Little Women is a profoundly moving history of youth and in this celluloid transcription [of the novel by Louisa M. Alcott] its deeply spiritual values are revealed with a simple earnestness.
Katharine Hepburn as Jo creates a new and stunningly vivid character; strips the Victorian hoyden of her syrupy goody-goodiness; and endows the role with awkwardly engaging youth energy that it makes it the essence of flesh and blood reality.
Story is full of tearfully sentimental passages, but they are managed with beautiful restraint. There is the heavily tearful episode of Beth’s sickroom scene, in which the pathetic possibilities are realized to last extreme by the rigid restriction of obvious acting.
A notable company of standard screen names supports the star. Joan Bennett, Frances Dee and Jean Parker (as Beth) complete the feminine quartet, all playing with a persuasive charm. Paul Lukas contributes a characteristic portrait as Prof Bhaer and Spring Byington is a conspicuous point of casting strength.
1932/33: Best Adaptation.
Nominations: Best Picture, Director