Hepburn's Little Women
With their father away working as a minister to the troops fighting in the American Civil War sisters: Meg (Frances Dee), Jo (Katharine Hepburn), Beth (Jean Parker) and Amy (Joan Bennett) along with Marmee (Spring Byington) must do what they need to in order to survive. Fortunately the women are all good friends with neighbour Mr. Laurence (Henry Stephenson) and his lively grandson Laurie (Douglass Montgomery).
The 1933 version of "Little Women" is in fact the fourth version I have watched and in some ways you could say that I have watched them back to front having first watched the 1994 version, then the 1978 TV mini-series which was then followed by the 1949 movie with June Allyson leading proceedings. But it wasn't until I watched this 1933 version with Katharine Hepburn delivering what is one of her warmest performances that something struck me. My favourite of these is the 1994 version and quite simply it was an adaptation made for my generation, being in my 20s when it was released. But as such I reckon if I had been a 20 year old in 1949 I would have probably enjoyed MGM's picture postcard version above the earlier ones and if I had been in my 20s back in 1933, well you know where this is going.
But that really simplifies why I prefer the 1994 version with MGM's beautiful 1949 version coming second as truth be told this 1933 version is not a bad movie and I can see why there are many fans of it especially with Katharine Hepburn delivering a charming and spirited performance as Jo. But the thing is for me is whilst this version canters along at a nice pace, not over dressing the storyline with too much flourishing what for me doesn't work is that at times there is a staginess to it which makes it feel unnatural. In many ways it is an age thing as this is comparable to other movies of the 1930s and it is a case that whilst some will enjoy it I don't that much with all those involved occasionally at fault for forcing things.
What this all boils down to is that whilst for me there are some styling flaws this 1933 version of "Little Women" does a nice job of telling the story and truth be told I can understand why those who are fans of Katharine Hepburn would love it. But for me this version currently sits in third place with the 1994 being my favourite version.