(from which he pulls eight consecutivernquotations) and an article by William K,rnFrankena. Much the same occurs inrnChapter Two, where 45 of the 48 footnotesrnderive from a single source, LonrnFuller and Robert Braucher’s Basic ContractrnLaw. Chapter Three has eightrnfootnotes, in one of which Bennett assertsrnthat what “has not received muchrnattention in contemporary thinking isrnRousseau’s theory [ot social contract]”!rnIn Chapter Four he summarizesrnSocrates and quotes extensively from thernworks of Plato, using the editions translatedrnby . . , Edith Hamilton, ChapterrnFive consists of his summary (of hisrnsummaries) and conclusions from hisrnsummaries.rnSome parts of Bennett’s thesis seemrnlike nothing more than an elaborationrnon Frankena’s article. As indicated in itsrntitle, “Obligation and Motivation inrnRecent Moral Philosophy,” Frankena’srncssav deals with the very subject ofrnBennett’s dissertation, hi fact, Frankenarndiscusses the work of both Prichard andrnRoss and then concludes that theirrnphilosophies are too narrowly defined.rnThis just happens to be Bennett’s conclusion,rnand throughout his dissertation,rnfrom start to finish, one finds a simplernreiteration of Frankena’s arguments: “AsrnFrankena recommends. . . “; ” [The thesisrnwill] broaden the boundaries of therninquiry in a way recommended byrnFrankena . . . ” ; ” . . . as Frankena wouldrnrecommend . . .”; “We have takenrnFrankena’s advice and . . . ” ; “Again werncould say with Frankena . . . ” The dissertationrnends up reading more like anrnundergraduate term paper than an originalrnwork of scholarship.rnThat a project so lean in size and substancerncould qualify as a dissertationrnshould perhaps not surprise us. One ofrnthe advisors who signed and approvedrnhis thesis was John Silber, the presidentrnof the institution that so botched therninvestigation of Martin Luther King,rnJr.’s plagiarized dissertation, BostonrnUniversity. (Silber, by the way, has justrnanointed his successor at B.U.: it’s JonrnWestling, who in 1990 said in a letterrnto Chronicles about King’s bogus B.U.rnthesis that “not a single reader has everrnfound any nonattributed or misattributedrnquotations, misleading paraphrases,rnor thoughts borrowed without duernscholarly reference in any of its 343rnpages.”)rnPerhaps the most interesting part ofrnBennett’s dissertation is its epigraph.rn”Boys, a gentleman always rises when arnlady enters a room. He must. A gentlemanrnkeeps his obligations, even in Hell.”rnThis is certainly true, but in light of Bennett’srnrecent chicanery, one is remindedrninstead of the “infallible rule” of R. S.rnSurtees, that “the man who is alwaysrntalking about being a gentleman never isrnone.” The question is whether the samernholds true for declaimers of virtue.rnTheodore Pappas is the managing editorrnof Chronicles.rnFILMrnLittler Womenrnby Laurie MorrowrnLittle WomenrnProduced by Denise DiNovirnDirected by Gillian ArmstrongrnBased on the book by Louisa May AlcottrnScreenplay by Robin SwicordrnReleased by Columbia PicturesrnAs the recent effort to remake LittlernWomen suggests, Hollywood has rememberedrnthat an almost certain way tornmake a profitable film is to turn a bestsellingrnchildren’s classic into a movie.rnAfter all, when Hollywood makes familyrnfilms, entire families buy tickets, as wellrnas popcorn, sodas, and candy, and replacementsrnfor what the kids spill, devour,rnor quarrel over while the movie’srnrunning. Unlike artsy-grotesque films,rnmovies which appeal to families alsornenjoy profits from movie tie-in productsrn(try marketing a Hannibal Lecter HappyrnMeal). Among Hollywood’s oldest traditionsrnis modifying these classics torninsure good box office sales. A 1930’srnversion of Moby Dick, for example, hasrnAhab saved by the love of a goodrnwoman; and when discussing the castingrnof apostles for a film version of ThernLast Supper, Samuel Goldwyn is said tornhave exclaimed, “Why only twelve?—rnGo out and get thousandsl” In the past,rnmoviemakers modified stories to makernthem more entertaining; now, however,rnthey modify plot and characterizationrnfor political purposes.rnHollywood still does not quite grasprnwhat it is about literary classics that attractsrnthe general pubhc. The film industryrnregards these stories, whose appealrnextends across generations andrngeography, not as fully articulated worksrnof art which express a coherent visionrnbut as loose scenarios into which starsrncan be plugged and through which theyrncan articulate their fashionable politics.rnNowhere is this more apparent thanrnin Columbia Pictures’ recent reinventionrnof Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women.rnAlcott’s 1868 novel teaches a numberrnof important moral lessons, most ofrnwhich Columbia Pictures hurls overhandrnout the window. This is a pity, asrnLittle Women offers a feminist view ofrnlife—an unfashionable feminism, admittedly,rnone grounded in self-reliance,rnendurance, and commitment ratherrnthan in a politically correct scramble forrn”privileged victim” status. Their “selfesteem”rnfirmly intact, Alcott’s youngrnwomen are less apt to remind us of GloriarnSteinem than of Katharine Hepburn,rnwho, in 1933, starred in George Cukor’srnmore faithful interpretation of the novel.rnAlcott demonstrates that a woman canrnchoose the kind of life she wishes tornlead, provided she recognize and emendrnher character flaws and not compromisernher ideals.rnLittle Women was, after all, intendedrnto be edifying as well as entertaining:rnJohn Bunyan’s religious allegory Pilgrim’srnProgress provides the novel’srnstructural framework as well as thernsource for several chapters’ titles andrnthemes (e.g., “Playing Pilgrims,” “MegrnGoes to Vanity Fair”). Good minister’srndaughter that she was, Alcott createdrnfour recognizable types of young women,rneach of whom must overcome somernweakness in her character in order tornmove from childhood to maturity. Megrnis responsible but proud; Jo, talented butrnstubborn; Beth, sensitive but overly shy;rnand Amy, charming but vain. Each enduresrnmany tests of character, includingrnfinancial problems, conflicts with family,rnfriends, and lovers, and the illnesses andrndeaths of loved ones. Ultimately, thoughrneach retains her essential nature, thernfour “little women” become responsible,rnmature adults through self-discipline,rnhard work, and mutual devotion. Mostrnimportantly, Jo, the focal point of thernaction, refuses to marry until she findsrna man who takes her intellectual andrnartistic aspirations seriously.rnNow, this may seem a sturdy enoughrnMAY 1995/45rnrnrn