Book Vs Movie: Little Women
The Louisa May Alcott Classic Novel Vs. the 1994 Winona Ryder-Starring Film
The Margos take a trip back to mid-19th century America with the Louisa May Alcott novel Little Women which was originally published in two volumes in 1868 & 1869 and became a smash hit. To describe the life story of Alcott as fascinating does not do it justice. Hers was a life filled with riches and poverty, with humiliation and joy, with love and hate, with incredible access to the best writers in the world and the worst images of the Civil War and the damage it did to humanity.
Alcott’s father, Amos Bronson Alcott, was a transcendentalist and educator who belonged with the likes of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau in the Concord area of Massachusettes. She was raised to be an abolitionist and feminist and was raised to be independent. In her peripatetic life, she moved over 20 times in 30 years before becoming a successful writer and the highest-earning author in her generation.
Little Women is loosely based on her own family story of the protagonist, Jo, being a substitute to Alcott. In the novel we have Jo, Meg, Beth, and Amy March who are being raised by their mother “Marmee” and their father is serving as a chaplain during the civil war. The sisters are poor but smart and kind. They all have special talents and want to live life to the fullest.
Jo is the most modern with a lack of concern for marriage and society’s expectation of women. She is spunky and whip-smart. A hero to generations of girls, she had been played by Saoirse Ronan, Katharine Hepburn, Maya Hawke, and in the 1994 Gillian Armstrong-directed film Winona Ryder.
Released on Christmas Day 1994, it became an instant classic.
In this episode, the Margos talk about Alcott’s life, the original novels, and how they differ from the 1994 adaptation. So which did they like better? Have a listen and find out!
In this ep the Margos discuss:
- The incredible life of Louisa May Alcott
- The success of Little Women and how it changed publishing
- Key differences in the most popular adaptations
- The cast: Winona Ryder (Jo March,) Trini Alvarado (Meg March,) Samantha Mathis (Older Amy March,) Kirsten Dunst (Younger Amy March,) Claire Danes (Beth March,) Christian Bale (Laurie,) Eric Stoltz (John Brooke,) Gabriel Byrne (Friedrich Bhaer,) Susan Sarandon, (Marmee,) and Mary Wickes (Aunt March.)
- Little Women trailer
- Jo declines Laurie’s proposal
- Amy declines Laurie’s sorta proposal
- Beth gets a piano for Christmas
- Music by Thomas Newman
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