Academy Awards 1933 -
Best Adapted Screenplay: Sarah Y. Mason & Victor Heerman
The first motion picture based on Louisa May Alcott's gently humorous 1869 classic of four sisters who learn moral lessons and grow from children to adults in Civil War-era Massachusetts, this film chronicles the lives of the teenage March sisters Jo (Katharine Hepburn), Meg (Frances Dee), Amy (Joan Bennett), and Beth (Jean Parker), who, in the company of their mother, try to maintain positive attitudes in the face of hardship. Hepburn infuses her role with a raw, awkward energy, revealing a vividness and buoyancy beneath her Victorian reserve. The movie, like the novel, is unapologetically sentimental, playing skillfully at the heart strings; based on an Oscar-winning adaptation by Victor Heerman and Sarah Mason and able direction by George Cukor, it is careful to avoid clichés, developing into an authentically moving story.
The first film based on Louisa May Alcott's 1869 novel of four sisters, who grow from childish pleasures to mature joys, during the Civil War in the absence of their father, a Union army chaplain. The story details the ups and downs in the lives of teenage siblings Jo, Meg, Amy, and Beth March, who, along with their mother, try to make ends meet--and maintain their optimism--during a difficult period in their lives. Katharine Hepburn stars as the feisty Jo.
Civil War |
Essential Cinema |
Period Piece |
Theatrical release: November 16, 1933.
LITTLE WOMEN was Cukor's second film with Hepburn.
The film received 3 Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director, and won for Best Adapted Screenplay.
Tallulah Bankhead, after seeing footage of Hepburn, is said to have fallen to her knees in front of the young actress and wept, to which Cukor replied, "Tallulah, you're weeping for your own lost innocence."
Cukor's lavish production of LITTLE WOMEN is credited as one of the reasons he was later first in line to direct another Civil War epic, GONE WITH THE WIND; ultimately, Victor Fleming was hired.
The first filmed production of LITTLE WOMEN was a silent British version in 1917.
Cukor refused to take over direction of the 1949 remake; Mervyn LeRoy succeeded in helming it.
The novel was given a 1990s update on celluloid by Australian director Gillian Armstrong, and starred Susan Sarandon and Winona Ryder.