My favorite thing about Beauty and the Beast has always been how it easily it exchanges the main qualities of its leading characters.
From its opening where we see tinted glass windows as beautiful ways to represent ugliness and emotional chaos (as a child this picture of the fairy queen scared me more than the beast...) to its eventual, if a bit facile, notion that the real beast was Gaston all the time, the film is perhaps a bit too complex for children.
But to be honest, my favorite shot in the film has more beauty than ugliness (I'll get to the point soon I promise) and in fact it's not even a shot per se...
It's this entire crane shot, which always leaves me in awe for its technical mastery and timelessness. Here we see Belle and the Beast dancing the title song by way of a porcelain Angela Lansbury.
As an adult I can't help but be swept away by the sheer romance of this moment, yet usually as the following split second occurs I'm reminded of my childhood fears...
These usually had a lot to do with religious imagery (try growing up in a Catholic household where your father's grandmother had a bizarre aquarium filled with statues of saints and other icons) I'm even more freaked out when the seemingly adorable cherubs, move and point at the innocent dancers below!
Of course I kid a bit, this scene doesn't really scare me anymore but now more than ever it brings up slightly bizarre streams of consciousness moments that make me wonder what would actual angels think of a demon like mammal courting a young woman without a chaperon, or why is Belle's eventual love for Beast enough to justify the evil he committed before he met her?
Perhaps I'm not making much of a point after all but I always find it beautiful to realize how the films you discovered during your childhood manage to grow old with you.
This post has been part of Nat's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" series.