Little Women (1933) (NTSC)

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Released 17-Apr-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio
Listing-Cast & Crew
Audio-Only Track-Scoring Stage Session Cues (11)
Notes-Hepburn & Cukor
Theatrical Trailer
Awards
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1933
Running Time 115:25
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,3,4 Directed By George Cukor
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Katharine Hepburn
Joan Bennett
Jean Parker
Frances Dee
Paul Lukas
Edna, May Oliver
Douglass Montgomery
Case ?
RPI $34.95 Music Max Steiner


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles English
French
Spanish
Portuguese
Chinese
Korean
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Little Women is the story of four sisters growing up and their loves and losses along the way.

    Jo (Katharine Hepburn), Beth (Jean Parker), Amy (Joan Bennett) and Meg (Frances Dee) are all sisters growing up together experiencing both good and bad times. The family was previously quite wealthy but now has fallen on harder times and must adjust to the changes this brings. The story is centred around the headstrong tomboy Jo who helps care for her elderly Aunt March (Edna May Oliver). She also forms a close relationship with Laurie (Douglass Montgomery) from a local wealthy family. As time progresses, each of the daughters must overcome different hurdles and deal with tragic losses while finding their true loves.

    This story, based on a novel of the same name by Louisa May Alcott, has been produced for both film and television numerous times. I personally found that this 1933 version focused almost entirely upon the character of Jo and did very little to develop the other characters, leaving the audience feeling little emotional attachment to them. This may simply be due to the time constraints that a two-hour film imposes but it does clearly reduce the impact of the tragic losses that face the family. Despite these problems, this film does contain a wonderful performance by Katharine Hepburn in one of her early roles. If you are a fan of Hepburn or Little Women then you should definitely take a look at this version, which won the 1933 Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This film was made nearly seventy years ago and does show some obvious damage. Despite this damage, the transfer is acceptable and the best that could be expected without a complete restoration.

    The full frame NTSC transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1.

    The transfer is extremely sharp throughout but some scenes, such as a shot of Hepburn at 54:42 are noticeably softer. As with most high quality black and white transfers, the shadow detail displayed is excellent with very high levels of detail visible in the darker sections of the image. No low level noise was detected during the transfer.

    This is a black and white transfer and the image displays a uniform greyscale throughout with no colouration present at any time.

    No MPEG artefacts were detected during the transfer.

    A small amount of aliasing is present throughout the transfer, such as at 12:19, 58:47, 59:51, 62:32 and 81:05. All of these instances are quite minor and are only slightly distracting to the viewer.

    A number of film artefacts are present during the transfer. Some of these artefacts may be seen at 0:43, 2:24, 4:26, 8:28 and 11:58. All of these artefacts are relatively minor and are only slightly distracting to the viewer. At a number of points throughout the transfer, the image obviously skips a few frames. The worst example of this may be seen at 90:50 and appears to be due to damage to the original source materials. These short skips only occur for a small number of frames and are only slightly distracting.

    Six sets of white subtitles are included on this disc. I extensively sampled the English stream and found them to be consistently accurate.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    Like the video portion of the transfer, the audio mix does display some problems due to the age of the original source material.

    A single Dolby Digital 192 kbps 1.0 mono track is provided on the disc.

    The dialogue is clear and easy to understand but at various points does have obvious distortion during loud segments such as 29:36 and 51:40. These problems are due to the original recording and are only minimally distracting. No dropouts or problems with audio sync were detected at any time during the transfer.

    The original score by Max Steiner makes its presence felt throughout and its orchestrally-based tracks are very typical of his work at the time.

    The surround and subwoofer channels were not utilised by the soundtrack.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    The non-animated menu is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1.

Cast and Crew

    This is a very basic two-page listing of the main cast and crew members.

Scoring Stage Session Cues

    This is a collection of musical segments from the film's score presented as a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. The following musical segments are provided:

Hepburn & Cukor

    This is a three-page listing of the various films that Katharine Hepburn and director George Cukor worked on together.

Trailer (3:04)

    This theatrical trailer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with a Dolby Digital 1.0 soundtrack.

Awards

    This is a single page stating that the film won the 1933 Academy Award for Best Writing - Adaptation, was on the National Board of Review 10 Best List that year and that Katharine Hepburn received the award for Best Actress at the 1934 Venice Film Festival.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This is the identical disc as released previously in Region 1.

Summary

    Little Women is the slightly disappointing telling of the classic story by Louisa May Alcott with an excellent performance by Katharine Hepburn.

    Considering the age of the film, the video transfer presented is of acceptable quality but it does show some obvious damage.

    The mono soundtrack is adequate and reflects the age of the film.

    The minimal extras are a little disappointing and could have easily been improved by the inclusion of a collection of biographies and filmographies.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Anthony Kable (read my bio)
Saturday, April 06, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 1200, using S-Video output
DisplaySony KP-E41SN11. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationFront left/right: ME75b; Center: DA50ES; rear left/right: DA50ES; subwoofer: NAD 2600 (Bridged)
SpeakersFront left/right: VAF DC-X; Center: VAF DC-6; rear left/right: VAF DC-7; subwoofer: Custom NHT-1259

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