Alcott bio makes ALA Notable Videos List

The American Library Association (ALA) Video Round Table Notable Videos for Adults Committee has compiled its 2011 list of Notable Videos for Adults, a list of 15 outstanding programs released on video within the past two years and suitable for all libraries serving adults. Its purpose is to call attention to recent video releases that make a significant contribution to the world of video recordings.

The Notable Videos for Adults committee selected 15 outstanding titles from among 55 nominees for this year’s list of Notable Videos for Adults. The Committee called the film “a lively biography of an independent woman with ideas ahead of her time who supported her impoverished family by writing romantic fiction and creating some of the most beloved characters in American literature.”

Alcott: ‘Not The Little Woman You Thought She Was’

Though many readers associate Alcott with the sweetness of Little Women, Reisen tells NPR‘s Linda Wertheimer, Alcott’s legacy — and Jo March’s, too — is really about the empowerment of women and girls around the world.

“You don’t grow up to walk two steps behind your husband when you’ve met Jo March,” says one Alcott fan.

In the time since Little Women was published in 1868, Reisen says she believes a countless number of women have — as Alcott put it — “resolved to take fate by the throat and shake a living out of her.”

Listen here to the NPR interview

School Library Journal: “Visually Rich,” “Inspirational”

[STARRED REVIEW] Harriet Reisen’s fine script and Nancy Porter’s vivid production combine to treat viewers to a visually rich, well-paced, and intimate view of Louisa May Alcott’s life. The story unfolds in well-paced dramatized vignettes, excellent scholarly commentary, clips from the original film of Little Women, and readings from Alcott’s personal letters and from her biographer, Ednah Cheney, played with a marvelous, spine-cracking correctness by Jane Alexander.

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“The Story-Telling is Superb”

Alcott is known as the iconic March sister, Jo. In Reisen’s book, the reader meets the real Louisa; the pulp fiction writer, the comedian, the moody and the cantankerous.

This book will appeal to all who love Alcott classics, who cherish stories of fierce, independent women, and who want to know about writer’s craft and inspiration. The book’s research is impeccable, and the author’s storytelling is superb. Meet the real Louisa May Alcott. – Lynn Brogan, Suite101

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“Smart”… “tasteful,” says The Boston Globe

“Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind ‘Little Women’ ’’ manages to penetrate the facts of Louisa May Alcott’s life (1832-1888) to get at her humor, her spirit, and her growth as a person. With a smart, tasteful use of docudramatic re-creations, director Nancy Porter gives us the story of a writer’s interior world and genesis with more drama and color than you generally expect from a 90-minute documentary.
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The Buffalo News rates Alcott film 4 out of 4 stars

The documentary is an education about the period in American history and the Alcotts’ friendships with the leading reformers of their day. It is also an intimate look at the hardships of Alcott’s life — the poverty of her early life, the death of sister Elizabeth at 23, and the health problems that began to plague her in her late 30s.
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Booklist calls Alcott film “clever… stunning… entertaining & instructive”

Booklist 11/15/09

BooklistFilm_Review

Booklist’s starred review says “magnificent” biography brings Louisa “to whirling life.”

Reisen’s love for Little Women and curiosity about the author became a grand obsession, inspiring her to write the screenplay for the first Alcott documentary and this uniquely vital and dramatic biography. Reisen’s cinematic eye brings Louisa to whirling life as a coltish, fearless girl of “explosive exuberance” and sharp intellect, while she portrays Louisa’s parents with compassion and criticism: blue-blooded Abigail, continually pregnant, impossibly burdened, yet resilient and innovative; utopian Bronson, famous for his progressive ideas, infamous for his incompetence. Alcott inherited her mother’s pragmatism and courage and a touch of her father’s vision and madness and bravely struggled through a crazy-quilt childhood of wretched poverty and social privilege—their closest friends were the luminaries Emerson, Hawthorne, and Thoreau, whom Alcott loved. She supported the family, laboring as a laundress, teaching, and serving as an army nurse in the Civil War while “training herself as a businesswoman as well as a fast, versatile pen for hire.” Reisen analyzes Louisa’s great pleasure in writing lucrative pulp fiction, her sacrifices, adventures, and brilliant career. Here, finally, is Alcott whole, a trailblazing woman grasping freedom in a time of sexual inequality and war, a survivor of cruel tragedies, a quintessential American writer. Reisen’s magnificent biography will be in high demand when PBS premieres her American Masters documentary. — Donna Seaman

NPR interview with Nancy Porter

WNRI/NPR’s Bob Seay interviews director/producer Nancy Porter on her latest film, Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women at the Rhode Island Film Festival.
Listen to the NPR interview

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