Yesterday I watched the film, “Little Women” made in 1994. I watched it in my living room on my television set. It may surprise you to learn that when I was a child there were very few television sets around and certainly not in my home. So I borrowed the book by Louisa M. Alcott from my library it was one of my favourite books. I was a child who loved reading, at this time books were in very short supply and the free library was a very precious asset.
To have a work of Art in my own home, a good film is just as much a work of art as a painting by Rembrandt or Van Gogh with the difference that a film is the work of a whole team of people not the product of a single genius. In my mind it is quintessentially a twentieth century work of art. There have been two other films of this book, one in 1933 and one in 1949, the second one is probably the film I saw as a child. The story has strengthens and weaknesses, Marmie is more of an angel than a flesh and blood mother and the sisters, Meg, Beth and Amy are not fully drawn characters in the way that our heroine Jo is. Of course like most girls I identified with Jo, I felt awkward, clumsy, unable to fit in. Winona Ryder is really too beautiful but somehow she conveyed the impression of awkwardness just enough to make it real. Of course Laurie falls in love with her, handsome, rich, charming Laurie, I should be so lucky! I never did understand why Jo refused him. I did understand the feeling of wanting to know more about the world I lived in. In the 1950s many men believed that women were unable to take responsible leading roles because they lacked intelligence and determination. I met a history teacher who sneered at the girls in his economic history class!
I don’t think that Gabriel Bryne’s character appears in Little Women, I think he is in the second book of the series. I thought the relative poverty of the family was well portrayed in the plain dresses of the characters and their awe of Laurie’s rich grandfather. I enjoyed the film hugely.