In 1978, Susan Dey played Josephine 'Jo' March in yet another retelling of Luisa May Alcott's oft-filmed classic Little Women. This version of Little Women was supposed to serve as the pilot for a projected television series. The series never came, so we are left with a nearly 200 minute TV movie (which could be considered a miniseries since it plays in two sections).
This production of Little Women featured an all-star TV cast. The March sisters were portrayed by Meredith Baxter (who has appeared memorably in an episode of The Partridge Family titled "Where Do Mermaids Go?," in one of her first onscreen roles), Eve Plumb (from Partridge rivals The Brady Bunch) and Ann Dusenberry (who later appeared in an episode of Emerald Point N.A.S.). A nice selection of 1940s era cinema stars are also featured in the form of Dorthy McGuire, Greer Garson and Robert Young. On top of all this is the addition of the one-and-only William Shatner as Susan Dey's love interest (!), sporting a German accent!
Susan Dey was the focal point of Little Women, despite the cast that Meredith Baxter got first billing. It was a somewhat odd casting decision, however. Susan Dey, who had worked so hard to distance herself from her safe Laurie Partridge image, had during the previous year portrayed an abusive mother (in Mary Jane Harper Cried Last Night) and appeared nude for the first time onscreen (in First Love). But apparently she fought for the role and won it.
|Milwaukee Journal (October 1, 1978)|
Little Women was the end of an era for Susan Dey, as it would mark the last time that she played a "young" character. In her next project (The Comeback Kid) she portrayed an adult, and would do so from then on.
Fortunately, the 1978 version of Little Women has been preserved and is available on dvd for all to enjoy!