Little Men (1934 film)

Little Men is a 1934 American feature film based on Louisa May Alcott's 1871 novel Little Men and a sequel to Little Women (1933 film) stars Ralph Morgan and Erin O'Brien-Moore, was directed by Phil Rosen, and released by Mascot Pictures. Alcott wrote Little Men in response to her prior novel, Little Women, hoping to achieve the same level of success.

Little Men
Directed byPhil Rosen
Produced byNat Levine
Written byGertrude Orr
Ken Goldsmith
Based onthe novel Little Men
by Louisa May Alcott
StarringRalph Morgan
Erin O'Brien-Moore
Music byHugo Riesenfeld
CinematographyErnest Miller
William Nobles
Distributed byMascot Pictures
Release date
  • December 14, 1934 (1934-12-14)
Running time
72 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish

Plot

The former Jo March (O'Brien-Moore), now married to Prof. Bhaer (Morgan), opens a boarding school for wayward boys. One day, a boy by the name of Nat Blake arrives at the house and is taken in by the Bhaers. Nat is soft-spoken, compassionate, respectful, and bright. He is picked on by the kids at first but soon fits right in. One day while riding back from a birthday party, Nat sees one of his homeless friends, Dan. He invites Dan back to the house, assuming that the Bhaers can take him in as they did himself. Although Professor Bhaer is hesitant due to the fact that Dan is older than all of the other boys in the house, Jo refuses to let Dan continue to live on the streets and insists that he stay. Dan, unlike Nat, is rude, arrogant, careless, and selfish. He quickly earns a bad name for himself by lying, getting into fights, smoking, and starting fires.

The boys in the house begin to resent Dan, but the Bhaers keep giving him second chances, knowing that deep down he has a good heart. One day, a dollar gets stolen from a boy named Tommy. Even though Dan is the trouble maker, everyone thinks it’s Nat, because he lied in the past about another incident. Some of the boys try to bully Nat into confessing, and Dan acts as Nat’s bodyguard due to their close friendship. In order to prevent Nat from further pestering, Dan goes to the streets to sell newspapers and get Tommy’s dollar back. When Dan tries to return the money anonymously, he is caught and thought to be the thief.

Professor Bhaur sends Dan to a much stricter alternative orphanage. Dan ends up escaping shortly after arriving and goes missing. Meanwhile at Plumfield, a boy, Dick, gets extremely sick and dies. The orphanage comes together in mourning and a note is left by a boy named Jack saying that he stole Tommy’s dollar and he’s never coming back. Realizing that he made a mistake, Professor Bhaer tries to bring Dan back, but he is nowhere to be found. The boys realize how much they miss Dan, and how he made their lives fun and exciting. After a couple of weeks, Dan returns to Plumfield and everyone is united and happy once again.

Response

The film received slight criticism due to high expectations from Alcott's prior novel, Little Women. Although the film was considered by some to be a sequel to Little Women, it didn't contain the same message about the domesticity of women and their roles in society, and therefore did not have as big of an impact.

While most critics deemed Little Men as a wholesome depiction of childhood that appealed to all audiences with its moments of sympathy, drama, and humor, some disagreed. The Motion Picture Reviews written by The Women's University Club called it less interesting and less important than Little Women. The film was also praised for its child actors. The Film Daily called it the biggest cast of juvenile actors assembled in a feature which included names like Frankie Darro, Junior Durkin, and David Durand.

Cast

References

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