I admit it: I wrote this more than 20 years ago. But, like " Beauty and the Beast" itself, I think it stands the test of time - that is, with a few tweaks to update it - Linda

Take this quiz to see whether you should be in the audience for Walt Disney's "Beauty and the Beast":

- Are you between the ages of 3 and 150?

- Do you enjoy a fast-paced story and characters who remind you of real people?

- Do you enjoy well-written musicals?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, this is the movie for you. You certainly don't have to be a child to enjoy this timeless rendition of the classic story.

This animated adaptation of the age-old fairy tale has Belle (the voice of Paige O'Hara) as its star. Belle, a beauty, lives in a little French village in the late 18th century with her father, an oddball inventor. And the townspeople think both of them are pretty strange, what with Belle's infatuation with books and her dad's noisy machinery.

The lovely Belle has a suitor, Gaston (the voice of Robby Benson). The town's most eligible bachelor, he's handsome, strong and an egomaniac. And his chief pleasure is hunting whatever moves.

Because he's the envy of all the men and the idol of all the women, Gaston cannot believe that Belle will have nothing to do with him. When she publicly repulses his advances, his infatuation turns to fury and he vows to make Belle his wife no matter what.

Belle keeps dreaming of living somewhere away from her mundane, provincial life, thinking of the faraway places she reads about. And she soon gets her wish after her father, who innocently trespasses in a castle, is locked up by the Beast who lives there.

Belle offers to take her father's place and the Beast agrees. And Belle soon learns that the Beast, however ugly, is intelligent and charming in his own way. Plus, he offers her a wealth of knowledge in the extensive library within the castle.

But Gaston has set evil doings into motion and bribes someone to lock up Belle's father in an asylum unless she agrees to marry him.

Will the Beast allow Belle to return to rescue her father? Will Belle give in to Gaston's demands?

You'll just have to see it and answer those questions yourself. Along the way, you'll laugh, maybe even shed a tear, and enjoy the talents of such characters as a talking candlestick Lumiere (the late Jerry Orbach), a chatty teapot (Angela Lansbury) and her adorable little cup, Chip. In the updated version, you'll get to see the "Human Again" musical sequence, which features a scene that was deleted in the version of the movie that first was shown in 1991.

And just wait until you see that fantastic ballroom scene!

This film will be a beauty for the silver screen for ages to come.

 

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