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Little Minister
     

The Little Minister

Director: Richard Wallace

Cast: Katharine Hepburn, John Beal, Alan Hale

 
Based on the novel and play by James M. Barrie, The Little Minister turned out to be Katharine Hepburn's best vehicle since Little Women. John Beal plays the Reverend Gavin, the sobersided new cleric of a tiny Scottish village. Almost against his better judgment, Beal falls in love with Babbie (Hepburn), a feisty gypsy girl whom the villagers regard as a

Overview

Based on the novel and play by James M. Barrie, The Little Minister turned out to be Katharine Hepburn's best vehicle since Little Women. John Beal plays the Reverend Gavin, the sobersided new cleric of a tiny Scottish village. Almost against his better judgment, Beal falls in love with Babbie (Hepburn), a feisty gypsy girl whom the villagers regard as a pariah. Thanks to this "unholy" alliance, the little minister is nearly run out of town, but when he is accidentally stabbed in a fracas, the townsfolk come to their senses. Previously filmed in 1921, The Little Minister was afforded sumptuous production values by RKO Radio (its elaborate Scottish-village set would later pop up in innumerable films, notably Laurel & Hardy's Bonnie Scotland), and benefits immeasurably from the spirited performances of all concerned. Alas, the film was too expensive to post a profit, and despite respectable business it ended up $9000 in the red.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
This last film version of J.M. Barrie's novel is delightful. True, the makers approach the material a trifle too seriously, thereby losing some of the lighthearted whimsy that the material needs to be an unqualified success. But this doesn't keep the film from being charming on its own terms. It also offers Katharine Hepburn one of her best early roles. Indeed, at one point the title character asks "Can a man like a woman against his will," neatly stating the theme that underlies so many of Hepburn's films (Bringing Up Baby and Pat and Mike, for instance). Hepburn is in full take-charge mode here, but also gets to act coy and vulnerable as demanded -- and she clearly relishes the chance to play both the peeress and her feisty gypsy alter ego. John Beal does very well as the minister, underplaying to provide contrast to the effervescent Hepburn but still standing his cinematic ground against her. Donald Crisp is sagely humane as the doctor, and Alan Hale is good as the town drunk. The production is lavish and often beautiful, and Richard Wallace's direction is dependable and occasionally sprightly. The Little Minister is a bit dated and some modern audiences will find it a bit cloying, but those in the right frame of mind will enjoy it greatly.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/20/2009
UPC:
0883316140253
Original Release:
1934
Rating:
NR
Source:
Warner Archives
Presentation:
[Full Frame]
Time:
1:44:00
Sales rank:
35,427

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Katharine Hepburn Babbie
John Beal Gavin
Alan Hale Rob Dow
Donald Crisp Dr. McQueen
Lumsden Hare Thammas
Andy Clyde Wearyworld
Beryl Mercer Margaret
Billy Watson Micah Dow
Dorothy Stickney Jean
Mary Gordon Nanny
Frank Conroy Lord Rintoul
Eily Malyon Evalina
Reginald Denny Capt. Halliwell
Leonard Carey Munn
Herbert Bunston Carfrae
Harry Beresford John Spens
Barlowe Borland Snecky
May Beatty Maid
Byron Foulger Actor

Technical Credits
Richard Wallace Director
Pandro S. Berman Producer
Mel Burns Makeup
Carroll Clark Art Director
Hobe Erwin Set Decoration/Design
Henry W. Gerrard Cinematographer
Willaim Hamilton Editor
Victor Heerman Screenwriter
Sarah Y. Mason Screenwriter
Jane Murfin Screenwriter
Mortimer Offner Screenwriter
Walter Plunkett Costumes/Costume Designer
Van Nest Polglase Art Director
Max Steiner Score Composer
Jack Wagner Screenwriter
Vernon Walker Special Effects
Robert Watson Consultant/advisor

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