Pauline Kael has characterized Jean Cocteau's The Eagle with Two Heads (L'aigle a deux tetes) as an inversion of Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast (1946). On surface, this is true: In Beauty, the heroine awakens the handsome, good man lurking within the beast, while in Eagle it is the woman who is aroused from her spell by the hero. The woman is a queen (Edwidge Feuillere) who is despised by the populace; the man is a poet (Cocteau regular Jean Marais), who has come to assassinate her. By breaking the evil influence holding her, the poet (who looks just like the queen's late husband) restores the queen to her innate goodness, and the two fall in love. Cocteau adapted The Eagle with Two Heads from his own stage play, which would later be staged on videotape by Michelangelo Antonioni as Il Mistero di Oberwald (1980).
by Hal Erickson synopsis