Beauty and the Beast. A Disney animated film like no other. It holds the box office record for any Disney princess’ film by a huge margin, establishing Disney's first "prestige film", and was Disney's most elaborate production of the decade. Beauty in the story refers to none other than Disney's beloved princess, Belle.
Belle was the second Disney princess who was not born royal after Cinderella. She was also the only princess who was in her 20s in comparison to the other princesses who were in their early or late teens and because of her age, she was more mature and independent. Belle is arguably Disney's princess with the strongest character. Her character carried obvious traits of feminism, making her tone a little bit ahead of time in a very positive way. This was part of Disney's plan to set her character apart from Ariel, a typical princess.
Belle was sure of what she wanted; she was headstrong but very intelligent. She had no interest in men or romance of that sort of thing, as she was more focused on finishing her books and widening her knowledge; to quote her, "I want much more than this provincial life," she says. Belle is seen in the early part of the film always with her books, while the antagonist character Gaston tries to divert her attention with remarks like, "It's not right for a woman to read. Soon as she starts getting ideas, and thinking…" and Belle being Belle, would just brush him off and continue reading.
In the film, it is shown that Belle lives in a little French cottage with her father Maurice and pet horse. Belle is shown to possesses some level of athleticism as she rides her horse well and is well able to get out of dire situations that require physical strength. Following the plot of the story, her father is captured by the Beast when he sought refuge in the Beast's castle as he was chased by wolves in the middle of the forest. Their horse escapes and runs back to Belle, and she rides him back to the castle to save her father.
In exchange for her father's freedom, Belle offers herself as captive to which the Beast agrees. The Beast in this story is a stubborn and angry character that shows no remorse or pity for people outside his castle. However, Belle's strong character trait enables her to communicate with the Beast. She proves multiple times throughout the film that she is able to use her intellect and resilience to her advantage until she is finally able to befriend the Beast and make tremendous positive changes to his character.
In Beauty and the Beast, the most popular song was "Tale as Old as Time" which became a massive hit at the time. Thirty-four years later, when the live action version of Beauty and the Beast was released by Disney, the song made it to the charts yet again. It is also the same tune used for our Royal Selangor Collectible Belle Music Carousel.