Little Women (review)

Fans have long awaited a DVD release of this 1978 NBC miniseries, acclaimed as the most faithful of the many adaptations of Louisa May Alcott’s beloved novel, and here it is. It’s barebones — no extras; a commentary track would have been welcome — but the picture looks great and the sound is pretty nice, too. This beautiful production features costumes by the legendary Edith Head, music by Elmer Bernstein, and a dedication to authentic Civil War-period detail — it won an Emmy for Outstanding Art Direction in a Series — but it can’t help but feel a little 70s-riffic with its cast right off the decade’s prime time schedule. Meredith Baxter-Birney, Susan Dey, and Eve Plumb star as three of the four March sisters, and William Shatner takes a turn as Jo’s professor beau, complete with the worst German accent TV has ever seen but replete with his usual bug-eyed hamminess. But his scenery chewing can’t detract from the loveliness of Alcott’s tale, and the inner strength and inescapable appeal of her characters. [buy at Amazon]

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