"I don't think that being a strong person is about ignoring your emotions and fighting your feelings. Putting on a brave face doesn't mean you're a brave person. That's why everybody in my life knows everything that I'm going through. I can't hide anything from them. People need to realise that being open isn't the same as being weak."

- Taylor Swift

Monday, January 17, 2011

Little Women Disatisfaction.

I've just started to read 'Little Women' (I know, kinda late. But I never got my hands on it before now) on my Kobo, and I've watched some clips from some of the adaptions on the internet.

I must say, I'm quite disappointed.

Some of the older ones are atrocious. I've always disliked how movies in the prior to about the 70's always have to incorporate the current day's fashion and hair into a historical piece - so you get Princess Mary Tudor in a French hood and a retro perm in Anne of The Thousand Days, pour exemple. Same deal with Little Women.

Another thing that is steadily occurent is that they always cast some 20 or 30 year old as Amy March. The reason is quite silly - Amy March, being the youngest of the 'Little Women', changes the most, physically, throughout the story - wherelse Beth dies before she gets very old (sooo sad) and the eldest are introduced as being 15 and 16 - virtually adults. The 1994 takes the obvious route by casting two actresses for the role of Amy March - a pre-teen Kirsten Dunst and an older actress to play the love interest of Laurie, played by Christian Bale who was double Kirsten Dunst's age and height at the time. I don't understand why they didn't do that sooner - it would have made much more sense than a 30 year old trying to fit in to a classroom full of little schoolgirls.

The 1994 version with Winona Ryder and Susan Sarandon is by far the best adaption, but I don't understand why a remake hasn't been made. There has been a resurgence in recreating period pieces - Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice - why hasn't Little Women had their revamp yet?

Btw I am two chapters in and LOVING the book.

1 comment:

Adelaide Dupont said...

Apart from the 1994 adaptation of Little Women, I have seen the 1933 black-and-white version with Katharine Hepburn as Jo.

And I did read the book first. In February 1995 at the library during one of my Tuesday/Thursday lessons. The Penguin Classics edition, without pictures. (Classic books with pictures are good, modern books probably less so: and the Octopus budget edition is great). Jo and Laurie are lolling about on the grass.

I do take your point about the costumes.

Listening to Little Women's soundtrack as think music. If you're reading the first two chapters, you might well be thinking of Orchard House and Meg's Hair.

There's that scene where all four are getting dressed.

Towards the end Amy has a crowning moment of awesome which makes me think a lot more of her, and put me into a positive disposition when Aunt Carroll asks her to go to Europe in the sequel. (even while I was disappointed Jo didn't get to go, and understanding why she didn't: again, this is well-covered in the 1994 movie).

My crowning moment of awesome for the 1994 movie - even though it may be out of context/period - is when Bhaer and Jo talk about the Transcendalists. Big inspiration for Louisa May Alcott and her Dad.

(Do try to read Alcott's girlhood diary, from 10 to 14. Have a children's picture book of it, acquired in an early 2000s Christmas [probably 2002-03], from local basement bargain bookshop).

The older actress who plays Amy after Little Women's action closes is Samantha Mathis.

I seem to remember the ending chapters of Little Women more than I remember the first half, especially the ones with Meg and John Brooke - when he appears in the story.

Oh, and Anne of the Thousand Days has a searing monologue, probably best seen in the theatre.

Marmee (Susan Sarandon) was probably the star of the 1994 version. It's very much centred round her, in a way I don't feel the book is (or should be). Marmee was more peripherial in the 1933 version.

As for Claire Danes as Beth ... wow, that warmed the cockles of my heart. Especially the woodbox scene.

And I remember when Meg went to the party with the Gardiners and an incident with a curling rod. This was probably better done in the book. It was one of the more inspiring tableaux/set pieces.

One of the very first websites I discovered back in 1996 was to do with the characters that Louisa May Alcott based Little Women on. Not just her sisters and her parents.

Have a 130-year-fascimile edition of Little Women which is my reference copy, while the Octopus is my sentiment copy. (The Octopus has Little Women, Good Wives and Little Men; all of which I got deeply involved in May 1995: I did not buy Jo's Boys until the end of that year. Jo's Boys is probably ripe for a re-read, and I learnt from that book that Alcott's style is considered to be "moralistic not didactic").