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La Bete review

A sexually explicit reworking of Beauty And The Beast, La Bête caused a scandal at the 1975 London Film Festival and only got a certificate after being cut by six minutes. Now viewers can see the full version, even if what was once championed as perverse and challenging now looks dated and titillating.

The long-winded exposition revolves around events at a French château, where a marriage has been organised between the impoverished Marquis' son (Pierre Benedetti) and American heiress Lucy (Lisbeth Hummel). The bride-to-be starts dreaming about her 18th-century predecessor Romila (Sirpa Lane), who was pursued by a lustful, hirsute Beast...

Seemingly intended as a Buñuelian farce, the pitiful animal effects and erotic scenes instead provoke derision. The racist overtones - - blackness (in servants or horses) is equated with bestial lust - - are objectionable while the depictions of intercourse suggest a crude male fantasy of female desire.

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