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Little Women (1933)

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A chronicle of the lives of a group of sisters growing up in nineteenth-century America.

Director:

George Cukor

Writers:

Louisa May Alcott (by) (as Louisa M. Alcott), Sarah Y. Mason (screen play) | 1 more credit »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Katharine Hepburn ... Jo
Joan Bennett ... Amy
Paul Lukas ... Prof. Bhaer
Edna May Oliver ... Aunt March
Jean Parker ... Beth
Frances Dee ... Meg
Henry Stephenson ... Mr. Laurence
Douglass Montgomery ... Laurie
John Lodge ... Brooke (as John Davis Lodge)
Spring Byington ... Marmee
Samuel S. Hinds ... Mr. March (as Samuel Hinds)
Mabel Colcord Mabel Colcord ... Hannah
Marion Ballou Marion Ballou ... Mrs. Kirke
Nydia Westman ... Mamie
Harry Beresford ... Doctor Bangs
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Storyline

Little Women is a "coming of age" drama tracing the lives of four sisters: Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy. During the American Civil War, the girls father is away serving as a minister to the troops. The family, headed by thier beloved Marmee, must struggle to make ends meet, with the help of their kind and wealthy neighbor, Mr. Laurence, and his high spirited grandson Laurie. Written by Liza Esser <essereli@student.msu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Family | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

24 November 1933 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

As Quatro Irmãs See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$424,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Victor System)

Color:

Black and White (hand-colored)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

David O. Selznick had been working for RKO Radio, but had become increasingly disillusioned with the way the studio was operating. Due to his stress at work and his anxiety over the worsening condition of his father, he turned to MGM, who had been actively courting him for some time. He agreed to join them in February 1933, but his departure left three active projects in limbo at RKO, one of which was Little Women (1933). George Cukor had been assigned to direct the film, but he followed Selznick to MGM. However, Cukor agreed to return to RKO to finish the film as a personal favor to Selznick. See more »

Goofs

Jo takes off her hood twice when entering for tea. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Marmee March: So you're going to Washington?
Elderly man: Yes, ma'am; my son is sick in the hospital there.
Marmee March: Oh, this will be an anxious Christmas for you.
Marmee March: [finding him a coat] I think this one will do; let's try this. Is it your only son?
Elderly man: No, ma'am. I had four; two were killed, one is a prisoner.
Marmee March: [deeply moved] You've done a great deal for your country, sir.
Elderly man: Oh, not a mite more than I ought, ma'am. I'd go myself if I was any use. Thank you for the overcoat.
Marmee March: Wait a minute...
Marmee March: [giving him some money] I hope you ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Version of Encounter: Little Women (1955) See more »

Soundtracks

The Last Rose of Summer
(uncredited)
Traditional Irish melodies
Hummed by Frances Dee
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
All Hepburn in this early rendition
17 September 2012 | by SimonJackSee all my reviews

Few would deny the powerful presence of Katherine Hepburn in any movie she ever made. In this first screen adaptation with sound of Louisa May Alcott's famous novel, Hepburn IS the movie. That is to say, her part, her lines, her camera time seem to surpass the combined times of all the rest of the cast. While that may be as one would expect for many stories – a star or hero being the focal point of a whole work, this film, based on this book, was supposed to be about several "little women." So, most of the rest of the characters in the film – save a neighbor male friend, really get short shrift. For that reason, and a few others I'll mention, I think this rendition falls short of the interesting story told in the book.

I would like to have seen more development of the sisters than this film has. The later remake – 1949's MGM production, does flesh out all the characters more. The problem with the overly heavy emphasis on the one character in this first movie is that the audience doesn't get much of a sense of who are the rest of the members of the family. So we can't so readily experience the ups and downs, the emotions, the tragedy and love felt between the sisters and their mother.

Hepburn does a very good Jo, but not great. I think her efforts to be the tomboy were overdone in a few instances, which only drew my attention to this aspect of her role. She didn't seem to come by it naturally. One example was when she spoke a couple of times, acting and deliberately mimicking a deep-throated guttural voice for a man. At other times, she seemed to push it a bit and overact in flamboyance of tom-boyish behavior.

There were no other notable performances by other cast members. Paul Lukas as Professor Bhaer and Douglas Montgomery as Laurie were good. Most of the rest were just OK or non-descript. One member was just not right for the role of Marmee. Spring Byington brought no depth or real feel to the role that the viewer could sense. But, then, the film just seemed to glide over the lesser roles.

"Little Women" is a good story in the American library, and this film is enjoyable to watch. But, for a much more involving and endearing film, be sure to see the 1949 rendition by MGM.


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