Little Women (1933) 1933

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(12) IMDb 7.4/10

Oscar-winning adaptation of the classic Louisa May Alcott novel about the four March sisters who fight to keep their family together and find love while their father is off fighting the Civil War.

Starring:
Katharine Hepburn, Joan Bennett
Runtime:
1 hour 55 minutes

Little Women (1933)

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Children & Family, Romance
Director George Cukor
Starring Katharine Hepburn, Joan Bennett
Studio Warner Bros.
BBFC rating Parental Guidance
Rental rights 48 hour viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Lawrance M. Bernabo HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on 3 Aug 2004
Format: DVD
This 1933 version of Louisa May Alcott's Civil-War era classic remains the best film version of "Little Women." After all, it offers Katharine Hepburn as Jo March, whereas later versions have offered June Allyson, Meredith Baxter Birney (for TV), and Winona Ryder in her place (Although Claire Dane's deathbed scene in the 1994 version is magnificent). But the entire cast of this film is superb from top to bottom: Joan Bennett as Amy, Jean Park as Beth, Frances Dee as Meg, and Spring Byington as Marmee, with Paul Lukas as Professor Bhaer, Douglass Montgomery as Laurie, and Edna May Oliver threatening to steal every scene she is in as Aunt March.
Hepburn won the Cannes International Film Festival award as Best Actress of 1934, and it seems reasonable to suggest that her performance in "Little Women" helped Hepburn win her first Academy Award for "Morning Glory," which had come out the previous year (much as Diane Keaton was helped by having done "Saving Mr. Goodbar" the same year as "Annie Hall" when she won her Oscar). "Little Women" was nominated for Best Picture that year, because the team behind the camera of this RKO film was equally as strong. The film was produced by David O'Selznick and director George Cukor was nominated for an Oscar as well, although surprisingly none of the actors received nominations. The film's one award went to Y. Mason and Victor Heerman, who most deservedly won for Best Screenplay Adaptation.
This is arguably Hepburn's best performance in her first dozen films, although some dismiss it as being too close to home for the actress. It would be decades before critics decided that when Katharine Hepburn played herself no one could equal her, and "Little Women" certainly foreshadows her later successes. It would be nice if at least the sound on this 67 year old film could be restored, but if you can get past it being in black and white this is the "Little Women" to show your children.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lawyeraau HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 13 May 2004
Format: DVD
Based upon Louisa May Alcott's beloved book of the same name, this black and white film lovingly captures its charm. It is also a pretty faithful adaptation of Ms. Alcott's classic. Though there may be a half dozen adaptations, of the three that I have seen this one is, undoubtedly, the best. Its writing deservedly won the Academy Award in 1933 for Best Screenplay Adaptation. It is unfortunate, however, that although the film was also nominated for the Best Picture Award, it lost to "Cavalcade", a largely forgotten, lesser film.
Deftly directed by George Cukor, the film tells the story of the March family, whose patriarch has gone off to fight in the Union Army during the Civil War. Mrs. March is left to raise her four daughters, Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy, in nineteenth century New England. The film focuses on the personal interactions family members have with each other, as well as with their friends and neighbors, in order to create a portrait of an idealized, loving family held together during trying times. It is also a very poignant coming of age film.
The film primarily revolves around the March sisters, with the focus on independent and headstrong Jo, an aspiring writer, as well as a tomboy and second oldest of the four sisters. In addition to the March family, a wealthy neighbor's nephew, Laurie, plays a prominent role in the life of the March family, with a lesser one played by the family's wealthy Aunt March.
This film is beautifully cast, with a luminous Katherine Hepburn perfect in the lead role. As Jo March, Ms. Hepburn captures the essence of this beloved character. Feisty, independent, loving, and intelligent, her characterization of Jo is inspired, though Ms. Hepburn may not have strayed too far from her own persona.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A. Lomax on 20 Oct 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Although in black and white, this film adaptation of Little Women is a gem. To me, Katherine Hepburn *is* Jo.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By NHOP on 1 Jan 2010
Format: DVD
My daughters enjoyed very much. A lovely way to spend a couple of evenings all together in the family.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr. T. HARWOOD on 25 Jun 2010
Format: DVD
This has got to be the best version of this film. I have wanted a copy for years and can only say I am delighted with it. Katharine Hepburn at her best
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Rama Rao on 29 Oct 2009
Format: DVD
This movie is based on the story of novelist Luisa May Alcott who studied under the tutelage of such luminaries as; Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Margaret Fuller. Little Women is one of her best stories based on her personal experiences as a young woman growing up with three sisters in Concord, MA. This is one of the early literary works Hollywood ever used to make movies and it was great success. This story was used again and again in as many 10 versions including this truly classic made (1933) during the height of Great Depression.

The story is woven around the Civil War era about a family living in Concord, Massachusetts. The family consists of four daughters; Jo March (Katherine Hepburn), Meg March (Frances Dee), Amy March (Joan Bennett), and Beth March (Jean Parker). The story is essentially about the lives of four girls and how they grow up and eventually get married and have their own families. It is a tremendous film about family, and a character study of four little girls. When their father Mr. March (Samuel Hinds) is away as a minister serving at the war front, the mother, Marmee (Spring Byington) takes care of the family. To keep their spirits high while living in poverty, the four girls form a strong bond. Amy is selfish and timid, but Beth is sensitive who practices on her broken-down clavichord. Meg is envious who works as a seamstress, and Jo (a true self of author Luisa May Alcott) is spirited and tomboyish, who dreams of becoming a famous author. The four girls also have a well-to-do Aunt March (Edna May Oliver) who cares them.

Jo is in love with her wealthy next-door neighbor Laurie Laurence (Douglas Montgomery) whose grandfather Mr. Laurence (Henry Stephenson) terrified her for years.
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