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Louisa May Alcott's autobiographical account of her life with her three sisters in Concord Mass in the 1860s. With their father fighting in the civil war, the sisters: Jo, Meg, Amy and Beth are at home with their mother - a very outspoken women for her time. The story is of how the sisters grow up, find love and find their place in the world. Written by
All the colors of the rainbow...and overly cute June Allyson...
A glossy, overly sentimental, candybox version of LITTLE WOMEN that is easy on the eyes with its vibrant, sometimes delicate use of color and pleasant to listen to with the same background score used for the 1933 movie version with Katharine Hepburn. But the trouble lies in the casting--June Allyson is tomboyish enough but uses all of her cute acting tricks to remind us that she's not really Jo March at all. Margaret O'Brien is a bit too mushy as Beth, her childish voice quivering with tearful emotion. Janet Leigh, however, makes a perfect Meg and Elizabeth Taylor is an inspired piece of casting as Amy.
Others in the cast are impressive enough--Mary Astor, Leon Ames and most of all, Lucille Watson as Aunt March. There is humor and pathos in the script and it is all played for warm-hearted, tender charm whenever it remains faithful to the Louisa May Alcott classic. But with two of the pivotal roles in the hands of unsuitable players, it fails to hold more than a modest amount of conviction.
The sets are artistic and beautifully photographed (it won an Oscar for Best Set Decoration in Color), but the March home looks a bit too imposing for a poor family during the Civil War and the costumes look as though they came straight from the MGM costume department without sparing any cost.
Peter Lawford makes an acceptable Laurie and Rossano Brazzi does his continental charm to the max. What could have been a great film manages to be warm and touching, slick and glossy at the same time--but worth watching for the performances of Elizabeth Taylor and Janet Leigh. The final scene in the rain between Allyson and Brazzi has a certain charm but then the camera pans to a rainbow over the March house which seems an artificial touch to one of the film's few genuine moments.
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