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!