Undoubte dly in response to criticism that the cute little “Mermaid” Ariel was nothing more than a precocious sexpot, the idea-people behind this beauty--aptly named Belle (voiced by Paige O'Hara)--chose to make her an icon of self-reliance and a voracious reader with a curiosity and love for everything around her (including the Disney trademark: doting animals).
Even before we really meet the Beauty, we are treated to the mythos of the Beast (Robby Benson)--the painful tale of a spoiled, arrogant prince who is cursed by an angry sorcerer into the body of a Beast and cursed forever unless he can learn to love and be loved. The story that ensues is a delightful one of love, trust and the importance of family and commitment. This all unfolds in the Beast's castle that's filled with enchanted, anthropomorphized bric-a-brac, including a candelabra reminiscent of Maurice Chevalier (Jerry Orbach) and a warm-hearted, robust teapot (Angela Lansbury). We also find the memorable characters stepping in time to routines that Busby Berkeley would have envied. Tying it all together is a score full of wonderful music written by the brilliant composer-lyricist Howard Ashman.
“Beauty and the Beast” will entertain generations to come and enter the archives of Disney's classic stories. FLASHBACK: January, 1992
Voiced by Paige O'Hara, Robby Benson, Richard White, Jerry Orbach, David Ogden Stiers, Angela Lansbury and JoAnne Worley. Directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise. Written by Linda Woolverton. Produced by Don Hahn. A Buena Vista release. Animated. Rated G. Running time: 85 min