One of the best Disney movies ever made turned 30 this year, and some of the cast have reflected on its legacy. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, actors from Beauty and the Beast recall producing the animated movie, and getting very emotional during certain parts.
“We all had tears in our eyes,” Paige O’Hara says, of recording the soundtrack with costar Angela Lansbury. “And that was, I think, one of the most amazing moments of my career, being able to be there with Angela.” O’Hara voices main character Belle in the romance movie, however, Lansbury has the big solo number, the eponymous ‘Beauty and the Beast’ that serves as the theme song. It’s a beautifully laid out ballad, performed in stunning fashion by Lansbury, who was a Broadway musical fixture during the late ’60s through to the ’80s.
Like many Disney features of that era, such as The Lion King and The Little Mermaid, the songs were as strong as the animation. In this instance, you’ve got Howard Ashman on lyrics, and Alan Menken composing the music. The pair has previously worked on Little Shop of Horrors, before becoming mainstays of the House of Mouse.
‘Beauty and the Beast’ went on to win Best Original Song at the Academy Awards, and Best Song Writer Specifically for a Motion Picture or Television at the Grammys. Sometimes the awards get it right!
Released in 1991, Beauty and the Beast was part of the Disney renaissance that reshaped the studio as we know it. Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise co-directed the picture, about a woman, Belle, who gradually falls for the titular beast despite being trapped in his castle. The supporting cast is largely made up on anthropomorphic household objects, with Lansbury playing Ms Potts, the teapot. When the prince was cursed to become a monster, the castle’s other inhabitants were transformed too, and only true love’s kiss can free them – you can imagine where the story ends up.