Sunday, December 27, 2009

Louisa May Alcott Documentary Preview Monday, December 28!!

Monday night, December 28, PBS will premier the most wonderful biography of Louisa May Alcott!

During the past few years while I have been in Concord, MA, co-directing a National Endowment of the Humanities program on the Transcendentalists , I have had the opportunity to watch filming, talk with the writer and director, and preview the work in progress. Each time, I have been so impressed by what Nancy Porter and Harriett Reisen have done with Alcott's story. It is marvelous!

It was filmed entirely on location, including Orchard House, which only adds to the production in a way that one done on a set cannot. One gets the "feel" of Alcott's Concord and the people who lived there. Concord delibrately held on to the historical presence of the entire village through restoration and delibrate development, or should I say undevelopment, of the area. As one walks through the village, it is easy to visual the first shot of the American Revolution between the Butterick farm and Ralph Waldo Emerson's grandfather's home, the Old Manse. The energy of Emerson, Thoreau, and Hawthorne still fill the village. It is easy to expect to meet them as one walks down Lexington Road or Walden Street.

The movie itself is well written and the website offers all kinds of wonderful resources (should you teach, homeschool or just have a passion for Alcott's works). Included is a very informative timeline as photos of the Alcott family. Were you aware that Alcott sent her baby sister May to study with Turner in England or that her older sister married John Pratt who had been at Brook Farm, a utopian community (he later became John Brooke in Little Women)?

Please put this on your calendar of must-do for Monday, won't you? It will be well worth the time! Enjoy!


  1. Matty, thanks for the info. How wonderful to work on something like this. If your in Concord again, let me know and we can have lunch:-) How was the research on Alcott's father--I have read some stuff on him--not the nicest or most attentive family chap a gal hopes for.

  2. Suzanne,

    I didn't realize you were in that part of the country. I will be there the second and third weeks of July. We can email about meeting up for lunch.

    John Matteson's book on Louisa and Bronson's relationship is quite interesting. Have you read "Eden's Outcasts"? It is fascinating. John started writing it when he had a daughter and wanted to understand father daughter relationships better.

    I think Bronson was just not the kind of father we would like to think (a la Father March), but without him, I don't think Louisa would have been the woman she was.

  3. Matty, if you get a chance email me at my personal email: We can chat:-)

    Yes, read that book, excellent for a look into the family. I agree, Bronson is not the man portrayed in the book or the movies. Perhaps Louisa wrote his character in Little Women as the father she idealized. Maybe not, but I think so.

    I have always wanted to do a bit of research into John Pratt as this is a family name and wonder if there is a connection.

  4. I am going to watch this Matty; thanks for highlighting it. I really don't know much about Louisa May Alcott! Regretably now, English and literature were not my thing in college. I'm trying to play catch-up these days.

  5. Thanks for reminding me Matty! I will have to tie up Ran and Jamie and put them in the closet when it's on, but I'm sure it will be worth it!


  6. That sounds wonderful! I wonder if it will be on dvd and we'll be able to watch it that way sometime in the future.


Thanks for dropping in on the farm today! I enjoy your comments!