The Grim Origins of Beauty and the Beast and Other Favorite Fairy Tales

The stories we know and love often have very strange and dark histories

It has been 779 days since Emma Watson announced she would be playing the role of Belle in the new live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast, 701 days since Josh Gad posted a photo of the cast on set that sent die-hard fans into a tizzy of hopefulness and dedicated accuracy, and in merely hours the wait will finally be over — but who’s counting? Today, Disney’s newest live-action remake is set to take to the silver screen, and the anticipation is high, especially among fans of the original. This is a film that has based much of its promotional advertising on accuracy and dedicated reproduction: A quick Internet search of “Beauty and the Beast side by side trailer” brings up uncanny comparisons to the 1991 classic. But that is as far as the comparisons really go. This new live-action film is set to bring Disney’s animated classic to life, but just how accurate was Disney’s story to begin with?

Beauty and the Beast, after all, was based on a story written long before Disney Animation set forth to tell the tale as old as time, and like any good regurgitated fairy tale, liberties were taken and changes were made. Did the original tale feature nightly advances and marriage proposals? Was the inventor’s daughter really a more superficial and materialistic child? Was the “Beauty” not a well-read girl named Belle at all, but instead a dancing barber named Dan? Could any of these be the original plot? Would any of these have resulted in the happily ever after that contemporary audiences crave?

Some of our modern interpretations of fairy tales stick closer to their original source material, but other originals may prove to be more shocking than finding out that your candlestick can sing and dance! So what better way to celebrate the release of Beauty and the Beast than to take a look back before the “Once upon a times” and delve into the dark underbelly of some of our favorite fairy tales that we thought we knew and loved.



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