Tag Archives: Paige O’Hara

Beauty and the Beast “Belle (reprise)” (1991)

In case the audience had any doubts about Belle’s feelings following Gaston’s ill-fated marriage proposal, the reprise to “Belle” (which I’ve also heard called “Madame Gaston”) sets the record completely straight.

Once Gaston leaves (a furious, mud-soaked mess), Belle flies into a tirade as she sets about her chores feeding the farm animals, mocking the “cozy life” Gaston had propositioned her with only moments ago:

Can you imagine, he asked me to MARRY him/ME, the wife of that boorish, BRAINLESS…

Madame Gaston! Can’t you just see it? Madame, Gaston, his “little wife”!

No sir, not me, I guarantee it, I want much more than this provincial life!!!

I want adventure in the great wide somewhere, I want it more than I can tell…

And for once it might be grand, to have someone, understand…

I want so much more than they’ve got planned…

I can completely empathize with how Belle feels at this moment (and I know many others can too). It is downright maddening to have your dreams and aspirations be ignored (or worse, derided) by everybody you know, and the pressure to “be normal” can be overwhelming. But Belle isn’t going to give in, she’s going to have her adventure, whether the townspeople like it or not (you go Belle!)

This moment is really as close as Belle comes to making a wish about meeting her Prince Charming and getting out of the small village, and it seems this wish is granted too, because no sooner does the song end than a terrified Philippe (the family horse) comes running up to her without her father, which leads Belle to ride Philippe to look for him, which leads her to…the castle!!!

Next time: “Be Our Guest” (and I’ll tell you a secret, Belle wasn’t always the “guest” in question, but that’s for later. Until then!!!)

*all images are the property of Walt Disney Studios

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

For more Beauty and the Beast, see:

Beauty and the Beast “Belle” (1991)

Beauty and the Beast “Be Our Guest” (1991)

Beauty and the Beast “The West Wing” (1991)

Beauty and the Beast “Something There” (1991)

Beauty and the Beast “Human Again” (1991)

Beauty and the Beast “Beauty and the Beast/Tale as Old as Time” (1991)

Beauty and the Beast “The Mob Song” (1991)

Beauty and the Beast “Battle on the Tower” (1991)

Beauty and the Beast “Transformation” (1991)

For more great Disney songs, check out the main page here: Disney Films & Soundtracks A-Z

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 🙂

Beauty and the Beast “Belle” (1991)

The year was 1991. It had been two years since Disney successfully launched the Disney Renaissance with The Little Mermaid (1989), and now the time for their next animated classic had come: Beauty and the Beast (1991). The movie adapts the French fairy tale of a beautiful girl named Belle (which is French for “Beauty”) who slowly falls in love with a terrifying Beast, not knowing that he is actually a prince trapped in an enchantment. The score for this film was composed by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken. Ashman, suffering from AIDS, did not want to work on the film but was eventually persuaded to do so. His health took a turn for the worst during production and he died not long after work was completed on the film (though a few of his songs did appear in Aladdin.)

“Belle” is the opening number of the film and serves as our introduction to the book loving Belle, who is considered “a funny girl” by almost everyone in town. The exceptions to this are her father Maurice, the book-seller, and Gaston. The song begins with Belle walking into town, singing about how every day is the same (a fact that bores her immensely). As the townspeople sing “Bonjour!” (Good morning/Good day), Belle lists off all the familiar sights that she has memorized by heart. But Belle is dissatisfied and sings her refrain of “there must be more than this provincial life.” Having read all of these stories of adventure and romance, Belle dreams of finding her Prince Charming and being swept away to lands unknown.

 Little town, it’s a quiet village
Every day like the one before
Little town, full of little people
Waking up to say

Bonjour! Bonjour! Bonjour! Bonjour! Bonjour!

There goes the baker with his tray, like always
The same old bread and rolls to sell
Every morning just the same
Since the morning that we came
To this poor provincial town

no-longer-on-the-elliptical

Now, before I continue, there’s something that should be pointed out. The Disney animators wanted to emphasize how Belle is different from everyone else in the village. To that end, they color-coded her outfit to stand out. Look at the scene of “Belle.” See the blue pinafore she’s wearing? No one else in town is wearing blue! Automatically Belle stands out to the eye (and it’s very effective). But I digress, back to the music…

Unfortunately (for Belle), there is a “Prince Charming” who is very interested in her, the town hero Gaston. When you first meet him, Gaston appears to be the stereotypical Disney hero: perfect good looks and a great singing voice (though this was by design to serve as a contrast to what comes later).

Right from the moment when I met her, saw her
I said she’s gorgeous and I fell
Here in town there’s only she
Who is as beautiful as me
So I’m making plans to woo and marry Belle

For all his gifts, Gaston is a narcissist, who thinks that he (Gaston) can do whatever he wants, whenever he wants, BECAUSE he is Gaston! This includes marrying Belle, “the most beautiful girl in town” because he “deserves the best” (the fact that Belle might not WANT to marry him doesn’t seem to make a difference). Gaston attempts to sing his own verse about how he fell in love with Belle at first sight, but it’s interspersed with lines praising his own handsomeness (you just know this “romance” is not going to end well).

As Belle prepares to leave town to head back home, the entire community begins to sing about her and this last verse sums up how much the town doesn’t “get” Belle:

Look there she goes, the girl is strange but special, a most peculiar mademoiselle/

It’s a pity and a sin, she doesn’t quite fit in/but she really is a funny girl, a beauty but a funny girl, she really is a funny girl, that Belle!

Belle has always been my favorite Disney Princess ever since I first saw the film, because, like me, Belle is a bookworm, and she feels isolated because of this. Belle also dreams of adventure in far off places (and what young person doesn’t?) Interestingly, we never learn how old Belle is, or anything about her mother (we can presume she’s deceased, but when or how long ago is never broached). This is also one of my favorite Disney songs because, unlike Sleeping Beauty or Snow White, where the singer is a high soprano, Belle is a mezzo-soprano (which is my vocal range).

I admit, when I was younger (a lot younger) I used to wish that real life included people singing as they went about their daily lives, so sometimes I would pretend (as I was walking around) that people were singing the “Belle” song about me (ah, the power of imagination). That’s all for “Belle”, next time, as predicted, Gaston’s courting of Belle doesn’t exactly go as planned, and for that he’ll want revenge!!

*all images are the property of Walt Disney Studios

Become a patron of the blog at: patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

See also:

Beauty and the Beast “Belle (reprise)” (1991)

Beauty and the Beast “Gaston” (1991)

Beauty and the Beast “Be Our Guest” (1991)

Beauty and the Beast “Something There” (1991)

Beauty and the Beast “Human Again” (1991)

Beauty and the Beast “Beauty and the Beast/Tale as Old as Time” (1991)

Beauty and the Beast “The Mob Song” (1991)

Beauty and the Beast “The West Wing” (1991)

Beauty and the Beast “Battle on the Tower” (1991)

Beauty and the Beast “Transformation” (1991)

For more great Disney songs and films, check out the main page here: Disney Films & Soundtracks A-Z

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 🙂