Friday, February 9, 2007

LITTLE WOMEN (MGM 1949) Warner Home Video

Little Women (1949) is the Technicolor remake and vibrant coming-of-age story that follows the exploits of the March sisters, Jo (June Allyson), Beth (Margaret O’Brien), Amy (Elizabeth Taylor) and Meg (Janet Leigh) as they mature from adolescence into unsuspecting futures as women of merit and substance. Jo is the tomboy, defying all convention and propriety in her quest to live a life of enchantment and excitement.

That quest for excitement leads Jo first into the arms of the very wealthy, Theodore ‘Laurie’ Lawrence (Peter Lawford) - whom she rejects, then to the penniless, but infinitely better-suited, Professor Bhaer (Rossano Brazzi) - who eventually wins her heart. Meanwhile Amy has grown to love ‘Laurie,’ Meg – a more restrained and cordial affiliation with John Brooke (Richard Wyler) and Beth – the youngest and most fragile of them all has become ill.

This is the second filmic outing for Louisa May Alcott's celebrated novel - the first shot in glorious Technicolor. As Jo, June Allyson’s performance holds up quite well against Katherine Hepburn’s indelible original. Allyson is properly pert, plucky and disdainful all at once. She makes the part her own. Mary Astor is tender as Mrs. March. Also in the cast is C. Aubrey Smith, making his final screen appearance as the stoic but loveable Mr. James Lawrence and veteran curmudgeon, Lucille Watson as Aunt March. A timeless tale with wonderful performances, Little Women is a film to be cherished again and again.

Warner Home Video gives us an absolutely gorgeous DVD transfer. Owing to a Technicolor restoration, colors are rich, bold and vibrant. Flesh tones are quite natural. Blacks are velvety and deep. Whites are pristine. Fine detail is fully realized throughout/ The audio is mono but presented at an adequate listening level. There are no extras.

FILM RATING (out of 5 - 5 being the best)



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