- Alyssa @ Books Take You Places is in charge of Ancient to Renaissance Lit Classics. Sign up post
- Brittany @ Book Addict’s Guide is in charge of Mythology Classics. Sign up post
- Charlene @ Bookish Whimsy is in charge of 19th Century and Gothic Classics. Sign up post
- Alison @ The Cheap Reader is in charge of Children’s Classics. Sign up post
- Wendy @ Excellent Library is in charge of American & Misc. Classics. Sign up post
I thought for a while about what book I would like to tackle but finally decided on Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. How many adaptations could there be, right? BAHAHAHA, WRONG. There are so, so many. Today, since it is already halfway through September, I just wanted to finally put a post up acknowledging that I am working on this project--though it will probably take me further into October--and to start talking a bit about what's out there in terms of retellings. Let's look at the movie and television adaptations...
Movies & Television
Probably the most famous cinematic adaptation of Little Women is the 1994 version directed by Gillian Armstrong and starring Winona Ryder, Susan Sarandon, Christian Bale, Gabriel Byrne, Claire Danes, Kirsten Dunst, Eric Stoltz, Samantha Mathis and Trini Alvarado. This is a movie I watch frequently so I'm anxious to see how it actually holds up against the original story, considering I have not read Little Women in about ten years. I love all of the acting but I don't remember enough about the original characters to make any sort of assessment about the casting decisions or the screenplay yet, but this book vs. movie is #1 on my priority list for Classics Retold. This version also features one of my favorite scores of all time. Thomas Newman is a genius and was nominated for an Academy Award for the score. But the 1994 version isn't the most recent adaptation.
I love Katharine Hepburn and I guess I've been living on some other planet other than Earth because I had no idea she played Jo March in an adaptation of the novel. I also didn't know that this 1933 movie won the Oscar for best screenplay. Can we talk about the artwork for this movie, though? Amy, Beth, and Meg all look exactly the same and Jo looks like she is an angry forty-something housewife. Way to sell it, MGM. I think that if Hepburn has the same sassy attitude that she exhibited as Tracy Lord in one of my all-time favorite films, The Philadelphia Story, she could be a killer Jo March.
In 1949, only fifteen years after the Hepburn version, Hollywood brought us a super star-packed adaptation. The four March sisters were played by June Allyson (Jo), Margaret O'Brien (Beth), Elizabeth Taylor (Amy), and Janet Leigh (Meg). While I am typing this paragraph, I keep looking at Katharine Hepburn's face in the cover above. She looks like she is looking at the cover of this edition--it's pastels, it's love scene depiction, and the smiles--and saying, "Are you f*cking kidding me?" I am very curious if the 1930s version will be darker than this one. I'm also very interested to see several of these actresses at ages I've never seen them at before. (namely Taylor and O'Brien)
If you were to cast a version of Little Women, who would you pick for Professor Friedrich Bhaer? Would you ever consider William Shatner? Well, you're in luck because there is, in fact, an adaptation where this is a reality. I just picked this one up at the library today and I cannot wait to see how Shatner interprets all that is Teddy Lawrence. I mean, just look at the cover to this one. I'm assuming that is Jo and Laurie but it actually looks like a circa 1970s Doctor Who and an extra from Pollyanna.