Belle is one of the two protagonists of Disney's 1991 successful theatrical release, Beauty and the Beast, and its following sequels The Enchanted Christmas and Belle's Magical World. In all of the above media, her speaking and singing voices are provided by broadway icon Paige O'Hara. Belle is an official Disney Princess, and fifth in order of release, after Ariel and before Jasmine.
Belle is a young woman living in a small unnamed French town. Her father, Maurice, on his way to a fair, goes missing while she was reading books not wanting Gaston to marry her. Belle rides to a mysterious castle in possibility of finding him. She finds her father locked away in a dungeon, and begs the dungeon master to free him, offering her own freedom in exchange for her father's. On the condition that she stay with him forever, the dungeon master, a hideous beast, frees Maurice from the dungeon, however he is deeply moved by her beauty and affection towards her father, and can't help but feel attracted to her boldness and bravery. Belle is originally hesitant to interact with the Beast, but after he develops a more civil manner, aided by enchanted furnishings, a bond is formed. The Beast falls deeply in love with her, but is in denial that she will ever love him in return. Belle is soon granted right to leave on behalf of her sickly father, who tries to rescue her. But after denying Gaston (a conceited hunter) her hand in marriage for a third time, a mob of villagers, led by Gaston, plots against the Beast. After a grueling tussle between Gaston and Beast, the Beast is stabbed. Gaston falls to his death when he loses balance. Belle is able to lay the Beast on a balcony, and he dies in her arms. Belle confesses her love for the Beast just as the last petal falls from the enchanted rose. Belle's love for the Beast revives him and releases him from the curse, and he along with his furnishings return to human beings.
A Broadway musical adapatation of the film premired on Broadway on April 18, 1994 at the Palace Theatre with Susan Egan as the original Belle. Since then many actresses including Deborah Gibson, Toni Braxton, Andrea McArdle, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Christy Carlson Romano and Ashley Brown have played the role on Broadway. The show closed on July 29, 2007 at the Lunt-Fountanne Theatre with Anneliese van der Pol as the show's final Belle.
A midquel taking place during the winter segment of Beauty and the Beast, this is the story of Belle's attempt to bring back to the castle the one ceremony Beast hates most: Christmas. It has not been well recieved because it ignores the movie's continuity, and that at the point the movie is supposed to take place, Belle still considered herself a prisoner in the castle, and was not truly friends with the Beast at that point, though she had begun to accept him.
A pipe organ called Forte is determined to do anything necessary to keep the spell from breaking, because he thinks that if the curse is broken then the Beast won't need his depressing music anymore. Thus, he proves to be a real obstacle for Belle's plan.
After several attempts to get Beast to agree, Beast finally approves of the idea and allows Belle to prepare for Christmas, though he still bears a grudge, for Christmas is the day the Enchantress cast the spell on him and the castle residents.
With advice from Forte, Belle goes out into the woods to get a suitable tree for Christmas, but she falls into thin ice and almost drowns. Fortunately, she is rescued by Beast, who is enraged at her because Forte told him that she was trying to desert him again.
Belle is then thrown into the dungeon to rot, but Beast then finds a book that Belle had written for him earlier in the West Wing, and decides to set Belle free and they both continue to prepare for Christmas.
But Forte doesn't give up there, even going as far as to attempt to bring the whole castle down with Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 in order to prevent the spell from ending, as it can't if everyone is dead. Fortunately, Beast stops him in time by crashing his keyboard to pieces.
The viewers are soon taken back the actual Christmas taking place, and Belle is presented with a gift from her husband: a rose.
In this movie, Belle is the only human character. She meets her new three enchanted object friends Webster, Crane and LePlume and is about to solve problems in all four segments.
Disney Princess Enchanted Tales Edit
Originally, when the first installment of Disney Princess Enchanted Tales was to be released, it was to feature a new Belle story and a brand new Aurora story. The First chapter was entitled "A Kingdom Of Kindness". The plot of Belle's story featured Chip getting in trouble with the Beast after breaking some of his things. Terrified, Chip runs away. Belle finds him and convinces him to come back to the castle, and teaches Beast what it means to be kind. She also teaches Chip that even when people are mad with him, it still means they love him. All of the original Beauty and the Beast cast returned for "A Kingdom Of Kindness", with the exception to Jerry Orbach.
Only one known song has been written for Belle, this song is called "You'll Never Lose This Love", and is available to watch on the Enchanted Tales Website.
Belle is a very attractive young woman in her late teens or early twenties. Although she is known throughout her village for her beauty, she is quite ignorant of her own appearance, but ironically greatly aware that her fellow citizens think of her as "odd" and peculiar. Belle pays very little attention to her appearance, unlike the sinister Gaston, who only loves her for her because she is "the most beautiful girl in town". Belle is slender and stunningly beautiful. She has long, brown hair, most often tied in a low ponytail, hazel eyes, rosy cheeks and a sculpted figure. One of her distinct figures is strands of hair that constantly find their way in onto her forhead, causing her to frequently brush them back into place.
Throughout the film, Belle wears various outfits depending on the occasion. Her most elaborate and renowned is her golden ball gown, in which she shares her first dance with the Beast in the "Beauty and the Beast" sequence. With this outfit, she wears some of her hair in a neat bun, but the majority of it trails down her neck in a beautiful, flowing motion, resembling a ponytail.
Belle is known for her love of books, and is therefore considered odd by the other town residents. She is recognized for her ability to read books while walking and never colliding with anything in her way by also subconciously navigating her way on top of, around, under or over objects while reading and never taking her eyes off the page.
The storywriters and producers of Beauty and the Beast wanted to give Belle's movements an air of elegance and confidence, so they studied the movements of ballerinas during the course of Belle's development. Like ballerinas, Belle walks diligently and swiftly on her toes no matter what types of shoes she is wearing, or where she is located. The designers and artists wanted Belle to be noticeable in a crowded town, so they payed close attention to her wardrobe. Belle is the only member of the town to wear blue, while the other townfolk wear rustic colors, such as red, green and brown.
It is made quite obvious in the early chapters of the film that Belle has a beautiful singing voice, courtesy of broadway actress and singer Paige O'Hara.
Belle has gained a significant amount of intelligence over the years due to her love of books, providing her with a wide vocabulary, active imagination, and open mind. She is very confident and outspoken in her opinions, and seldom likes being told what to do. Unlike most characters in the film, Belle isn't concerned about her's or other's appearances, and is able to look past how people appear and into their hearts. This is how Belle manages to break the Beast's enchantment, and restore love and laughter to the castle.
Belle is somewhat a feminist, and refuses to be mistreated, underminded, demeaned or directed by men, specically Gaston. However, she willingly listens to her father, Maurice, and considers the opinions and directions of the Beast, because they are both able to treat her as an equal. She is quite obstinate when it comes to stating her points, upholding her opinions and maintaining her ideas.
Belle's personality transforms throughout the film. At first, she frequently dreams about a life of adventure and romance, not realizing that sometimes adventures might take a turn for the worst. As Belle begins to spend more time with the Beast, and their relationship blossoms into a strong friendship, she begins to fall in love with him without realizing it. As she matures during the course of her inprisonment her love for what's inside and purity saves the Beast, Belle realizes that having dreams is great, but sometimes you need to look beyond them and find what you're truly looking for.
Significance and LegacyEdit
Belle is known to be the first and only Disney Princess to have brown hair, as well as the only one to marry a prince who wasn't human for the majority of his life.
Part of Belle's legacy is the fact that she brought a new dawn of more adventurous, heroic and independent heroines to the world of film. Although Ariel brought a new personality trend to heroines, she is saved by a prince at the film's climax. Belle, however, is the first heroine to not be saved by a prince in order to live happily ever after. Instead, she "saves" the Beast by evolving him into a loving gentleman, proving that true beauty is beneath the skin, breaking the spell and transforming him into a handsome prince once again through her love.
Belle's pioneering role in Beauty and the Beast introduced more heroic heroines to the Disney scene, specifically with Pocahontas in 1995 and Mulan in 1998.
- Belle is the first and currently only Disney Princess to have brown hair.
- Belle is the first Disney Princess to marry a prince who wasn't human for the majority of his life.
- Belle was the second Disney Princess to not be of royal decent, after Cinderella in 1950.
- Belle was the final Disney Princess to have the same actress play both her speaking and singing voices until Tiana in 2009, a full 18 years later.
- Belle is the first Disney Princess to "save" her prince at the film's climax. Belle saved the Beast by breaking the spell and returning the Beast to his human form.
- Belle is the third Disney Princess to have a father present during the film, after Aurora in 1950 and Ariel in 1989, and before Jasmine in 1992.
- Belle arguably saw the dawn of more heroic and independent Disney Princesses. Her legacy lead to Pocahontas, Mulan, Tiana and Rapunzel. However, some say this title rightfully belongs to Ariel.