The Little Minister

  • 1934
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama

The Little Minister was one of Sir James Barrie's most popular works. Published as a novel in 1891, it was adapted into a play in 1897 in England, then brought to the US in 1907 in a version starring Maude Adams. She revived it on stage in 1915 and on radio (twice) in 1934, then Ruth Chatterton played it on Broadway again in the mid-1920s. Two silent film...read more

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The Little Minister was one of Sir James Barrie's most popular works. Published as a novel in 1891, it was adapted into a play in 1897 in England, then brought to the US in 1907 in a version starring Maude Adams. She revived it on stage in 1915 and on radio (twice) in 1934, then Ruth

Chatterton played it on Broadway again in the mid-1920s. Two silent film adaptations were released in 1921, Paramount's version featuring Betty Compson and George Hackathorne, Vitagraph's starring Alice Calhoun and Jimmy Morrison. In RKO's 1934 reworking of the tale, Hepburn is a peeress who

enjoys dressing up as a gypsy and running around with impoverished weavers in 1840 Scotland. They are little more than slaves to the city folks who own the manufacturing facilities and they finally decide to rebel. Conroy, Hepburn's guardian, orders troops into the area to stem the tide of

rebellion, but Hepburn works undercover against Conroy, and warning the weavers of the attacks so they are always able to escape. She encounters Beal, the new cleric of the local church, and the two of them fall in love. He doesn't know that she is anything but a gypsy girl and his conservative

congregation is totally against the romance; they make no bones about their feelings. The love affair between the two is not hidden and the dour parishioners are making plans to fire Beal when it is learned that Hepburn is not a gypsy at all, but the ward of Conroy. Once that's discovered, all is

well with the stiff Scots and Beal is allowed to stay on. The play was far more whimsical than the film and the comedy was prevalent. In this, the writers have elected to go for drama and that may have been an error. The film presents a typical Hollywood view of Scots as unsmiling, rigid people,

but the actors' accents are somewhat more authentic.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: The Little Minister was one of Sir James Barrie's most popular works. Published as a novel in 1891, it was adapted into a play in 1897 in England, then brought to the US in 1907 in a version starring Maude Adams. She revived it on stage in 1915 and on radi… (more)

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