LITTLE WOMEN (1949) 

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June Allyson
Peter Lawford
Elizabeth Taylor
Margaret O'Brien
Janet Leigh
Mary Astor
Rossano Brazzi
Lucile Watson
C. Aubrey Smith
Richard Wyler
Elizabeth Patterson
Leon Ames

Mervyn LeRoy



Time: 121 mins.
Rating: Not Rated
Genre: Drama

Won Academy Award for Best Art Direction. Nominations for Best Cinematography.

SYNOPSIS: 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.

BOTTOM LINE: With such wonderful base material, it's hard to imagine that anyone could make a bad film about the troubles and triumphs of the four rambunctious March girls. Filmed in vibrant Technicolor with a first-rate cast, this version makes Alcott's classic tale worth another look. Allyson, Taylor, Leigh and O'Brien perfectly embody their characters: the imaginative and strong-willed tomboy Jo, the vain and selfish Amy, the mature and proper Meg and the sweet and gentle Beth. With their father off fighting in the Civil War, the girls are forced to face the harsh realities of life, while still trying to enjoy their youth. Boredom disappears when Laurie (Lawford) takes up residence with his grandfather (Smith) next door. Music and laughter, friendship and love make their long anticipated appearance as the girls dive into adulthood and begin to make their dreams come true.

Of course, life has a way of diverting even the best of plans, forcing the ladies to face some fairly tough situations. However, through it all, they take comfort and joy in each other and eventually find the love and happiness they deserve. This story is so often remade because it is simply told and filled with characters and events we can all relate to. The cast truly captures the humor, pathos and spirit of the story, bringing it vividly to life with the help of great sets and lovely costumes. Allyson is a bit too spunky and Lawford a little too wooden, but the rest of the gang, especially Taylor and O'Brien, make up for the other's shortcomings. This is by far the most sentimantal and cheerful version of Alcott's novel, but it sticks to the story so one can't really complain. All in all a classy adaptation that should please both new viewers and veteran fans alike.

"Someday you'll find a man, a good man, and you'll love him, and marry him, and live and die for him. And I'll be hanged if I stand by and watch."

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