First time shown on German Free TV: May 8, 1998 (RTL2)
The Internet Movie Database Entry
Starring Wynona Ryder as Jo, this movie tells in about 116 minutes the story of both books, Little Women and Good Wives... (both books, because they are sold separately here in Europe). Though 116 minutes is not much time to tell the story of over 400 pages, this film is one of the few I was not disappointed after having read the novel before...
Wynona Ryder did a great job as Jo and Susan Sarandon was a true "Marmee", but they were both outdone by Kirsten Dunst playing the young Amy. The first time the actress had the right age to play the 12 year old Amy and she did wonderful. (If you want to see a "real naughty Amy" see Kirsten Dunst as Claudia in "Interview with the Vampire", filmed also in 1994. I liked the way she "finished" her piano teacher ;-) )
Claire Danes as the timid Beth, Trini Alvarado as Meg and Samantha Mathis as the adult Amy finish the cast of the "girls". I must say, I didn't like the part of the adult Amy although I don't think it is the fault of Samantha Mathis... I wasn't happy with Amy's part in the novel Good Wives too.
Anyway. Being a German I saw this movie in both versions: The original English version and the dubbed German version. And I must say, that the dubbing is almost perfect as dialogues and mood stay nearly 100% as in the original (This should be normal, but it isn't). But one "oops" I remember: They translated "Cheeks" to "Backen", which in some parts of Germany is more common for the buttocks... ;-). The correct translation should have been "Wangen".
One part of the German dub I recall better than the English. The sigh Amy makes when hearing that Jo from now on is supervising her education, is much more impressive in the German version. Listen to it (MP3-WAV, ca 64 KB). You will hear the German voices of Marmee and Jo and the sigh of Amy (it is the second one)
Here we come to my personal favorite. The soundtrack of Little Women (composed by Thomas Newman) is the most perfect one I ever heard. I can still recall any scene of the movie by just hearing the corresponding title on the CD. Hearing "Valley of the Shadow" still brings the tears to my eyes (yes, it's the scene just after poor Beth died)
You can listen to some pieces as MP3-Files
Note: The names of the MP3-Files contain spaces, this can cause problems on some systems. I'll change this as soon as I get access to the site where I store these files.
Beth at the Hummels
Probably you remember the scene when Beth goes to the Hummels and attracts scarlet fever. To my surprise the actress of Mrs Hummel is a true German (at least her voice is), she has a light dialect that is spoken in the northern part of Germany.
As the situation is a little confusing and Mrs. Hummel speaks quite fast, you eventually didn't catch the sense of her words... Here's what Mrs. Hummel and her daughter are saying:
(Beth is knocking at the door)
Daughter: "Wer ist denn das Mutter?" ("Who is that, Mother?")
Mrs. Hummel: "Sei leise" ("Be silent")
(The door opens)
Daughter: "Beth! Mutter, Mutter komm!" ("Beth! Mother, Mother come!)
Mrs. Hummel: Gott sei Dank, daß Du hier bist. Wo ist denn Deine
Mutter? Ich brauch dringend Medizin. Wo ist denn Deine Mutter? Wir sind alle
so schrecklich krank hier. Fritz und Emil...
("Thank God, you are here. Where is your mother? I urgently need medicine. Where is your mother? We're all so terrible ill here. Fritz and Emil...")
Daughter: Du mußt gehen... ("You must go")
Mrs. Hummel: "Wir müssen zum Arzt hin." ("We must see the Doctor")
Daughter: "Doktor, bitte!" ("Doctor, please!")
Mrs. Hummel: "Fühl 'mal das Kind! Fühl 'mal ihren Kopf,
fühl 'mal ihren Kopf hier an, wie krank sie ist! Kannst Du das nicht
sehen, Mensch! Wo ist Deine Mutter denn? Wir brauchen die Medizin, wir sind
alle krank hier. Kann sie das nicht sehen, daß wir krank sind, Mensch!?
Kuck 'mal, das Kind verbrennt mir ja vor meinen Augen."
"Feel the child! Feel her head, just feel her head, how ill she is! Can't you see that! Where is you mother? We need the medicine, we're all ill here. Can't she see, that we're all ill? Look! The child is just burning before my eyes"
("denn" and "'mal" are words that are used in German to emphasis a wish. "Mensch" ist used to express despair or reproach)
Dedicated to Judy Scott-Fox and Polly Klaas
If you watch the Credits an the end of the movie you'll discover the section "Dedicatet to Judy Scott-Fox and Polly Klaas" If you wondered who these persons were, here is the answer:
Judy Scott-Fox was director Gillian Armstong's agent who died from cancer and Polly Klaas a 12-year-old girl from Winona Ryder's hometown Petaluma who was abducted and found murdered after a nationwide search in 1993. Winona Ryder became involved and even offered $200,000 for the childs safe return - in vain.