selfish actions is turned into a beast. He must find true love before the last rose petal drops or he'll remain a beast forever. Maurice, an inventor of a small town, goes to enter his latest invention into the fair, but gets lost. He stumbles upon a huge castle after being chased by ravenous wolves and takes refuge there for the night. The castle is home to a beast, the cursed prince, who takes Maurice as prisoner when he finds him. When Belle, the inventor's daughter, discovers her father is missing, she goes to look for him, and comes upon the beast's castle. When she finds her father's being held prisoner, Belle, offers herself in his place (Frantz 32).

Susan Egan who plays Belle in the Broadway musical said, "Belle's gusty . . . She's not a damsel in distress. She can save herself, thank you very much!" (Frantz 87). Disney created Belle's character as a free spirited woman, who had a sense of adventure and loved reading books. With the opening song we learn a lot about Belle's character: "Look, there she goes. That girl is strange, no question. / Dazed and distracted, can't you tell? / Never part of any crowd, / 'Cause her heads up on some cloud. / No denying she's a funny girl, that Belle" (Frantz 18). The townsfolk think Belle is strange because she's not afraid to think for herself, she has that sense of independence, that scares the townsfolk because they've never met anyone like her before.

For the Broadway appearance of the beast, the directors tried making the Beast more humanized, “In the movie . . . the Beast has a cuddly, teddy-bear like quality underneath his rough exterior. But for a live performance, we needed more chemistry between Belle and the Beast" (Frantz 92). The make up artists made different adjustments to the beast's character allowing the audience to fall in love with him and see why Belle is able to love him. They changed his makeup to make his facial expressions easier to read and added more songs that help make the beast more human. These adjustments to the beast's character show his true feelings. The song “If I Can’t Love Her” really captures the beast’s feelings for Belle:

No beauty could move me, / No goodness improve me. /No power on earth, if I can't love her. / No passion could reach me, / No lesson could teach me, / How I could have loved her and made her love me too . . . If I can't love her, / Let the world be done with me (Frantz 53).

When the Beast sings this song it shows us that the beast is human, and that he has feelings of love, confusion and regret.

In the movie Beauty and the Beast, Maurice and Belle have a good father and daughter relationship, but the Broadway crew wanted to take that deeper, so they added more depth to Maurice's character. First they had to start off with capturing the image of the "loony" inventor, which they do perfectly when Belle asks her father if he thinks she's odd and he asks where she would get an idea like that as he pops up with a peculiar helmet and goggles on. They added the song "No Matter What," which they wanted to use to show the relationship between Maurice and Belle. Lyricist Tim Rice said, "With this song . . . we took the opportunity to expand Maurice's character and to emphasize the love between father and daughter" (Frantz 101).

Gaston is the opposition that Belle must overcome in order to love the beast. Belle turns down Gaston, which only adds to the townsfolk thinking she's peculiar because Gaston is the ideal guy any girl would want. Belle is able to look past his attractive appearance and see him for what he really is: a beast. Scriptwriter Linda Woolverton explains the contrast between the beast and Gaston:

The beast is someone with a beastly exterior and a human interior . . . In contrast, Gaston has a handsome exterior and a beastly interior. As the story evolves, the two switch places--the Beast becomes more human, and Gaston's beastly nature is reveled (Frantz 105).

Belle is able to look past the beast's outward appearance, see him for who he really is and by doing this she falls in love with him.


Alex Finn's Beastly was made into a movie that follows the same storyline as Disney's Beauty and the Beast, with a few modern changes. The story takes place in modern day New York, where a young girl, Lindy, lives with her father who has a drug addiction problem. Lindy is the "Beauty" character in Alex Finn's Beastly; she's an independent, smart, artsy young girl who follows life to her own beat. Her father's struggle with drugs puts a lot of stress on Lindy, but because she loves her father she puts up with it.

Kyle is the popular boy at school. He has the looks that could get anyone he wants, but when he pulls a prank on Kendra his whole world changes. She puts a curse on him that makes him just as beastly on the outside as he is on the inside and gives him one year to find true love or he'll be stuck like that forever. Kyle takes a keen interest in Lindy; he starts following her around and actually ends up saving her life because of it. One night he overhears Lindy pleading with her father, who is dealing drugs to two other men. He goes up and removes her from the situation. Once Lindy is out of harms way, Kyle goes back to where the father is, discovers that he has killed one of the guys and then he threatens to show the pictures he just took unless Lindy comes and lives with him.

Lindy goes and lives with Kyle, but she knows him as Hunter. At first she is reluctant and doesn't associate with him, staying in her room. Through Hunter's' kind acts she begins to fall for him (see fig. 1). They become good friends. Things are developing well when Lindy gets a call saying her father is in the hospital. She rushes to see him. Kyle writes Lindy a love letter telling her exactly how he feels, she begins to read it on the bus ride to see her father, and she tries calling Kyle many times so they can talk about the letter, but he never picks up.

Alex Finn's Beastly presents the force of opposition through the beast's character. Kyle refuses to answer Lindy's calls in fear that she'll reject him. It's not until he realizes that Lindy will love him no matter what because of that very first day when she met him, Kyle asked if she thought he was ugly and she replied, "I've seen worse" (Beastly).

Fig. 1. Lindy being swept off her feet by Kyle. ;, 16 April 2010; Web; 30 Jan. 2012.

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