“An eccentric inventor but loving father who supports Belle's dreams, Maurice gets lost on his way to the fair to present his latest creation and ends up stumbling upon the castle of the beast. He is made a prisoner until Belle exchanges her freedom for his.”
Maurice is an eccentric, yet humble inventor residing in a small French village with his daughter, Belle, and horse, Philippe (what became of his wife is unknown). Maurice hopes to someday create an invention capable of reforming the life of his family for the better and is regularly hard at work in his basement/workshop on various contraptions. Though they're usually met with failure, his dream and Belle's support motivates him to push forward each time.
Maurice is widely known throughout the village as "crazy old Maurice". Due to the uniqueness of his inventions, he is often looked down upon and thought to be mentally unstable, albeit harmless enough not to cause any legitimate concern amongst the townsfolk; they'd much rather ridicule him as a means to garner a few laughs. Belle takes after him in being a fairly unconventional individual and receives a similar form of critical judgment from the townsfolk because of this. Maurice, however, tends to ignore the opinions of others, simply putting his focus towards his work and family.
One day, when Belle comes home from the bookstore, she sees her father working on a new invention that backfired on him, and, after boosting his morale and making sure he's all right, asks him if he thinks that she's odd because there's no one in town she can talk to, and Gaston the handsome hunter isn't right for her, to which Maurice replies, "Don't you worry, 'cause this invention's gonna be the start of a new life for us." After Maurice tries out his new invention and it works really well, he heads off to the fair on Philippe to enter his invention and make lots of money.
While on the way to the fair, Maurice and Phillippe get lost in the woods, and when they try to go down a dark path, they encounter bats and wolves. When Maurice tries to get Phillippe under control, the horse throws him off and runs away. When Maurice recovers from his fall, he sees the wolves and runs down a cliff with the wolves chasing him. Luckily Maurice manages to find the gate to the Beast's castle and manages to get it open and shut before the wolves can reach him. Once inside, Maurice calls out for help, not noticing Lumière the candle and Cogsworth the clock (or not realizing they were animate). When he picks up Lumière and notices that he's alive, he accidentally drops him. He also grabs Cogsworth and winds him up and accidentally sneezes in Cogsworth's face. Feeling sorry for the old man, Lumière offers Maurice to the Beast's chair where he sits down and is offered tea by Mrs. Potts the teapot and her son Chip the teacup. Just as Maurice is about to drink his tea, the doors open and a huge, ugly Beast storms in, angrily asking Maurice who he is and what he's doing there in the castle. As Maurice frighteningly tries to explain what happened to him in the forest, the Beast mistakenly assumes that Maurice came there to stare at him and locks Maurice in the dungeon.
When Belle comes to the castle, she finds her father in the dungeon, but before she can free him, the Beast appears. Belle offers to take her father's place in the dungeon, to which the Beast agrees, and sets Maurice free and sends him back to the village on a palanquin that walks like a spider.
When Maurice gets back to town, he goes to the local tavern and tries to get Gaston and the villagers to help him rescue Belle from the Beast, but they throw Maurice out, believing that he's crazy. This also gives Gaston a plan to make Belle marry him, which is that he pays Monsieur D'Arque, the owner of the asylum, to lock up Maurice unless Belle agrees to marry Gaston. When Maurice gets back home, he decides that if no one will help him, he'll go back to the castle and get Belle out himself. He leaves right before Gaston and LeFou show up to put their plan into place.
When Maurice is trying to find the castle in the woods, he gets cold and sick and passes out in the woods. Luckily, Belle uses the Beast's magic mirror to find him and takes him back home. When Maurice wakes in bed at home, he is happy to see Belle again and asks her how she escaped the Beast. Belle tells her father that the Beast has changed his ways and let her go free, giving her his magic mirror to keep. Monsieur D'Arque shows up and tells Belle he has come to take Maurice to the asylum where they'll "take very good care of him." Belle insists that her father isn't crazy, but when Maurice tries to explain to them about the Beast again, LeFou and the villagers laugh at him and two of D'Arque's men take Maurice away. Gaston tells Belle that he'll help her free Maurice if she marries him, but Belle turns him down and proves that her father isn't crazy by showing the Beast through the Magic Mirror. Gaston convinces the Villagers that the Beast is dangerous and sets off to attack the Beast, locking Maurice and Belle in their cellar. Luckily, Chip (who snuck back to the village with Belle) uses Maurice's invention to free Maurice and Belle and they ride off back to the castle on Philippe. He is left at the entrance with Chip when Belle has Philippe kick in the door and she rushes inside. He is not shown again until the end, but it is assumed he must have followed Belle into the castle and encountered Lumière, Cogsworth, and Mrs. Potts whom he informed of what was happening to their master the Beast, which is why they came rushing into his room in time to see him get stabbed.
In the end, after the spell is lifted and the Beast and his servants are returned to their human forms, Maurice watches happily by the side of Mrs. Potts (who is holding Chip) as Belle and the Prince dance.
Maurice makes a cameo in the present-day events of the midquel but doesn't speak. In a long distance shot of the castle ballroom, he is first seen being served tea at the fireplace by Mrs. Potts with whom he is apparently chatting; then a few minutes later he is seen listening to Mrs. Potts as she begins her story about last year's Christmas between Belle and the Beast, at which he was not present.
Maurice appears in the ABC television series here taking on the role as a monarch. He is played by Eric Keenleyside. His Storybrooke counterpart is Moe French, who runs the town's florist shop Game of Thorns. Moe breaks into Mr. Gold's place and robs him, on the commands of Regina. Emma recovers the stolen goods, but Mr. Gold says there's still something missing and takes matters into his own hands. He kidnaps Moe and takes him to the cabin of Mary Margaret and David's guilt, where he tortures and beats him. It is hinted that he is the father of the Storybrooke Belle that is locked up at the hospital's psych ward.
Upon remembering his true identity after the dark curse was broken, Moe is confirmed to be Belle's father and searches for her. He has no success until Mr. Gold comes to his flower shop saying he is looking for Belle, who had just gone missing and just wants to know she is okay. Moe rebukes Mr. Gold and hires William Smee to find his daughter. Smee succeeds in doing this, and daughter and father are tearfully reunited. But when Moe demands that Belle leaves Mr. Gold permanently, Belle refuses, saying that she is her own person and her father cannot tell her what to do. Moe sadly orders Smee to take her to the town line and across it so she will forget who she is and who Mr. Gold is. David Nolan, Ruby, and Mr. Gold later return to the flower shop. Moe confesses he had Smee take Belle across the town boundary. With Moe in tow, everyone runs to the mines, where Mr. Gold barely saves Belle from losing her memory. In addition to being angry with Mr. Gold, she tells Moe she never wants to see him again for what he attempted to do to her, though it seems they have reconciled as Moe is later seen at Belle and Mr. Gold's wedding.
Maurice appears in the 2017 live-action remake of the film, played by Kevin Kline. In this version, Maurice is an overprotective father as a result of the loss of Belle's mother. He does not create odd inventions, rather he spends his time creating an array of music boxes. Some of these music boxes represent different countries and were tailored as such so that Belle may experience the world without actually leaving their town. The character has a slightly larger role in this film than in the animated movie. Just like in the original fairy tale, he plucks a rose and is punished as a result, rather than for trespassing in the castle. When he returns to town to ask for help, he is able to take Gaston and LeFou back into the woods, only to find the path to the Beast's castle having been hidden beforehand. Upon learning that Gaston only came with him in the hopes of getting his blessing for marrying Belle, as well as learning of his true violent nature, Maurice furiously refuses. As a result, Gaston leaves Maurice to die at the hands of the wolves, but he is rescued by Agathe, the disguised Enchantress, and brought back to town, where he tries to prove Gaston tried to murder him. However, without Agathe's testimony, nor LeFou's since he witnessed the entire event, Maurice is deemed insane by Gaston and is taken away by Monsieur D'Arque before Belle arrives back on Phillipe to prove Maurice is sane. However, Gaston has Maurice and Belle locked in the asylum wagon while he leads the townsfolk to the Beast's castle. With Belle's help, Maurice is able to pick the lock and escape, leaving Monsieur D'Arque stunned as he and Maurice watch Belle return to the Beast's castle to save him. During the ending celebration, Maurice is seen painting the scene as his latest creation.
Maurice doesn't actually appear in person, due to it taking place between Belle receiving the library and the end of Something There where he was stuck in the Black Forest searching for Belle to get her out of the castle, though he was mentioned a few times, and also appeared in flashbacks For issues 7, 8, 9, and 10. His most prominent appearance was in issue 8, where Belle relayed a story to Chip about how they won a fair despite nearly missing it (due to the Bimbettes' actions in order to ensure Belle didn't return and thus they actually had a chance at Gaston) while they were caught in a blizzard and were in danger of freezing to death while retrieving holly bushes. He also appeared in a flashback in the BATB story for the fifth issue of the successor story Disney Comic Hits, where he gave for Belle as a Christmas gift a box sled so she could go sledding with her friends.
Maurice also appeared in both issues of the Disney Comics serial. He and Belle had a brief cameo in the first story arc in a flashback, where he tells Belle that not all men are like that when they witnessed the Prince acting rude to an old woman (implied to be the Enchantress who later cursed the Prince). In the Bothered story arc, Maurice has a more major role, where he was working on an automated truffle finder with Pierre, their pet pig, being the machine's sensor. He has Belle go outside to play with the other kids, despite Belle's insistence against it (also briefly joking with Pierre that Belle might consider him and the pig to not be any different when Belle implied that she will always view men as pigs). He later managed to save Belle from a cellar by accident while conducting a test-run on the truffle finder after she was trapped in there by boys playing pirates and a bear (the latter implied to be the Enchantress in disguise). In the second issue's first story arc, Maurice, alongside Belle, returned home dejected due to not being allowed into the fair after his attempt at an automated clothes washer ripped one of the judges' wife's dress, despite his insistence that it was good odds due to "nine out of 10 dresses not ripping". He later attempted to capture an owl when Belle attempted to explore the woods that she found, but it disappeared and were eventually forced to leave by a lone wolf (both the owl and the wolf were implied to be the Enchantress in disguise). Maurice then relayed a story about an invention he was planning.
In the stage musical of the film, the role of Maurice is slightly expanded upon, and a duet was added for him and Belle ("No Matter What") sung just before he tries out his invention. In the later touring production, the number was dropped and replaced by some spoken dialogue in which Maurice gives Belle some fatherly advice about finding the right person to share her life with; he also briefly reminisces about her mother. Also later during the run of the show, he is present although he does not take part in a new solo for Belle ("A Change in Me"), which she sings in the scene where she brings him home.
In the musical, it is left ambiguous whether he and Mrs. Potts pair off, for although they initially come in dancing together with the ensemble at the finale, for the final tableaux, he is seen standing next to Belle and the Prince while Mrs. Potts poses with Chip.
In the original Broadway production, he was played by Tom Bosley.
The idea of Maurice being an inventor came from Howard Ashman. He planned to write a song called "The Invention Convention". There was a whole sequence based on that planned song where Maurice was originally going to be lost on his way back home after the fair. But after seeing too much time was spent on the sequence, that and the song had to be cut.
"Be Our Guest" was originally written for when Maurice arrives at the castle after being chased by the wolves. When Maurice walks in, a dinner is set up for him and Lumière begins singing the song along with the other objects. It was later declared that the song is moved to focus on Belle because it made no sense to waste such a grand number on a secondary character. A clip of Angela Lansbury (the voice of Mrs. Potts) recording for the original version of the song can be seen in the Beauty and the Beast trailer featured on the 1991 VHS release of The Jungle Book.
In the original tale, Maurice was a wealthy merchant and not an inventor. He had moved his family to the provincial area as he lost everything when his ships were lost at sea and a lightning storm had burned down his manor, but he handles the adversity squarely as he struggles to rebuild the family fortune somehow. A difference in the tale and the movie is that Maurice's wife was present and that he had five children to which Beauty was the youngest and closest to her father. Also, in the original tale, Maurice did take refuge in the castle, only to be perplexed why food and accommodations were ready for him while the castle was supposedly abandoned (in the tale the Beast took care of the castle by himself). Only when Maurice plucked a rose from the garden did the Beast reveal himself and was angry with Maurice for pilferage when the Beast had been a good host and demanded to meet this "Beauty" the rose was for.
In a short-lived comic book series, some years before Belle and the Beast meet, Maurice is shown somewhat younger with a full, dark brown set of hair.
In the original 1989 storyline of the film, Maurice was a merchant who lost all his money, as in the original tale. His reason for leaving the house before finding the Beast's castle was to sell his late wife's music box so that he could pay his taxes. According to animator Andreas Deja, his design in that version of the film was based on actor Jack Lennon. In addition, his wife was mentioned to be deceased in this version, while in the final version, Belle's mother is never alluded to.
In the 1988 storyline for the film, Maurice overall was similar to his depiction in the original tale, although he was instead an inventor like in the final film rather than a failed merchant like in the original story.