Jo March and her husband Professor Bhaer operate the Plumfield School for poor boys. When Dan, a tough street kid, comes to the school, he wins Jo's heart despite his hard edge, and she ... See full summary »
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Harry d'Abbadie d'Arrast
Jo March and her husband Professor Bhaer operate the Plumfield School for poor boys. When Dan, a tough street kid, comes to the school, he wins Jo's heart despite his hard edge, and she defends him when he is falsely accused. Dan's foster father, Major Burdle, is a swindler in cahoots with another crook called Willie the Fox. When the Plumfield School becomes in danger of foreclosure, the two con men cook up a scheme to save the home. Written by
Jim Beaver <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Though Louisa May Alcott's Little Women is definitely the superior book by most standards, Little Men certainly has its supporters and like Little Women it has seen many filmed versions. This particular one from RKO in 1940 starring Kay Francis as the now grownup Jo March is probably the best known.
Jo's a woman now and married to that visiting professor guy played by Carl Esmond here and they're running a school now, the Plumfield School where they try to make young gentlemen out of spirited boys. Back in the day girls were not considered to need an education, but they're kind of snuck in anyway.
George Bancroft and sidekick Jack Oakie stop by one day and deposit Bancroft's son with the school, Jimmy Lydon. Esmond who's not a worldly sort is so taken with Bancroft that he gives him their savings to invest. For all his pretensions Bancroft and Oakie are a pair of amiable grifters.
Oakie gives the best performance in the film, he steals whatever scene he's in. In fact he's the guy who comes up with a unique solution to everybody's problems in the end.
Jo March was one of Katharine Hepburn's earliest film successes back in 1933. If Kate had still been with RKO it might have been interesting to see her naturally age into the part again. As it is Kay Francis does well by Jo.
Little Men also reminds so much of a 19th century Boys Town so much so you keep waiting for Mickey Rooney to pop up. He also would have been a natural for Jimmy Lydon's part.
This version of a timeless literary classic still holds up well and is great family viewing.
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