Maestro Forte is the main antagonist of Disney's 1997 Direct-to-video movie Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas. He was the castle's former music conductor. When the Enchantress put the spell on the Beast, Forte was turned into a pipe organ. In this form, Forte found himself more useful to his master as a composer and was willing to do everything in his power to stay in that form.
Forte's name is derived from the Italian word for "loud," being also a term used in musical scales indicating loud, heavy playing. It is also the Italian and Portuguese word for "strong."
During his final performance to oppose the heroes, Forte claimed that he never took a lesson in music, which meant that his composing skills were based on raw talent alone.
Forte was originally intended to be a character named Avenant. Although Avenant was the villain of the 1946 French film, this incarnation of Avenant would have been portrayed as Gaston's younger brother and the villain of a possible sequel to the 1991 film. His goal would be to ruin the lives of Belle and the Prince and then possibly kill them both, and although his plan would work partially, the truth would have been uncovered and it would lead to Avenant's demise at the Prince's hands.
Although this portrayal was scrapped in favor of a midquel, several of Avenant's characteristics were incorporated into Forte, who desired to remain in pipe organ form forever, despite doing so would ruin Belle and the Beast's lives, and his plan to drive them apart almost worked, but was ultimately foiled by Beast. In addition, the concept of a relative of the main villain from the original film wanting revenge would later be reused with Nasira in Nasira's Revenge and Morgana in The Little Mermaid 2: Return to the Sea.
Forte is best described as arrogant, evil, sarcastic, manipulative, acrimonious, obstreperous and somewhat paranoid. He initially appeared to the Beast as his "best friend", but he was actually manipulating him because he wanted to both remain as a pipe organ and sought some attention. However, this attitude is only displayed because he is quite afraid to fade in the background, afraid that he will be forgotten. Before being changed to a pipe organ, the man was lugubrious and had not seemed to share the joys of the castellans. Maestro Forte is also shown to exhibit a megalomaniacal personality. Convinced to be a genius of music, he considers himself to be great and he is never stingy with a compliment for himself. Characterized by unscrupulous control, he also has a deep hatred towards happiness (or at the very least, happy songs) as he prefers sad, depressing, mournful music. He is also extremely superior, cunning, powerful, intelligent, and a bit misanthropic, as he considers humanity to be overrated.
Following the failure of his plan to break up Belle and the Beast's relationship, Forte loses what was left of his sanity by attempting to bring the castle down with his loud music, apparently having no regard of his own life as he was willing to take everyone's lives in the castle along with his own. This may indicate that Forte may have some destructive and suicidal thoughts, as he was willing to endanger his own life to ensure that the spell remains intact. Despite Forte's true colors being exposed and his diabolical plans foiled, the Beast mourned Forte's demise, as he considered him to be his closest friend.
Role in the film
On the night of the curse (which happened to be Christmas Eve), after the Prince ended up getting, to his displeasure, a storybook from Lumiere as a Christmas present, he requested that Forte try to play a song for something that he hoped would be better than the gift. However, Forte, in an attempt to play "Deck the Halls" on the organ, did a terrible rendition on it, which caused the Prince to snap, and ultimately resulted in him refusing to let the Enchantress into the castle, which resulted in the curse.
Though the other palace servants wished to be human again, Forte preferred his organ form, in which the Beast considered him much more valuable as an adviser and confidant and found his depressing arrangements of notable classical music (including that of Beethoven) somehow made him feel better. Forte could use music to move nearby objects, but could not move, as his form was far too large and was also bolted to the wall. Forte spent much of his time composing a grand version of Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 that he claimed would "bring the house down".
In order to maintain his organ form, Forte needed to prevent the Beast and Belle's blossoming romance and felt that the celebration of Christmas would only bring them closer together.
To help him, he convinced Fife, his reluctant servant apprentice, to lure both into ruining the date, under the promise of a solo of Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 15 (though he never actually intends to give him the solo). However, the Beast still wouldn't listen to him, so Forte decided to send Belle out into the dangerous Black Forest, with Fife following them to make sure that they didn't come back. When the Beast (who is slaved by Forte) went out after Belle anyway in a rage, Forte believed that her return would result in him falling in love with her and, seeing no other option, encouraged him to destroy the magical rose.
Once again, Forte failed when the Beast remembered Belle's gift (a storybook) and felt remorse. In a last crazed attempt to prevent them from breaking the spell, Forte decided to destroy the whole castle and used the strongest musical scales of Beethoven's 5th, because, as he put it, "they can't fall in love if they're dead!" Fife tried to stop him, as the plan was too extreme, but Forte refused and revealed to him (via exposing blank music sheets) that his promise to give Fife a solo was a lie.
Fife helped the Beast instead and advised him that he must destroy the keyboard to stop the music. Forte was finally defeated when the Beast ripped his keyboard away from him, which ceased his contact with his pipes. In a blind rage, Forte tore himself free of the wall and began to collapse. This effectively 'kills' Forte and he crashed to the ground, destroyed. Though he knew that Forte had villainous designs, the Beast mourned the death of his best friend with Belle comforting him.
- Forte is the only character in the film who was entirely computer-animated, while his human form was hand-drawn.
- Curiously enough, an organ of Forte's size is not only bolted to the wall by a chain or two. Not only has Forte several pillar-thick tubes that were most likely running below the floor, but the whole network of tubes connecting to the boiler's air pump. And considering Forte's size, this pump was most likely a large boiler in an adjacent room below and/or behind the wall. He should be as much part of the room than a separated object.
- Before he sings his song "Don't Fall in Love," Forte was a very unenthusiastic singer.
- Forte's eyes were usually black, but during the climax of "Don't Fall in Love" his eyes flashed bright green.
- The concept of Forte using music to comfort and later control his "Master" is based all too literally on the metaphorical saying "music soothes the savage beast."
- During his final performance to oppose the heroes, Forte claimed that he never took a lesson in music, which meant that his composing skills were based on raw talent alone and, combined with a reluctance to do so, explained why the time that he tried to compose a cheerful Christmas Carol (Deck the Halls) turned out so terribly, especially as the notes appeared on music sheets as blots.
- Beethoven's 5th Symphony, the song that Forte used in an attempt to literally "bring the house down" in the climax, was written in 1804-1808, which contradicts Glen Keane's statement that the first film took place in the late 18th century. It was also referenced by Cogsworth ("Now for my fifth movement") in Belle's Magical World, followed by the opening notes of the song.
- In the 2011 Blu-Ray and DVD releases of the film, when Forte first introduced himself to Belle and Chip, his lip-syncing was way off.
- Forte in his human form had sharp canine teeth, which gave him a vampire-like appearance.
- Similarly, his human form bears a slight resemblance to the philosopher and satirist Voltaire, via the wig and facial structure.
- Forte's plan, had it succeeded, most likely would have backfired on him for the worse, as the commentary for the first film by Don Hahn revealed that the Beast retaining the curse would have caused him to devolve psychologically into a literal beast, with the implication that his servants, including Forte, would die and turn into real objects as a result.
- Alongside Zira and Sa'Luk, Forte was the only DTV sequel Disney Villain who died.
- Forte's line "I'M BOLTED TO THE WALL!" has become an extremely popular meme on YouTube where different characters (Disney or not Disney) demanded Forte do something and he refuses by shouting his line.
- Forte is the only one of Beast's castle servants who is actually a villain. The rest of the other castle servants are protagonists (or anti-heroes, as with Fife and to a certain extent Fifi.).
- As a result of his death, Forte never returns to human form (ironically, he got what he wanted after all).
- In every close-up shot of Forte's keyboard, the keys do not match the notes, let alone the rhythm of the music. In one shot, every key is pressed at the same time, but the music shows little sign of dissonance.