December 26, 1947 [La belle et la bête/Beauty and the Beast]

We all went to see La belle et la bête, and although the French Beast looks like Lon Chaney with a lace collar, the children were not afraid. They sat silently--so much so that I glanced over at them occasionally, and by the flickering light I noticed they had an almost-sleepy look--but they didn't seem bored.

The images will never fade (no matter how faded they may have been from the start): the smoke curling from the Beast’s hand and shoulders, the arms bearing torches, the camera-reversals that float Belle from her bed, the watchful mantel-figures, the gauze that seems to hang over everything, as though we are watching someone’s memories so closely they become our own, a kind of possession and surreal ecstasy and psycho-analysis, all with popcorn.

And so there I was again, silly as a little boy—and one day I’ll forgive myself for it, and enjoy the fact that I’m dreaming for real, as it were, thankfully helpless in the middle of the lively night.


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