Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Sunday, September 26, 2010
According to imdb, and Is Labyrinth Based on a Novel, the story for the movie is completely original. The book she refers to isn't a real book, although I wish it were. The above link has great detailed information on the authors and misconceptions people have about the movie being based on a prior story. Author A.C.H. Smith wrote a novel version of the movie, after the movie came out (and also wrote a novel version of Dark Crystal). I would love for someone to write an interpretation of what the book contained, working in the famous lines ("you have no power over me...")
However, I did discover a children's novel, "The Goblin Baby: Adapted from a Story By Andrew Lang." This seems to be similar in ways-a girl is afraid her brother was stolen by goblins and replaced by a changeling. She goes on a journey to get him back, is at times afraid of being kidnapped herself, but eventually the goblins help her in her search.
This prompted me to try to discover which Lang story this was adapted from, and I really couldn't find anything-not that my various internet searches are fool-proof. I did find an interesting tale, "The Hoodie-Crow," that came up in my searches because it involved stolen babies. It caught my attention because of its similarities to Beauty and the Beast-a hoodie crow asks two sisters to marry it, and they refuse he because he is ugly. He asks the third sister, who agrees, not despite his ugliness, but because she thinks a hoodie is a pretty creature. I like that element, because stories often make it appear that there is a clear scale of ugly to beautiful and every girl (and boy) can be neatly ranked along it, when there is often disagreement among people as to which is the most beautiful celebrity, girl in school, etc., even when we're judging on the most shallow standards. The hoodie's wife goes on to discover that he is human for part of the time, and later has to go on a journey in search of him, much like Beauties in earlier tales.
So, if anyone knows of this Andrew Lang tale that has elements that may be similar to Labyrinth, please let me know. But one more thing I have to share: a fake trailer for "Labyrinth 2: Return of the Goblin King", combining shots from "A Beautiful Mind" with elements of Labyrinth, and a random shot of David Bowie not in Jareth costume. It's quite cleverly done:
Friday, September 24, 2010
Also, to read Lucy Coats' well-informed comments and reflections on Baba Yaga, read her post on Seven Miles of Steel Thistles
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
“Being a frog.”
The frog thought for a moment. “I suppose. It has its ups and downs. Do you always enjoy being human?”
“I guess not. But I don’t have frog-like characteristics, and you certainly have human characteristics.”
“Yes, I suppose speech is a human characteristic, and intelligence is thought to be one too. I do miss having intelligent conversations, but I enjoybeing a frog, I guess, just as much as any frog."
The parallels with the day-to-day lives of young Ghanaian girls are striking. The theme – growing up in a step-family – is a familiar one to many girls in Ghana, not least because like many other parts of Africa the country has been hard hit by HIV/AIDS. In this connection, theater is a powerful and highly effective means of making people more aware of children’s rights. The impact is immediate.
“When you watch this production with a thousand kids and hear them shouting things like ‘No-one’s allowed to hit me! You can’t treat me badly just because you’re a grown-up! I can go to the police and do something about it!’ it really makes you believe that theater makes a difference,” says Anders Öhrn."
Monday, September 20, 2010
This is Nightwish doing a cover of Megadeth's "Symphony of Destruction." If you don't like metal don't listen, I'm just posting it because the lyrics of the chorus refer to a fairy tale:
"Just like Pied Piper/Led rats through the streets/Just like marionettes/Sway to the symphony of destruction."
I can't remember ever reading the story of the Pied Piper, or coming across it in scholarship about fairy tales, but it's somehow something everyone is familiar with. The only version I can remember reading is Tanith Lee's thought-provoking tale in "Red as Blood: Tales from the Sisters Grimmer."
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Saturday, September 18, 2010
In the Grimm's tale of "Brother and Sister", the eponymous siblings leave an abusive stepmother and set off on their own. The brother becomes thirsty and wants to drink, but their stepmother, a witch (naturally), had put a spell on every brook in the forest. Sister warns brother that if he drinks of the brook, he would turn into a tiger. The brother listened to his sister, but his thirst increased. He wants to drink from another brook, but that would turn him into a wolf. By the third brook, he would turn into a fawn, but he could no longer help himself, and he drank. Sister promised she would never leave her brother, and they made a home in the forest.
Monday, September 13, 2010
Who is the fairest of them all?
MIRROR:Snow White, Snow White, snow white--
I’ve told you a million times tonight.
QUEEN:Mirror, mirror on the wall,
What would happen if I let you fall?
You’d shatter to bit with a clang and a crash,
Your glass would be splintered--swept out with the trash,
Your frame would be bent, lying here on the floor--
MIRROR:Hey … go ahead, ask me just once more.
QUEEN:Mirror, mirror on the wall.Who is the fairest of them all?MIRROR:You--you--It’s trueThe fairest of all is you--you--you.(Whew!)
Now, being a princess is really a political job description-it means you'll grow up to rule a country. But little girls rarely consider this part of princesshood. Although, being a female in a ruling family didn't necessarily mean you'd have any political power. Often princesses were raised as trading devices ("whoever can kill this giant will have half my kingdom and my youngest daughter in marriage," etc...) so really being a historical princess is not necessarily something to be desired.
But, there are other elements to it too. In a class system, no one moves out of their social status by hard work or luck. From this system comes the mindset that your class is deserved-elements of this belief we still have today, though not nearly as much. Therefore, being born a princess would be a symbol of your innate worth-that you alone are special and unique and born to privilege. That much appeals to everyone.
And, being a princess, you would have so much opportunity to do good for other people-to rule your people justly and secure peace and prosperity for your land.
But who am I kidding-99% of the desire to be a princess comes from the opportunity to wear pretty dresses and live in a castle and have all the pleasures of wealth at your disposal. And while I wouldn't, in actuality, want to live in one of these gorgeous castles (I'd hate to get immune to these surroundings...), doesn't everyone like to pretend, now and then?
Saturday, September 11, 2010
It's a pretty piece. The infuriating thing is, Korngold was 13 years old in 1910. The other movements are "The Enchanted Princess," "The Ruler of Spirits," "The Goblins," "The Fairy King's Ball," "The Brave Little Tailor," and a missing movement, "The Princess and the Pea."
Korngold also composed the music for the soundtrack to "The Adventures of Robin Hood:"
And also "The Prince and the Pauper":
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Image from here
To do this, she gave the prince a gold ring which would always prick his finger when he was doing something wrong. If he continued to ignore his ring's warnings, she would stop being his Protectoress. The Prince was amazed, but the ring did indeed start pricking him whenever he lost his temper or became cruel. At first the Prince obeyed his ring, but he became frustrated with not having his way, and ignored the ring more and more, and eventually got rid of it. He also had bad companions who encouraged him to do the wrong thing. He had a beloved tutor, Suliman, who would admonish the Prince when he took advantage of his power, but one day the Prince became so frustrated he banished the tutor.
Later, Cherry happened upon the most beautiful girl he had ever seen, and proposed marriage. The maiden, Zelia, refused, for she knew he was selfish and had a bad temper. His friends encouraged him to make an example of anyone who dared disobey him and imprison the girl. He listened to his friends and cast her into the dungeon.
The Fairy appeared before the Prince again. Because he behaved like an animal, she condemned him to appear as an animal, and Cherry was transformed into a creature like a mixture of a lion, a bull, a wolf, and a serpent. Cherry ran away and fell into a bear trap. His captors put him on display, and through people's talk, Cherry learned that his wise tutor had been made King in his absense, and that the people were glad of the disappearance of the cruel prince.
One day, the keeper of the Menagerie was attacked by an escaped tiger. As soon as Cherry had the impulse to save the man, his cage was opened and he saved the keeper, who was thankful. At that moment, Cherry transformed again, this time into a dog.
Cherry lived happily as a dog for a while, until he saw a woman in a garden looking for food. Feeling pity, Cherry gave her the piece of bread he was about to eat. As he did, he recognized the beautiful Zelia as the recipient of his bread-but just then she was dragged back into the dungeon. As Cherry repented of this deed, he became a white pigeon.
Cherry flew in search of Zelia. He finally found her and perched on her shoulder. Zelia proclaimed her love of the bird, which were the words needed to turn Cherry back into his human form. Zelia was able to love Cherry now that his true nature was not "hidden by faults," and they were transported back to rule Prince Cherry's kingdom. His ring was restored to him, and he became a just and kind ruler.
This little fairy tale isn't really part of the Beauty and the Beast cycle, although it is an Animal Bridegroom tale. Here we see a foreshadowing of the Disney version in that the beastly forms are punishment for beastly behaviors, only here the Prince gradually goes from savage to domestic, which is an interesting twist.
Also interesting is that this tale is written by Madame LePrince de Beaumont, the same woman who is credited with writing Beauty and the Beast Proper. Clearly appearances and beast-like men were a theme with her. Only the book from which I got this tale (Bookhouse Through Fairy Halls, 1928) calls her not "LePrince de Beaumont," but "La Princesse de Beamont." I don't know why they decided to make her last name feminine, but I checked and it really is the same person.
Monday, September 6, 2010
A moist muzzle
A hairy ear
a nightingale, singing.
A soft heart
(And the reverse: )
a soft heart.
A nightingale singing,
can prize a hairy ear.
A rose can welcome
a moist muzzle.
Sunday, September 5, 2010
Friday, September 3, 2010
Thursday, September 2, 2010
The other custom she mentions is the custom of foot binding. A lot of times we like to think of the foot test in Cinderella as just meaning that the Prince had to find the right girl, and the shoe was the only thing he had to identify her-but why couldn't he identify her by her face? In some older versions of the tale, Cinderella had never even met the Prince. He just finds an unbelievably small shoe, one that no one else can fit into, and by that criteria alone, selects his bride.
I'm not going to comment on the following, I'll let the pictures and the quotes from Chinese people do the talking.
"If a girl's feet are not bound, people say she is not like a woman, but like a man; they laugh at her, calling her names, and her parents are ashamed of her."
"Any Chinaman will bear witness as to the seductive effect of a gaily dressed girl picking her way on tiny feet sometimes three inches in length, her swaying movements and delightful appearance of instability, converying a general sense of delicate grace quite beyond expression in words."-quoted by Bourboulis from H.A. Giles' The Civilization of China, 1911. Emphasis my own.
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
I found it to be an entertaining read, though not destined to be a classic like Narnia or Harry Potter or anything. When I heard that the fairy tales were all historically true, I was hoping that the characters would read the Grimm fairy tales and use their knowledge of the stories to help them solve the crimes, perhaps exploring lesser-known tales along with the Grimm versions of famous tales. The closest thing they got to this was imitating the Headless Horseman in order to scare away Ichabod Crane at one point. And, yes, the story mentions that all fairy tales are true, not just the ones the brothers Grimm collected. In fact, hardly any of the characters in the book are actually from a Grimm tale. I was beginning to think Michael Buckley had done no research into fairy tales whatsoever until I read that Dorothy's magic shoes were silver. Well, that's something. Other than the above incidents, the stories of the fairy tales were hardly alluded to-just that the characters all live together in one town (something like Into the Woods, only not as sophisticated.) Some other prominent characters include Puck of Midsummer Night's Dream, Cinderella's Prince Charming, the three little pigs, and Jack the Giant Killer.
I wasn't too crazy about the plot until the end, where it became more exciting and unpredictable. I do like that Michael Buckley dealt with darker materials-the beginning is very much like the Series of Unfortunate Events, with two orphans dependant upon themselves because they can't trust the adults around them. I also like that some of the traditional "good" and "bad" fairy tale characters get flipped in the book. (But I did not like his portrayal of Beauty and the Beast. You can mess with any fairy tale characters, but don't mess with Beauty and the Beast!)
The writing was fine, but I thought the dialogue lacking. A line from the Magic Mirror that struck me as particularly juvenile: "You may not have heard, but the whole circus-clown-meets-crazy-street-vagrant-look is so over." I may continue to read more books in the series to see what they're like. Not that the book was bad at all...I think I was just disappointed because I saw so much potential in the premise. But I'm very critical of fiction, so many people may enjoy the books more.
High-Definition Transfer Using Digital Technology
3 Versions Of The Film
-Original Theatrical Edition
-Work In Progress Edition
Maurice's Invention Workshop Game
The Story Behind The Story
Character Profile Game
Disney's Enchanted Environments
The Broadway Musical
Disney's Animation Magic
Chip's Musical Challenge Game
"Beauty And The Beast" Music Video By Jump 5
"Break The Spell" Adventure Game
The Story--Bringing The Story To The Screen, Early Presentation Reel
The Music--Alternate Score: The Transformation, Alternate Version: "Be Our Guest," Deleted Song: "Human Again," Beauty And The Beast Music Video, Original Demo Recordings With Introduction By Alan Menken
The Art--Designing Beauty And The Beast, Art & Design Gallery
The Characters--Character Galleries, Animating Beauty And The Beast
Pencil Version: The Transformation
Setting The Stage
Layouts & Background Gallery
Tricks Of The Trade
Camera Move Test
Release & Reaction, Poster & Ad Design, Trailers & TV Spots, Large Format Trailer
I don't really know if the Disney vault policy is a good one. I'm sure that for all the people who are like "Oh, Dumbo's released, we have to get it for posterity before it goes back in the vault!" there are at least the same number of customers who are like, "Oh, I bet my nephew would like Peter Pan for his birthday. What? It's not available? Bummer" and then they forget about it. Plus in general it just makes me feel manipulated and angry. Thank goodness for amazon.com, right?