Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Movie Review // Little Women ~ 1949

Hamlette’s finishing up her Little Women read-along this week and as such, it’s the perfect time for a review I’ve been needing to do—the 1949 Little Women! Starring a host of big names—June Allyson, Peter Lawford, Margaret O’Brien, Elizabeth Taylor, Janet Leigh, Rossano Brazzi, and Mary Astor—it's definitely one incredible cast!

First things first, story wise, they do tweak and abridge things here and there (for example, having had Laurie run away to join the army and Beth seemingly being the youngest sister), but it’s all done pretty rationally.

Meg ~ Janet Leigh is one of my favorite actresses (partly, I’m sure, because of seeing this at a young age) and she makes a lovely Meg.

Jo ~ While I do appreciate Hepburn’s portrayal in the 1933 version, June Allyson’s rendition has always been “Jo” for me...

Her quickness and tomboyish-ness, and how she develops to a strong and gentle woman.

Amy ~ In my humble opinion, there has never been quite the perfect Amy, but Elizabeth Taylor does do a very passable job.

And Beth ~ Margaret O’Brien as Beth is so incredibly sweet!

One of the Saddest Movie Scenes Ever
(My sister told me that Allyson and O’Brien were good, real-life friends, and after filming this scene near the end of the movie Allyson was so physically and emotionally exhausted that the studio ended up sending her home for the rest of the day… Isn’t that a touching story?)

Marmee ~ To this day, when I read the book Marmee is probably still the most unchanged in my mind (i.e. I still completely picture her as shown here).

Laurie ~ Peter Lawford just IS Laurie!

And his and Jo’s friendship is developed beautifully.

Professor Bhaer ~ Is…yes…a bit more Italian than German :),

but he’s also very good.

When I was little this—along with Anne of Green Gables—was pretty much my first ‘period drama’ (in fact, I didn’t even know what such a thing was at the time) and (along with the 60’s Sound of Music and Heidi) a first classic movie (likewise unknown at the time)! And so, of course, we come to the dresses. 

From reprint patterns I’ve seen, the prints and color schemes throughout actually all seem very authentic. It’s not my absolute favorite film wardrobe ever (just because there are a lot of brown and purplish-red maroon tones, etc), but there’s still plenty of lovely gorgeousness. 

There’s Meg’s poufy pink party dress

And Amy’s purple with the artistically draped lace

Meg’s blue overcoat

And her refreshing green and white garden ensemble (second from the left)

And her gray and white striped “proposal” dress (always making me think of the seaside!)

And then, of course, there’s always this rather incredible dress of Amy’s!

For reference, I have seen the 1994 film twice and I’ve come to like the 1933 b/w version quite well (of which this is a remake—even using the same theme song)! And while I heartily vote for one day having a good, long, well-cast, 5-hour long mini-series version (following Amy to Europe and including much more of the early and later adventures throughout), this version is still a favorite. As I said above, watching it now, I think one of the biggest things is seeing so many familiar faces in one film!

So altogether it’s a most lovely adaptation and definitely a family-friendly standby!

Tell me! Have you seen this and what do you think of it?


  1. I've never seen that version, or the 1933 version, but I want to, I'm trying to watch all of the adaptations. :)
    I have seen 1978 (my favorite because I know half the cast from other things and William Shatner is Professor Bhear xD) and the 1994 one, too. :)

    ~Lydia~ <3

    1. Lydia,
      I hope you can see them soon! And yes, I'd like to see the 1978 version sometime, too. ;)

  2. Hello there dear Heidi and thank you for sharing your thoughts on this Little Women adaption! It is my favourite, favourite story for many reasons, and I am simply longing to see this one and the other (2?) Adaptions!
    And thank you for your sweet comments on my're a dear!
    Hugs and much love and have a delightful day!

    1. Kelly-Anne,
      I'm so glad you enjoyed it! And yes, there are four "film" versions all together (available and that I know of). The 1933 b/w with Katharine Hepburn, this one (the 1949), the 1978 (a mini-series, I believe), and the 1994 with Winona Ryder. I do hope you can see some of them soon!

      And oh, you're welcome! Hugs to you, too! ;)

  3. (I am hanging my head and admitting that although I bought a copy of this at the beginning of the read-along, I still haven't watched it! Or the 1933 that the library has! Grr! Arrgh! I need more hours in my days!)

    This is a lovely post, and I'm glad you had time to finish it before the end of the read-along so I can include it! Thanks!

    1. Hamlette,
      Dear, dear, dear.... what shall we do with you?!? ;) But seriously, I do hope you can see the '33 and the '49 before too long!

      And thank you! I'm so happy you liked it!! ;)

  4. I have to see this so badly! Looks like a lovely cast! Oh look, there's Tootie from 'Meet me in St Louis' all grown up as Beth! I love that story of Alysson and O'Brian. :-(

    The dresses are delightful! Just stunning. Especially that charming pink dress of Meg. Heehee, yes, I bet you already knew I loved it. :-)

    ~ Naomi

    1. Naomi,
      I hope you can soon!! It is a lovely cast. And isn't that story so sweet?

      The dresses are beautiful. That pink of Meg's is one of my absolute favorites.... I'd still love to wear it! (And yes, indeed! Guess who I thought of when I was picking that screencap? ;))

  5. Oooh this was on TV the other day... :-) I LOVED the costumes! Although as a staunch fan of the 1994 Bhear I was like NO .. anyways.. thats just me..

    1. Evie,
      Aren't they pretty? Yes, I think there's never been quite the perfect Bhaer yet. We need one with a beard... but I'll save my "casting" idea for when Eowyn and I sometime post our dream cast. ;)

      And yes.... well.... you see, I grew up with this one, which helps tip the scales. ;)

  6. I own both the 1994 version and this version--definitely my two very favorite versions, although I personally like the 1994 one even better. :) It's so nice having different favorite versions, though, so you can watch different adaptions and still enjoy them!
    I do love Meg's blue overcoat. It's sooooo pretty! :)
    And yes! It seems there are so many versions of Little Women, but a new extra long miniseries that paid attention to all the little details would be SO much fun!

    1. Natalie,
      Isn't it fun having multiple versions of a story to love? I used to think you could only have One Ultimate Version And That Was It. But I have much the same feelings for different P&P's and Emma's and Cinderella's and so on and on. ;) Lovely when that happens!

      Meg's overcoat is absolute gorgeousness. And a mini-series! (Eowyn and I actually have a dream cast all made up, but we have to get around to typing up descriptions, etc. before we can post it. One of these days! :))

    2. Ooh! I really hope you share your dream cast soon! I can't wait to read about it! :)


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