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The 1994 incarnation of LITTLE WOMEN ($30) is the latest film edition of the Louisa May Alcott classic about trials and tribulations of four sisters during the civil war period. Winona Ryder stars as the most headstrong of the sisters, Jo March. Jo has aspirations of being a writer, at a time when social convention only allowed women to be wives and mothers. Trini Alvarado is Meg March, whose own aspirations lay along more traditional lines. Samantha Mathis and Kirsten Dunst both portray Amy March, although at different ages. Amy’s own aspiration is to find herself a rich husband who can provide all the things she is denied in her impoverished youth. Claire Danes portrays Beth March, the most fragile of the March sisters, whose zest for living won’t be denied by physicality.

LITTLE WOMEN is a beautiful coming of age film, which should be seen and appreciated by all generations. People often say that Hollywood doesn’t make films like this anymore. LITTLE WOMEN is proof positive that on rare occasion they do. Gillian Armstrong movingly directs LITTLE WOMEN, allowing all of the principal actresses to deliver strong performances, especially Ryder who earned an Academy Award nomination. The equally strong supporting cast of LITTLE WOMEN features Gabriel Byrne, Eric Stoltz, John Neville, Mary Wickes, Christian Bale and Susan Sarandon.

Columbia TriStar Home Video has given LITTLE WOMEN a beautiful looking Letterboxed transfer that restores the film to its 1.85:1 theatrical aspect ratio. The Letterboxed ratio appears balanced, with nothing omitted from the extreme edges of the frame. LITTLE WOMEN was beautifully lit and photographed, and this transfer does justice to Geoffrey Simpson’s marvelous cinematography. The image has terrific detail and the colors have wonderfully saturated hues. Digital compressing artifacts were almost undetectable.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel mix is truly marvelous. The mix is so delightfully subtle, with just little tiny bits of sound creating the atmosphere of the film to utter perfection. This mix is proof positive that soundtracks don’t have to be big and loud to be effective. Other soundtrack options include a matrixed Dolby Surround track, as well as French and Spanish language tracks. Subtitles are available in Spanish.

LITTLE WOMEN is a true delight, don’t miss adding this edition of the Louisa May Alcott classic to your DVD library.




DVD reviews are Copyright 1997 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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