Sisters are doing it for themselves: Little Women in 1933 and 2019 (for Parterre Box)

little-women-inside

Frances Dee, Jean Parker, Katharine Hepburn, and Joan Bennett in Little Women (1933)

David Fox: It is, of course, Kate Hepburn who brings us to Little Women. But before we get to her, I’d like to say a few words about my odd relationship with Louisa May Alcott’s beloved work of fiction, written shortly after the Civil War. Namely, to admit that even as a child, I resisted it, unread. It’s hard for me to articulate why, exactly. Not because it was a (maybe the) archetypal “girl book.” I devoured the entire oeuvre of Helen Dore Boylston, and copies of her complete Sue Barton and Carol series still anchor my library. (As for “boy books” — just as a title, The Call of the Wild makes me shudder.) I think it was fear of overt, sniffly sentimentality that put me off of the idea of Little Women.

Cameron Kelsall: I confess I’ve never read the book either, and my first exposure to the material was less than ideal: A flop musical adaptation that is probably responsible for my ongoing ambivalence toward Sutton Foster. The less said about it, the better. I’ve also seen the Gillian Armstrong-directed film version from the ‘90s, which features strong acting from Winona Ryder and Susan Sarandon — and a young Christian Bale in a brief Byronic phase — but also seemed soppy and cloying…

Click here to read the full review on Parterre Box.

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