Jackie H. (kyddo411) from EAST HAVEN, CT Reviewed on 6/21/2014...
Let me start by saying "Little Women" is my all-time favorite book. I am not usually a fan of book to film adaptations, but this 1933 version is hands down the best version that ever will exist. Classic books (really, all books in my opinion) are hard to translate into movies but this version is so true to the book, it's amazing. I highly recommend this movie, but I will always recommend the book more!
3 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Aimee M. (AimeeM) Reviewed on 2/4/2008...
To me, I can not imagine a better person to play Joe March than Katherine Hepburn. Unfortunately, the rest of the movie was not well enough acted. I think it had potential to be a great version, it just fell pray to the poor acting of others.
But still, if you like Katherine Hepburn, and enjoy the story of Little Women, you will like this old black and white version.
2 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
BEAUTIFUL ADAPTATION OF A BELOVED BOOK...
Lawyeraau | Balmoral Castle | 05/08/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Based upon Louisa May Alcott's beloved book of the same name, this black and white film lovingly captures its charm. It is also a pretty faithful adaptation of Ms. Alcott's classic. Though there may be a half dozen adaptations, of the three that I have seen this one is, undoubtedly, the best. Its writing deservedly won the Academy Award in 1933 for Best Screenplay Adaptation. It is unfortunate, however, that although the film was also nominated for the Best Picture Award, it lost to "Cavalcade", a largely forgotten, lesser film.Deftly directed by George Cukor, the film tells the story of the March family, whose patriarch has gone off to fight in the Union Army during the Civil War. Mrs. March is left to raise her four daughters, Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy, in nineteenth century New England. The film focuses on the personal interactions family members have with each other, as well as with their friends and neighbors, in order to create a portrait of an idealized, loving family held together during trying times. It is also a very poignant coming of age film.The film primarily revolves around the March sisters, with the focus on independent and headstrong Jo, an aspiring writer, as well as a tomboy and second oldest of the four sisters. In addition to the March family, a wealthy neighbor's nephew, Laurie, plays a prominent role in the life of the March family, with a lesser one played by the family's wealthy Aunt March.This film is beautifully cast, with a luminous Katherine Hepburn perfect in the lead role. As Jo March, Ms. Hepburn captures the essence of this beloved character. Feisty, independent, loving, and intelligent, her characterization of Jo is inspired, though Ms. Hepburn may not have strayed too far from her own persona. Spring Byington is wonderful as mother to the March daughters, while Frances Dee, Jean Parker, and Joan Bennett are uniformly excellent in the respective roles of Meg, Beth, and Amy, the sisters whom Jo so dearly loves. Douglass Montgomery is superb as Laurie, Jo's best friend, though his painted lips and shadowed eyelids are a bit anachronistic and a style holdover from the silent screen era. Paul Lukas is endearing as the Professor, Jo's mature love interest. Henry Stephensen is effective as the generous, elderly neighbor, Mr. James Lawrence, uncle to Laurie. Veteran character actress, Edna Mae Oliver, rounds out this superlative cast as cantankerous Aunt March and shamelessly steals every scene in which she appears.This is a wonderful vintage film that would be a welcome addition to the personal collection of those who love beautifully made, classic films. Bravo!"
The Ultimate Jo March
Linda McDonnell | Brooklyn, U.S.A | 07/21/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Yes, once you have seen this 1933 version of "Little Women", you only ever see Katharine Hepburn in your mind's eye as you re-read the novel. I've seen this one, of course, as well as June Allyson's, Susan Dey's, and Winona Ryder's, and a PBS one years ago which featured an extremely pouty gal with a protruding lower lip as Jo. Interestingly enough, though, one evening I rented both Kate's and June's and played them back to back to determine how each measured up against the other. While Kate brings a quality of haplessness to the role that June doesn't, I found to my surprise that OVERALL I preferred the June Allyson movie. Why? Better film quality, color as opposed to black and white (shouldn't make a difference, but it was attractive), and a cast better known to me from other pictures than Kate's; the 15 years between the pictures makes a great difference for more modern audiences in that respect--imagine, Elizabeth Taylor as Amy!. For more on the June Allyson version, see my full review treatment there. Back to Kate for now. As I mentioned, Kate's haplessness is right out of the book, one of the overriding characteristics of Jo March. Like many of Selznick's earlier pictures (see "David Copperfield"), there is an antique quality to the movie and some of the acting is a wee bit too dated and histrionic. Depending on whom you watch the movie with, that may matter. The first half of the movie, prior to Jo's moving to NY, is the better part. I have always loved the scene where she is being chased over the hills and fences by Laurie with Max Steiner's score cheerily bouncing away, only to come upon her sister Meg trying to be so dignified with her beau Mr. Brooke--Jo's realization that their childhood days are coming to an end with Meg's changing interests and reproof of Jo's tomboy antics. Edna May Oliver gets my vote for the best Aunt March yet--I suppose she really only ever plays one part in every movie you see her in, but that's what can be so effective about character actors and typecasting. Incidentally, I wish ALL versions would drop the playacting sequences--I've always been bored out of my mind by those scenes, even though I realize Alcott devoted a lot of time to them in the book. This "Little Women" is a classic and nobody should reach the age of 30 without having seen it at least once!"
Byron Kolln | the corner where Broadway meets Hollywood | 05/19/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Katharine Hepburn stars as the tomboy Jo March in the first screen version of Louisa Allcot's classic LITTLE WOMEN.Under George Cukor's inspired direction, Hepburn gives one of her best and most celebrated performances. As the quick-witted, sharp-tongued and accident-prone Jo, Hepburn is wonderful.She later remarked that Jo was a role she always dreamt of playing. She believed that she and Jo were not that different - both were the tomboy and both were highly dramatic.The supporting cast is first-rate. Spring Byington, Joan Bennett and Paul Lukas are put to good use here, as is the wonderful Frances Dee.Later re-made with June Allyson, and more recently with Winona Ryder, LITTLE WOMEN is a timeless story of sisterly love and utter devotion."
Hepburn heads cast of best film version of "Little Women"
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 10/03/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This 1933 version of Louisa May Alcott's Civil-War era classic remains the best film version of "Little Women." After all, it offers Katharine Hepburn as Jo March, whereas later versions have offered June Allyson, Meredith Baxter Birney (for TV), and Winona Ryder in her place (Although Claire Dane's deathbed scene in the 1994 version is magnificent). But the entire cast of this film is superb from top to bottom: Joan Bennett as Amy, Jean Park as Beth, Frances Dee as Meg, and Spring Byington as Marmee, with Paul Lukas as Professor Bhaer, Douglass Montgomery as Laurie, and Edna May Oliver threatening to steal every scene she is in as Aunt March. Hepburn won the Cannes International Film Festival award as Best Actress of 1934, and it seems reasonable to suggest that her performance in "Little Women" helped Hepburn win her first Academy Award for "Morning Glory," which had come out the previous year (much as Diane Keaton was helped by having done "Saving Mr. Goodbar" the same year as "Annie Hall" when she won her Oscar). "Little Women" was nominated for Best Picture that year, because the team behind the camera of this RKO film was equally as strong. The film was produced by David O'Selznick and director George Cukor was nominated for an Oscar as well, although surprisingly none of the actors received nominations. The film's one award went to Y. Mason and Victor Heerman, who most deservedly won for Best Screenplay Adaptation. This is arguably Hepburn's best performance in her first dozen films, although some dismiss it as being too close to home for the actress. It would be decades before critics decided that when Katharine Hepburn played herself no one could equal her, and "Little Women" certainly foreshadows her later successes. It would be nice if at least the sound on this 67 year old film could be restored, but if you can get past it being in black and white this is the "Little Women" to show your children. Note: Interesting that this video tape is not currently available by itself, but it is as part of a three tape set of Hepburn films. Hmmmm."
Kate and Jo
yardoftin | Attica, KS USA | 08/20/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Katherine Hepburn brings the Little Women heroine Jo March alive in a portrayal that truly does justice to the Jo that Louisa May Alcott wrote. Courageous and creative, but socially awkward, Jo charms us with her tomboy attempts to deal with adolescence during the difficulties of the Civil War. Though a film is of necessity a rather shortened version of a book, the essential feel of the book is intact in this film version."