Wednesday 28 December 2016

Little Women

"You don't need scores of suitors.  You need only one...if he's the right one." (Little Women)

As the Civil War rages on to the South, the four March sisters face Christmas in New England without their father who is off on the battlefield.  Jo, played by Katharine Hepburn, is a tomboy who aspires to be an author.  She writes plays for her three sisters to perform for local children.  She also caters to the whims of her wealthy Aunt March.  Amy (Joan Bennett) is the pretty, but selfish sister; Meg (Frances Dee) works as a seamstress; and Beth (Jean Parker) is the sensitive, musical sister.

A young man named Laurie (Douglass Montgomery) moves in next door and takes an interest in Jo.  His tutor, John, courts Meg.  Beth takes the opportunity to practice on Laurie's piano while he lives there.  Their mother learns that their father has been injured and is recuperating in a Washington DC hospital.  She travels there to stay with him.


In the meantime, Beth contracts Scarlet Fever from a neighbour's baby and becomes very ill.  The March parents return home and Meg marries John.  Laurie declares his love for Jo, but she rejects him.  Hurt, Laurie in turn rejects Jo and she moves to New York City to pursue her writing career. There, she meets a German linguist named Professor Bhaer (Paul Lukas) who coaches her in her writing.

With Beth debilitated and lying at death's door, Jo returns home.  Beth passes away.  Laurie declares his love for Amy, a girl who accompanied Aunt March to Europe.  Professor Bhaer follows Jo to Concord and proposes.

Note:  Little Women is based on the 1868 book by Louisa May Alcott.  Upon its 1933 premiere at Radio City Music Hall, it earned more than $100,000 during its first week.  Budgeted at $1 million, the film's production included 4,000 employees and 3,000 separate items (costumes, furnishings, household items) that had to be authenticated.

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