Beauty and the Beast: Diamond Edition

by Tony Phoenix, staff writer
Beauty and the Beast, Diamond Edition
(1991) | 92 min. | G | Reviewed by Tony Phoenix
Cover Art
Click to Buy DVD
Click to Buy Blu-ray
Ratings Summary
(Scored out of a maximum of five)
Audio 5 stars Video 5 stars
Goodies 5 stars Movie 5 stars
  Value 5 stars  

DVD Features

  • DVD Release Date: October 5, 2010
  • Original Theatrical Release: November 23, 1991
  • 1.78:1
  • 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • French and Spanish Language Tracks
  • Subtitles: Closed Captioned, English Descriptive Video Service
  • Suggested Retail Price: $29.99 / $39.99 Blu-Ray

The Movie

The first animated movie ever nominated for a Best Picture Academy Award and the only animated Golden Globe Best Picture winner, Beauty and the Beast finally debuts 19 years later in HD format. Seven years has passed since it was last offered for sale on DVD format and a lot has been done with the movie since then.

The restoration team at the Disney Studios found water spots and white dirt on the backgrounds. It wasn't noticeable on the standard definition movie format, but doing a high definition transfer meant that they were easily visible. All of that damage had to be cleaned and the movie restored in preparation for the Blu-Ray release. At the same time, a new 7.1 channel audio mix was prepared. All of that means that the movie looks amazing on the screen, and sounds just as good. The difference between the DVD and Blu-Ray versions is amazing, and comparing this version of the DVD to the last release is a dramatic improvement.

The menus are a treat, with a 3-D trip through the Beast's castle, and Lumiere coaching you along and interacting with your choices.


Songwriters Alan Menken and Howard Ashman. Image Copyright Walt Disney Studios

The Goodies

Four versions of the movie are offered on the Blu-Ray disk: the Original Theatrical Release, the Special Extended Version (which includes the Human Again sequence) including an Audio Commentary, a Sing-Along version (that includes the song lyrics on the screen) and the Original Storyboard Edition, which plays the original Theatrical Release along with the Storyboard version shown at the New York Film Festival in early 1991 in a Picture-in-Picture window.

Disk 1

Composing a Classic

Composer Alan Menken sits down with producer Don Hahn and historian (and Alan's agent) Richard Kraft to talk about the writing of the musical pieces for the movie. Since co-composer, Howard Ashman passed away before the movie premiered, they share stories about working with him. For example, Alan talks about Be Our Guest, and how the music used for the song was never actually intended to be used in the movie. This is a fantastic segment, and well worth your time.

Deleted Scenes

Peter Schneider, former Chairman of the Walt Disney Studios introduces the original storyboarded opening sequence for the movie, including Belle and her sister Clairice and Gaston as a French Count. The movie had a dramatically different opening, and it is interesting to see how much the movie changed from the original. It is a very long segment (nearly 20 minutes), and is interesting from a historical perspective. But I found myself losing interest as it progressed. When these 20 minutes were presented internally for the first time, the response was less than enthusiastic. The story was thrown out, and the movie development was completely restarted.

Roger Allers, the Story Supervisor, shares a storyboard sequence of Belle exploring the library and introduces us to four lost characters: a globe - Cambridge, a book stand - Oxford, a bust who recites famous quotes, and a telescope who talks only about astronomy - and green cheese. This is an entertainment sequence with some fun jokes.

Image Copyright Walt Disney Studios

Broadway Beginnings

Several cast members from the Broadway show share their experiences of the making of the stage production. Its fun to hear performers like Donny Osmond and Debbie Gibson talk about the Broadway show. There is an interesting segment at the end where the actors talk about Disney licensing Beauty and the Beast for the stage to community and school theater groups. And even an end card with details on how to get more information about how to license Disney musicals for performances.

Disk 2

Beyond Beauty

This feature is billed as a "behind the scenes" look at the making of the movie. However, it quickly broadens its reach, looking at not only the Disney company history and how it influenced Beauty and the Beast, but also at the company environment and how it impacted the production. The opening sequence is a very candid look at the company's mindset, with Katzenberg describing how Eisner told him that 'Animation is your problem', and how the animation team was kicked off the Disney studio lot and exiled to a warehouse in Glendale.

The feature expands from there, and leveraging the Blu-Ray branching capability, allows you to seamlessly navigate the content, skipping sections you don't care about and expanding on areas you wish to further explore. This is a feature that you should plan on spending a couple of hours exploring.

Image Copyright Walt Disney Studios

Games: Bonjour, Who is This? and Enchanted Musical Challenge

Bonjour, Who is This is a fascinating game idea, where multiple players call in to a toll-free number from different phones, and interact with each other and the game on your Blu-Ray player. This requires that you have an Internet connection, and it works surprisingly well. It is an entertaining party game, especially if everyone has their own cell phone. The Enchanted Musical Challenge is another family based game, where you search the castle to find missing characters before the last rose petal falls. There are options to include sing-offs where the players vote for who sang the best, trivia questions, and more. These are some of the better games we've seen on a Disney DVD release.

Classic Bonus Features

The original DVD release of Beauty and the Beast included a number of bonus features, and those are included on Disk 2. They include an early presentation real that includes an alternate score, the Human Again deleted song, and 'The Story Behind the Story.'

Image Copyright Walt Disney Studios

The Final Evaluation

The Diamond Edition is the Gold Standard for Disney releases now, and Beauty and the Beast lives up to the label. The restoration is gorgeous, the sound is generally nice (although there are a few weird surround effects that seem out of place), and the interface is fantastic. The features, while not the best we've ever seen, have a lot of new types of bonus content. With the coming releases of The Lion King and Fantasia / Fantasia 2000, I can't wait to see what they come up with.

Even if you have the 2002 DVD release, this is a must buy for Disney Animation fans. My only real complaint is the lack of the Digital Copy option. Disney set the bar high by including that on almost all new releases, and its absence is a definite negative.




  1. By KCKID2NV

    There is a $10.00 discount online if you go to
    From there go to promotions tab, then special offers tab. Currently Toys R Us is selling the dvd on sale so with the $10.00 discount we paid only $15.12!!!!

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