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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly classic movie of Katherine Hepburn and Director Cukor, 29 Oct 2009
This review is from: Little Women [DVD] [1933] (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. To strengthen their friendship, the Laurie invites the girls to a lavish party, at which Meg meets Laurie's tutor, John Brooke. Over the next few months, while Meg is being romanced by John, Jo has her first short story published and Beth overcomes some of her shyness so that she can practice on Mr. Laurence's fine piano.

When mother Marmee leaves her daughters to see her husband in Washington D.C. who was wounded at the warfront. Beth contracts scarlet fever and her fever worsens, and Jo prays that Marmee will return before she dies and tearfully reveals her deepest fears to Laurie: Beth survives and she is reunited with both Marmee and her father. There is a tremendous amount of sorrow for March family, and the sadness that ensues, is splendidly directed by Cukor with great deal of sensitivity. At the end, Beth passes away, Meg marries John much to the dissatisfaction of the family, and Jo spurns the love of Laurie, moves out to New York City to work for a German professor named Bhaer (Paul Lukas). Amy falls in love with Laurie and marries him, and Bhaer falls in love with Jo.

This story is set during Christmas time; hence you may want to add this movie to your Christmas movie list. My favorite scenes are; as a Christmas present, Aunt March gives each of the girls one dollar, which they then decide to spend on presents for their mother; she asks them to donate their holiday breakfast to the impoverished Hummel family. The drama scenes in which the four sisters perform for local children (theses are fun times for the family) is brilliantly directed. Hepburn was only 26 when she made this movie and she was beautiful and very talented: This was captured by one of the best of Hollywood, director George Cukor.

1. Little Women [1949]
2. Little Women [DVD] [1995]
3. Holiday [DVD] [1938]
4. The Philadelphia Story [DVD] [1940]
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