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La Bete (The Beast) Review

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A young French woman discovers secrets about her future in-laws after arriving at his isolated Country Estate and learning of a legend about intimacies between an ancestress of his and an ape-wolf-bear creature.

★★★★★

Young Lucy Broadhurst (Hummel) arrives at an isolated French estate to be married off to the scion of a noble family. The groom needs to shave several times a day and has an oddly bandaged hand, which makes the girl notice other odd clues - obscene doodles on the back of a picture, a torn corset in a glass case, significant carvings - that refer to a legend about the congress between an ancestress of the family (Lane) and an ape-bear-wolf creature.

The centrepiece of Walerian Borowczyk's fantasy comes when the heroine dreams of the beauty's encounter with the beast, who seems to have a bicycle pump in place of a penis, and whose snarling lechery is comically countered when the former virgin demands so much sex that she exhausts him.

More charming than arousing, and solemnly silly.