Christmas Movie Discussion - Little Women

Discussion in 'Christmas Magic' started by AuntJamelle, Aug 3, 2016.

  1. AuntJamelle

    AuntJamelle Well-Known Member

    Ok, here we go!

    Although not officially a Christmas movie, there is enough Christmas cheer in this tale to make it one as far as many of us are concerned! I've included links to each version on Amazon below.

    There are three film versions and one TV mini series of Little Women that I'm aware of. The first was done in 1933 and starred:

    Katherine Hepburn as Jo
    Frances Dee as Meg
    Joan Bennet as Amy
    Jean Parker as Beth

    Edna May Oliver does a great rendition of Aunt March - she was truly one of the great character actors of Hollywood!

    The next version I'm aware of was made in 1949 and if I remember right used the exact same soundtrack as the 1933 film.

    June Alyson as Jo
    Janet Leigh as Meg
    Elizabeth Taylor as Amy
    Margaret O'Brien as Beth
    Peter Lawford as Laurie

    Fun fact: The ages of Beth and Amy were flip flopped in this version - most likely because they wanted the actresses in question to play the roles in question and thus made the change.

    Then there is a version I have never see that was done in 1978 as a TV mini series. I'm going to have to check this one out!

    Susan Dey as Jo
    Meredith Baxter-Birney as Meg
    Ann Dusenberry as Amy
    Eve Plumb as Beth

    Then finally, the version most are probably familiar with was done in 1994.

    Winona Ryder as Jo
    Trini Alvarado as Meg
    Kristen Dunst as Young Amy, Samantha Mathis as older Amy
    Claire Danes as Beth
    Susan Surandon as Marmee

    Another CLASSIC Hollywood character actor plays Aunt March this time - Mary Wickes

    And my personal favorite of Laurie is played by Christian Bale

    SO! Which of these have you seen? Which one do you prefer? Even in your non-preferred versions what do you still like or love? Who was the best Jo? Who was the best Laurie? And so on...

    Can't wait to discuss it all with you guys!
  2. happy2bme

    happy2bme Well-Known Member

    While I have read the book and loved it, I have never seen it on screen. I can't wait to see what everyone thinks of the different versions.
  3. luludou

    luludou Well-Known Member

    I have the 1994 version and I do consider it a Christmas movie! I loved the book and the movie
  4. AuntJamelle

    AuntJamelle Well-Known Member

    Thoughts on 1933 version:

    This was the first version I ever saw and have watched it many, many times over the years! I love Katherine Hepburn as Jo - her personality suited the role very well.

    It's definitely an older film and some transfers of it can be a bit grainy, but there is sweet simple charm to it. It will always be one of my favorites. I love the music score as well.

    In recently rereading the book I can tell that so much of the movie dialog was pulled straight from the novel which is nice.

    Thoughts on the 1949 version:

    I've never really warmed to this one. It's okay, but for some reason I just had trouble with the casting of the characters, especially the sisters. Accepting Elizabeth Taylor as a blond was a stretch for me too. This film did use the same/similar music score to the 1933 version which was nice.

    It also irritated me that they added a whole scene of the girls shopping for Marmee's presents (not in the book) instead of including an additional scene/dialog that actually WAS in the novel. All in all, glad I've seen it but probably wouldn't watch again.

    Thoughts on the 1994 version:

    I really do love this one! I especially love Orchard House and I thought everyone in the cast did an excellent job. Their home really seems to vibrate with coziness and love and I wish I could join the March sisters there for Christmas!!!

    There were so many nice touches in the film, little things in their day to day lives, the wreath Hannah hangs on the door for Christmas, the singing of carols and so on. They included some story lines that weren't in previous versions, i.e. Amy and the coveted limes. Susan Surandon was wonderful as Marmee as well. I also liked that Jo gives some background on Transcendentalism which is interesting to me as I know that at least in part the story is pulled from the life of Louise May Alcott.

    Of all the films I think my favorite characters are:

    Katherine Hepburn for Jo
    Trini Alvarado as Meg
    Kristen Dunst as Young Amy
    Jean Parker as Beth
    Susan Surandon as Marmee
    Christian Bale as Laurie
    Gabriel Byrnes as Professor Baer
    Mary Wickes as Aunt March

    So obviously I am leaning heavily to the 1994 version for my favorites. And I did enjoy Winona Ryder as Jo and Claire Danes as Beth! But if I have to pick...

    What are some of your favorite scenes from the film(s)?
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2016

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