An Event Made for Stars and Hankies


The Scene: Columbia Pictures’ premiere of the Louisa May Alcott classic “Little Women,” with its ‘90s dream cast headed by Winona Ryder, at the Mann Culver Plaza Theatres. A Concord, Mass.-style Christmas bash followed in a tented studio parking lot. Proceeds went to Town Hall Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Public Library (where one might possibly now find “Little Women,” the novel “based on the motion picture screenplay,” which guests received in their gift bags).

Who Was There: From the film, Ryder with her long-haired beau, Soul Asylum’s Dave Pirner; co-stars Christian Bale, Claire Danes, Trini Alvarado, Samantha Mathis, Eric Stolz and Kirsten Dunst; director Gillian Armstrong; plus Jason Priestley, Diane Lane, Pia Zadora, James Brooks, Fran Drescher, Columbia Tri-Star Motion Pictures Co. Chairman Mark Canton and Wendy Finerman, and hordes of the usual suspects--agents, lawyers and executives who left a spouse at home and brought along one of their progeny. For a momentary thrill, there was also a Madonna sighting, though it turned out to be a false alarm.

The Audience Review: Heartwarming. A three-hankie picture sure to find an audience. “I loved it, and I don’t have anything to do with the movie,” said one woman. As for casting, 15-year-old Diana Van de Kamp, daughter of Andrea and John, enthused: “Winona Ryder and Claire Danes are my idols.

Self-Review: “I still think people like good stories and characters they care about and can be moved by,” said director Armstrong. “Christian Bales said his father was sobbing next to him. It’s a family film for people from 10 to 70.”


Overheard: “Yeah. It was good, though not enough people died and there wasn’t enough sex,” cracked one male viewer.

You Should Know: The movie was dedicated to kidnap and murder victim Polly Klaas and Judy Scott Fox, Armstrong’s agent who died during the filmmaking. Ryder--who, like Polly, was raised in Petaluma and offered a $200,000 reward for information leading to the girl’s return last year--said of the Klaas dedication: “It was kind of appropriate. ‘Little Women’ was her favorite book. Her parents gave it to me.” Ryder also pointed out that Polly’s parents, Marc Klaas and Eve Nichol, were in the audience.