Little Women (Little Women, #1) Little Women discussion

Best movie version?

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Cathy Little Women has been made into a movie three times, and into a TV movie at least twice and even an opera.
I didn't think any truly followed the book
Which movie /TV version did you like, if any?
Who do you think was the best Jo, Marmee, Amy, Beth, etc?

I liked the Hepburn movie and the one made for TV in 1979.

Best Jo: Kate Hepburn, hands down.
Best Marmee: Dorothy MacGuire, hands down.
Best Beth: Claire Danes and Margaret O'Brien (in the 1940s MGM version) .
Best Amy: The one in the 1979 TV and Elizabeth Taylor (in the 1940s MGM version)

Anna Little Women with Christian Bale..pure and simple.

message 3: by Eva (new) - rated it 5 stars

Eva King Anna wrote: "Little Women with Christian Bale..pure and simple."

me too!

Susan The 1940s one, no contest.

Robin Likewise, I too liked the 1940's version. All the cast were perfect in their roles.

Cathy Oh, and Janet Leigh (1940s) and Meredith Baxter (1979) as Meg.

Carole Katherine Hepburn wwas the best Jo ever!

message 8: by Susan (last edited May 16, 2012 01:42PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Susan Eisenberg I liked Gabriel Byrne as the professor Jo marries. He was appealing and vulnerable.

Lori by a slight margin the Wynona ryder version and right behind that Katherine Hepburn. both were very good as Jo.both had a good cast.

Kristen My absolute favorite is the 1949 version with Margaret O'Brien as Beth. But I like the others as well.

An opera? Really? lol
I'd be interested in seeing the tv versions...

Cathy I saw the opera on PBS -- kinda weird.

The 1979 NBC version is on DVDs, maybe Amazon. It was one of those All-Star movies that were popular around then, But really pretty good. Then there was a BBC version
And there was one back in the 1950s I read about that had Florence Henderson,.

Becky I love the version with Wynona Ryder and Christian Bale. It is one of the few movies that I liked as well as the book.

Rebecca June Allyson as Jo! Best movie adaptation ever!

message 14: by Kate (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kate ADale I love the one with Angela Brown and Janina Faye, I think it was made in 1970

Cathy That was the BBC version with Angela Down.

Becky I haven't seen the BBC version. Maybe I'll try it.

Robin I forgot about the June Allyson version, she was a spunky Jo.

message 18: by Erin (new) - rated it 4 stars

Erin W The BBC did a Little Women????? Were they British actors doing American accents?

I think the '94 version (Winona Ryder as Jo and Susan Sarandon as Marmee) is incredibly good. I like how they made it feel progressive and modern. The only thing I like about the '33 version is Katharine Hepburn. The actress who played Amy in that one was pregnant, for pete's sake. I'm not sure I've even seen the June Allyson version.

I saw Little Women as a stage play once, and it was not very good. They had just the one set, the March home, and so all this important stuff that doesn't happen there was just revealed through dialogue. It was kind of ridiculous.

Cathy That's what I found so odd when I saw it as an opera (?) on PBS.
Didn't see the BBC version?

Am I the only one who saw the 1979 TV version? Susan Dey was Jo, she was OK.
But the real gems were Dorothy MacGuire as Marmee, and Greer Garson as Aunt March, what a stuffy windbag.

Shelley Can't beat Katherine Hepburn.



Susan Eisenberg Yes, I, too loved Katharine Hepburn.

message 22: by Ren (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ren i likw the one with American Psycho/Batman star Christian Bale but also the one with Katherine Hepburn. I hate horror films because they are scary and not fun but fear-inpiring and quite demonic in some asspects. I love old books but i know now why laurie was not what Jo wanted as Amy did not have the same needs as Jo. Not to say that Amy was dumb but that she did not want a challenge and Professor Bhauer was a challenge and he made her work and think and develop as a person. Not a story full of graphic violence or illicit sexual acts but of love and maybe the love that Allcott wanted. This is actually a bit like her life as she liked older men and it is set like where she lived. She met older men and was quite smitten. Not for lust and unbridled passions but love that is true and not what we read in magazines. Liken this to Anne of Green Gables. Gil was Anne's challenge and he was annoying but he was one of the few that truly became a man and loved the girl with hair like "Carrots"....

message 23: by Ren (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ren i hope someone agrees

Carole Katniss wrote: "i likw the one with American Psycho/Batman star Christian Bale but also the one with Katherine Hepburn. I hate horror films because they are scary and not fun but fear-inpiring and quite demonic in..."

I agree ( but not about the Christian Bale version.....), I like your interpretation of love in the novel I think it is 'spot on' especially with Jo and the Professor. As a young girl first reading this I remember being so disappointed in Laurie when he fell for Amy, Jo was so more worthy but the Professor suited her much better. I think she would have tired of Laurie!

message 25: by Ines (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ines Norton Althought I loved Winona Rider as Jo and Claire Danes as Beth in the same movie version, my vote goes all the way to the 1940 MGM's version, because I loved all the sisters (when Margaret O'Brien gets in the house after caring for the sick baby of their neighbours and says to Jo: "Don't came near me Jo, the baby's dead, the baby is dead" .still gives me goosebumps every time I see it) and also Laurie, I think him sweeter that the actor in the modern version.

Carole The version with June Allyson as Jo, Janet Leigh as Meg, Elizabeth as Amy and Margaret O'Brien as Beth was by far the best version. I watch it over and over. I have the first one with Kathryn Hepburn and the one with Winona Ryder, but they are pale comparisons as far as I am concerned. Didn't see the others though, so guess I can't say absolutely the best version when I hadn't seen the others. But it's still my favorite.

Katie Davis The Kathryn Hepburn version is the gold standard.

Robin She played a feisty Jo, which was true to the book.

Carole Kathryn Hepburn is who made that movie. And anything she does is gold as far as I am concerned, but I still liked the one with June Allyson the best. But that's what makes this ole world go round isn't it. We all have different opinions and that is good.

Denise Lippy I like all of them, but my favorite is the Winona Ryder one.

Vanessa Cathy wrote: "Little Women has been made into a movie three times, and into a TV movie at least twice and even an opera.
I didn't think any truly followed the book
Which movie /TV version did you like, if any?

WOW! I had no idea it was made into an opera!

message 32: by Liz! (new) - rated it 4 stars

Liz! (Bazil is Awosome!) I havent watched all of them but the first and only one i have watched was the one with Kirsten Dunst as the youngest sister! I love that one with all the other actors and it always makes me cry!!! =(
One of the greatest stroies EVER!!! =)

Shelley I agree with Cathy.

Kate Hepburn knew in her bones what Jo was all about. None of the other actresses have.

Shelley, Rain: A Dust Bowl Story,

Michelle I like the Katherine Hepburn version the best by far and the one with Meredith Baxter-Birney next. Did not care for the version with Winona Ryder. Part of the reason was the movie was dark through the whole thing. Just because it's a period piece doesn't mean it has to be a dark drab movie.

Carey I have watched all the versions of Little Women. The best movie version is the one with Katherine Hepburn. She played the best Jo. Although I do like the one with Winona Ryder and Christian Bale. I like Christian Bale. My favorite book of Louisa May Alcott is Little Women. I have most of Louisa May Alcott books.
Really? Opera. interesting..

Robin I know, what kind of songs would they sing?

DeAnn As a child I fell in love with Jo played by Katherine Hepburn and I so wanted to be just like her, however as an adult I love the Winona Rider movie.

While I loved KH as Jo I only like WR as Jo; it all has to do with the ending scene, I just felt that it didn't fit her or else she didn't play it quite the right way.

Robin which actress, kate or winona?

Alice Katherine Hepburn..she's the whole show for me.

Jennifer Rockwell The 1949 Little Women starred June Allyson as Jo, Elizabeth Taylor as Amy, Janet Leigh as Meg and Margaret O'Brien as Beth, a powerhouse cast that has never been rivaled in my estimation. That film is also the one that stayed the closest to the novel, which I really appreciated.

The several feminist additions they made to the version with Winona Ryder were unnecessary, uninspired and really bothered me. And while I am an enormous fan of Katherine Hepburn, her version was made in the thirties when she was still far more of an old school actress than she later became. As a result, I think her performance too stylized, almost leaning into silent movie theatrics.

I was never a huge fan of June Allyson before this movie, but I think she captured Jo beautifully, and I've yet to see another Amy as endearing as Liz Taylors: "One for you... and one for you...and one for me!"

Great question and thanks for asking!

Grace I grew up with the MGM 1949 version, and it's very close to my heart. Elizabeth Taylor will ALWAYS be Amy to me. Same with pretty much all of the different actors in the movie!
The Katharine Hepburn movie was good, but not as good as June Allyson. In my opinion Hepburn's acting in this was awful, I've seen her do much better.

message 43: by Elizabeth (last edited Aug 10, 2012 11:13PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Elizabeth Day I've only seen one version, and it was really good. The one with Winona Ryder as Jo.

Christina Mortellaro You forgot the stage musical of Little Women that had Sutton Foster play Jo (she's amazing).
I choose the Wynona Rider version just because it's the only movie one I've seen. Haha. However, I love the stage show even though it does differ from the book in the way it's set up. The duet between dying Beth and Jo ("Some Things Are Meant to Be") is really touching and beautiful.

message 45: by [deleted user] (new)

The last one with Winona Ryder, Claire Daines and Christian Bale.

Elizabeth Swapp I agree with a lot of posters and will say the Winona Ryder Christian Bale version. The cast is excellent, the cinematography lush and beautiful. I also get a touch melancholy whenever I watch it because I know Winona had the movie dedicated to Polly Klass, who was kidnapped and killed in her hometown and Little Women was her favorite book. Polly was my age and I remember the search for her touched me deeply.

Kathryn Short Macaluso Becky wrote: "I love the version with Wynona Ryder and Christian Bale. It is one of the few movies that I liked as well as the book."

I agree! It's rare to like the movie as much as the book but that is definitely the case here.

message 48: by Anne (new) - rated it 5 stars

Anne I liked the Winona Ryder version the best!!!

message 49: by Anna (last edited Nov 28, 2012 02:56PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Anna Rose I have to pick the 1994 Winona Ryder version, if only because it came out when I was nine years old and had recently got into the book. I adored that movie, and had a phase of watching it every day. I definitely think that Kirsten Dunst is the best Amy, and Trini Alvarado is possibly my favourite Meg, although I thought all three actresses to play Meg looked right and played the part brilliantly.

All three movies have their merits. I love both Hepburn and Allynson as Jo (Ryder just didn't evoke the Jo of the book for me), and the 1949 version has an unbeatable atmosphere. It bugs me that they switched Beth and Amy's ages, though. I can see why they did it (so as to have a child actress play the youngest without the problem of a looming marriage, and Beth's character does work as a youngest sibling), but I wish they hadn't done it anyway. Liz Taylor was one of the greats, but I don't really like her as Amy - she just doesn't feel right. I'm not sure about Friederich either - too young and sexy!

I like how the 1994 version follows Amy and Laurie's exploits in Europe, these being missing from 1933 and 1949. Samantha Mathis is a good Amy, but unfortunately she has to follow Dunst, which is too bad for whoever got that part. I haven't mentioned Beth, because it's hard to pick a favourite - I'm afraid I wasn't blown away by any of them, but I didn't dislike any of them either. 1933 has my favourite Friederich and Grandfather Laurence, but all three movies are well cast, with one or two exceptions. As for Laurie, my favourite is the one in that TV mini-series of the 70s, which I feel is inferior to the movies in every other way.

All have their merits, and I love them all, but the short answer is that 1994 is my favourite.

Regina Andreassen Ren wrote: "i likw the one with American Psycho/Batman star Christian Bale but also the one with Katherine Hepburn. I hate horror films because they are scary and not fun but fear-inpiring and quite demonic in..."

and I am sure Laurie wouldn't have wanted Jo really... it was a teenager love! Jo was his best friend, another guy dressed as a girl! Someone careless and fre! Amy was a great girl! She was just very little when the story starts and of course she was vain an ambituous! What is wrong with that? She was sweet and clever too. She was not dumb at all! She wasn't less smart than Jo, that is for sure. I disagree... amy did want a challenge but she was into painting, instead! They are two very different people with different needs, but Amy was more refined one, that's all. The March sisters were well educated and Amy wasn't the dumbest, in fact, I find her more multidimensional than Jo. For those of us who love reading, I think we have to look further! I prefer Amy over Jo! I am not saying you have to agree with me, but the way you are perceiving Amy is very limited. The second part of Little Women explores Amy's personality and relationship with Laurie in such a exquisite way... how did you miss it?

I am an academic and I can only tell you that many of us girls there in the academia, are more like Amy, not like Jo...and yeah we are all for the challenge, but we love glamour, fashion and parties too! ;)

Amy and Laurie were perfect together! If you read the other books you will see that!

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