Little Women

1949

Drama / Family / Romance

79
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 71%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 83%
IMDb Rating 7.3 10 6,633

Synopsis


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23.976 fps
122 min
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English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
122 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by krdement 9 / 10 / 10

"Christopher Columbus" is the Key

The cast of this film reads like a who's who of MGM studio: C. Aubrey Smith, Harry Davenport, Mary Astor, Leon Ames, June Allyson, Janet Leigh, Elizabeth Taylor and Margaret O'Brien... The accumulation of all of these stars is a super-treat for fans of the films of the 30's and 40's. And - oh, yeah - they all deliver stellar, memorable, poignant performances! But this film is deserving of the designation of "classic" and is superior to the 1933 version primarily because of the performance of June Allyson. Every time she exclaims, "Christopher Columbus!" it seems very natural. In fact she makes all of her difficult dialog (including the oath, "bilge!") seem very natural. This ability to appear completely comfortable and natural stands in stark contrast to the delivery of Katherine Hepburn in the '33 version. These words never seem to be Jo's own, when spoken by Hepburn; whereas, they are indeed Jo's when spoken by Allyson. They are glaring and obtrusive in Hepburn's dialog, and a seamless part of Allyson's. Hepburn is an actress losing a struggle with uncomfortable dialog; Allyson embraces it. This alone makes Allyson the definitive Jo, and makes this 1949 version the definitive "Little Women." Allyson's Jo is real flesh-and-blood, while Hepburn's Jo is a melodramatic character.

Reviewed by Nazi_Fighter_David 7 / 10 / 10

Amy is a pleasing mixture of the Taylor innocent and the Taylor minx

In "Little Women," Liz was given a chance to play comedy, and as the selfish, flighty Amy who loves to eat and who misuses big words, she's a delight… Mervyn LeRoy's version has one advantage over its illustrious predecessor: as Amy, the trivial and dizzy vixen and the most engaging of the tear-stained March sisters, Liz has much more spirit than Joan Bennett… Her part is a charming respite, a light-hearted version of the women in love who were the chief ingredient of her upcoming ingénue period… "Little Women" was sweet and sentimental… It was the familiar story of four Massachusetts girls who during their father's Civil War absence learn to grow up and find direction in their lives… The film has the requisite portions of frivolous comedy and soap opera heart emotions; Margaret O'Brien suffers nobly, Janet Leigh smiles sweetly, June Allyson tries valiantly, and what more could be asked of Louisa May Alcott's long-lasting perfumed account? The film marked an end to Taylor's child-woman phase… Part foolishly teenager, a flighty girl who looks at life from the angle of a Victorian romance, part incipient flirt, coquettishly but kindly stealing Laurie away from older sister Jo, her Amy is a pleasing mixture of the Taylor innocent and the Taylor minx

Reviewed by bkoganbing 7 / 10 / 10

Women on the homefront

Since RKO had done such a classic version of this story back in 1933 one does wonder why MGM bothered to do the story again. In watching Little Women I believe I found the answer. In 1949 the nation was still healing from World War II. The sacrifices made on the homefront supporting the troops overseas were fresh in everyone's mind. One thing that this version reminds us of more than the 1933 film is that it does take place during the Civil War. So this quaint 19th century novel all of sudden took on a relevance for the audience of 1949. Of course this version did not have Katharine Hepburn. And of course June Allyson is no Kate, but CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS, who is? Allyson does make a winning Jo March and MGM got a great opportunity to get four of its loveliest contract players a showcase vehicle. Elizabeth Taylor, June Allyson, and Janet Leigh all surely had substantial careers with better roles, but it's a treat to see them all together here. And Margaret O'Brien capped her career as child star at MGM with her performance here as Beth. Hard to believe that the hardboiled Brigid O'Shawnessy and the beloved Marmee March could be played by the same actress. But Mary Astor was just that talented. Her role is very similar to that of Claudette Colbert in Since You Went Away. Her best scenes are concerning her care for the less fortunate Hummel family, both in telling her kids how important it is to care for the less fortunate and in actually leading the March brood over to the Hummel household. MGM definitely made a version that will stand on its own merits even without the great Kate. CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS who'd have thought it possible?

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