‘Beauty and the Beast’ Returns to the Film Society of Lincoln Center for 25th Anniversary Celebration

(© Disney)

It was 25 years ago that a work in progress print of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Beauty and the Beast made its celebrated debut at the New York Film Festival. The completed film opened later that year to rave reviews, major box office, and ultimately an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture of the Year, a first for an animated feature. To celebrate the momentous occasion along with the release of the 25th anniversary edition on Digital HD and Blu-ray, the Walt Disney Studios and the Film Society of Lincoln Center hosted an anniversary screening along with a guest panel of some of the film’s great creative and vocal talent.

In attendance at the event, which was held at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City, were Robby Benson (voice of Beast), Paige O’Hara (voice of Belle), Angela Lansbury (voice of Mrs. Potts), Richard White (voice of Gaston), along with composer Alan Menken and producer Don Hahn.

L-R: Richard White, Angela Lansbury, Paige O’Hara, Robbie Benson (Photo: Getty Images/Neilson Barnard)

L-R: Alan Menken, Don Hahn

In an earlier statement, Wendy Keys, former New York Film Festival Selection Committee member and Film Society of Lincoln Center executive producer, said about the original work in progress screening in 1991:

“Because we showed it in a somewhat unfinished from–we saw animation in all its different phases–we were invited to examine the process without losing any of the narrative power or emotional impact. Astonishing!”

Keys also stated that the New York Film Festival audience was crazy about the film, giving it a standing ovation:

“There was an ecstatic outburst at the end of the evening–actually thinking back I remember many outbursts all through the screening–and it wasn’t applause. It was roars of happiness.”

Panel discussion at Alice Tully Hall

And as a bonus treat, Angela Lansbury sang the classic “Beauty and the Beast” ballad live with Alan Menken at the piano. Here’s a recording of it:

What a cool event. Wish we could have been there! The New York Film Festival “Work in Progress” version of Beauty and the Beast is just one of the four versions of the film on the Walt Disney Signature edition now available on your favorite Digital HD platform and on Blu-ray Disc. Follow Beauty and the Beast on Facebook and on its official website.

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