Now THAT is a movie

We watched the classic Beauty and the Beast tonight. This glorious film pretty adequately shows what Disney used to be capable of, and what we haven’t seen from them in a very, very long time. More’s the pity. Great comedy, beautiful singing, fabulous animation, a famous romance brought to life: what’s not to love?

I have two complaints, and neither of them have to do with the movie itself (which I consider almost beyond reproach). First and foremost, I am regularly dismayed by Disney’s economically irrational policy of tossing films into the “vault” for years at a time. Consider: I see this movie at a friend’s house. I fall in love with it and want to own it. Tough luck Charlie: it’s unavailable. But in a few years, when the brainiacs at Disney put it on the market again, I will have forgotten all about it. That, friends, is a lost sale. Worse, some people who would happily pay for it and aren’t allowed to do so will just pirate the thing: more revenue lost. Crazy scenario? I submit to you the recent fiasco concerning HBO’s refusal to release in a timely fashion Game of Thrones in viewing formats customers clamored for, resulting in massive piracy instead of massive sales. In short: Disney (among others) needs to wise up and leave movies like Beauty and the Beast on the market.

And my second complaint is someone’s refusal to release Angela Lansbury’s rendition of Beauty and the Beast as the official version of the song. Celine Dion’s version gives me the hives. Lansbury’s version is human. In contrast Dion’s is better suited for a Vegas theater performance. This is only the second time that I’ve thought something like this: I think Andy Williams butchered Moon River, while Audrey Hepburn’s version in Breakfast at Tiffany’s was touching and real. Angela Lansbury totally nailed that song, and whatever “flaws” in her voice there may be only made the song better.

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