Friday, May 27, 2016

Movie Spotlight: Little Women (1978)

Persuasion and Little Women - one British and elegant, the other as brimming with cozy American charm as they come. One similarity betwixt them? I used to think there was NO perfect film version for either, I would ramble at length upon the topic, it was really one of my most eloquent topics. Another thing they share? I found out I was wrong and not just a touch, but completely 100% so! Persuasionof course, was several years ago; however, Little Women was scarce a week past and what's more surprising is that, in the pleasantest of ways, the story and the way it was told have been a splendid picture of my Spring.

Accuracy to book -
There is a fair amount of mixing and stacking of events, but it doesn't feel rushed. At 3 hours and 20 minutes it really isn't, as it allows great freedom to immerse yourself in its world; which is one of the most beloved things about the book. Many little bits are tied in, such as Jo standing by an oak tree toward the end of the film hinting toward the whole "burr" conversation between Meg and Jo in the book. and even to Fred's cheating at croquet, except here he does it to Amy. 

Scenery/Sets - Films from the 70's and 80's are rarely known for their splendor, but honestly that very simplicity is one of the points about them which I so love, and this one is no different.  I feel as if I could walk into it, or even work the unique beauties that make its charm into my own life.

Costumes- Such a colorful and fresh range of style with full splendid skirts for the girls, and proper suits for the men. Meg's blue gingham looks light and refreshing, Jo has a sage scarf and minty dress which look especially pretty on her, and she has the most cozy looking plaid dress with elbow sleeves and ruffles... in addition to which their Christmas ensembles at the end are all the merriest things. 

Music - Bouncy, fun and very much in the family centered, period drama mood of the film.

Characters -

Other Ones - My favorite rendition of Marmee, Dorothy McGuire had lots of experiences with being a mother so that was little of a surprise, she is indeed a wonderful mother figure and the interactions between her and Mr. March are everything they should be. :) Greer Garson as Aunt March is her usual, brilliant, quick fire self. She is also an extremely active and good hearted Aunt March. As Marmee puts it: "Funny old lady, I should have known I could count on her." Also, Mr. Laurence is your perfect, gruff, grandfatherly Victorian gentleman.

Meg and Mr. Brook - She isn't my very favorite nor exactly what I picture in the book, but then she isn't exactly my favorite there either... Together though they're quite cute and fit in well with the rest of the family.

Beth - Beth is sweet, gentle perfection.

Amy - In many ways I think her portrayal, at the heart, is the closest to how the book paints her. Her and Laurie's relationship still isn't quite as expounded upon as in the book, but it is greater than that shown in the other films. Even when they are younger you can see how they fit together, and what scenes they do have are adorable.

Laurie - Absolutely jolly! He also reminds me, for some reason, of someone we've known for ages, which is rather fun. :)

Jo - I've always felt like Jo was somewhat of a kindred spirit, but this one... almost every conversation and happening in her story I chime with PERFECTLY, and the conversation she has with Marmee before Meg gets married... it's absolutely startling how every word, every sentiment fits with my life and emotions right now. And okay, it's dreadfully fun to at last have a blue eyed blond haired Jo. :)

Professor Bhaer - You get to see the Professor and Jo get to know each other, particularly in his attempts at teaching her German and their walks in the park with her and her girls, and he with his lads. He brings out the girlish, almost shy, side of Jo's nature in a way that is delightful to see. "Perhaps you will climb a tree for me... I challenge you miss, I race you to the top."  - to which her uncertain, but covertly delighted surprise at this statement is so sweet.

Professor Bhaer and Jo... I watched the "umbrella scene" thrice and teared up every single time.

The End.

Final Thoughts - I touched upon it in my description of Jo, but this entire film is comfortable and stirring, filled with not only inspiration, but motivation to move toward where it beckons.

 I  UTTERLY AND COMPLETELY LOVE IT! And yes, I used caps shamelessly to write that sentence, because nothing else would encapsulate my emotions upon it.

This review was first posted as part of Miss Laurie' 2016 Period Drama Challenge! 

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