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Little Women is a "coming of age" drama tracing the lives of four sisters: Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy. During the American Civil War, the girls father is away serving as a minister to the troops. The family, headed by their beloved Marmee, must struggle to make ends meet, with the help of their kind and wealthy neighbor, Mr. Laurence, and his high spirited grandson Laurie.
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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.
It has been awhile since I have seen the 1933 version. Katharine Hepburn as Jo, is always delightful to see. I had a hard time with the archaic status of women portrayed in the March family and certainly of the time. Thank heaven for Jo! There is a glimpse of changes to come, but not for a l o n g time. Marmee is doing a heroic job taking care of her daughters, doing good deeds for the poor, and holding the candle for her husband who has idealistically gone off the civil war to serve as chaplain. Aunt March is quick to remind everyone that he isn't much of a provider. She adds a little relief. The girls do show growing pains with minor arguments and personal flaws. It is, however, an exceedingly saccharine family. We watch them grow up and make their way in the world, as individuals. The virtues learned and practiced by the "little women" and their rich neighbor, his nephew and the tutor are worth while for us all to see and for today's children to take in.
Next year I'll see what updates the 1949 version may have from 1933.
The supporting cast just seems to gather around her and put her on a pedestal to make her posdition in that family more important
The entire family comes together in their good times and bad times to give us a complete picture of how people lived in days gone by.
Katherine Hepburn had a grace and style that made her a true credit to the profession.
No wonder Katherine earned FOUR Oscars in her lifetime -- A genuine achievement for any Female Actress!!!