Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Anne of Green Gables & The Sequel

Anne of Green Gables (1985)

Mistreated in homes and not wanted at orphanages, Anne Shirley comforts and amuses herself with her excellent and dramatic imagination. She tries to imagine difficulties away and lives her own life, the way she wants it, in her head. When she finds herself in Avonlea, Prince Edward Island, on her way to a new home with a quiet old man named Matthew Cuthbert, she can hardly believe it is real. When they arrive at Green Gables, she learns from Matthew’s spinster sister Marilla that they were expecting a boy, and she must go back. Anne’s happiness melts to despair as the beautiful dream is shattered. Marilla’s hasty decision to send Anne back is hindered, and she decided to let Anne stay “on trial”. Anne finds the “bosom friend” she’s always dreamed of, a girl named Diana Barry. 
Rachel Lynde, a gossipy woman who speaks her critical mind and Gilbert Blythe, a boy at school who teases get the better of Anne’s short temper – not difficult to achieve, when her red hair is remarked upon. However, in spite of – or because of – her peculiar ways, with Matthew on Anne’s side the whole way, she finds her way into Marilla’s heart, and Green Gables becomes her permanent home. As few years pass, and Anne excels in her studies, has Gilbert as a constant but unwelcome admirer (and rival), and all along keeps finding herself in numerous mishaps and difficult situations (which, to the onlooker, can prove quite hilarious.)

Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel (1987)
(Also known as Anne of Avonlea, when sold by Disney.)Now 18, Anne Shirley is a teacher at the Avonlea school. She is an aspiring authoress, but discouraged first by a rejection letter from a magazine and then by the surprising (and horrifying) publication of her story for a baking powder company. Gilbert proposes, but convinced that she feels only friendship for him, she refuses – much to his distress. Her best friend Diana marries, and Mrs. Rachel Lynde, at the loss of her husband, comes to live at Green Gables. Anne’s old teacher and friend writes to her about a need for an English teacher at a private school for young ladies, and Anne accepts the position, leaving Avonlea. She arrives in Kingsport, where she finds an abundance of prejudiced Pringle families, who want desperately to see her lose her position and a sour, sarcastic spinsterly teacher who is always out of humor.
Anne finds a kindred spirit in one of her students, 13-year-old Emmeline Harris, who lives with her crabby old grandmother. Emmeline's dashing widower father Morgan takes an interest in Anne, and she, in turn, is charmed by his romantic ways - but it ends with her realizing that handsome and melancholic isn't everything. After a very interesting and eventful year, she is happy to return to Avonlea, which, to her, is the best place -with the dearest people- on earth.

I love both these movies, they have been favorites of mine for more than half my life. They are light-hearted and highly entertaining, comical and romantic. Here are a few things I particularly like:
The heroine. Anne Shirley must be one of the most interesting and amusing heroines in literature: there is no one else quite like her. She is bright and hilarious as a child; entertaining and elegant, and still very likeable as an adult. Her imagination, her love of reading, and her use of big words have always delighted me.
The music. Superb acting, authentic costuming and settings, and a good soundtrack make up a large part in the success of a ‘period drama’. The music has a large part in determining the feel of the movie and the mood of the story. I have always loved the soundtrack, especially the theme song. It is so beautiful and well-written; Hagood Hardy was a talented composer.
The scenery is sometimes breathtakingly beautiful.
The time era. These movies are set in the late 1800s. I love late Victorian fashions – the long, floor-sweeping elegant gowns, lacy shirts, poufy hairstyles – everything so delicate and feminine.
The characters. L. M. Montgomery is one of those authors who knows just how to create a variety of highly amusing characters.

Accuracy to the books
   Anne of Green Gables is based on the book (of the same name) by L. M. Montgomery. There are a number of differences – one being: in the book, Anne was 11 when she came to Green Gables, and in the movie she was 13. The Christmas ball was not in the book – if I remember correctly, it was some sort of concert (not just music, but other performing arts as well.) Many things were from the book, though, and it stayed faithful to the story and characters.
   Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel is based on Anne of Avonlea, Anne of the Island, and Anne of Windy Poplars by L. M. Montgomery. There is a lot of content in all three of those books, so making them into one movie took a lot of combining. In Anne of Avonlea, Anne is teaching at the Avonlea school. Her neighbor, a grumpy old man who eventually takes a liking to Anne was the one with the jersey cow, and the one who said her story had ‘high-faultin’ mumbo-jumbo’, etc. They took some of his quotes and gave them to Mrs Lynde and Gilbert Blythe.
    In Anne of the Island, Anne and a couple others from Avonlea are attending a university, where she meets the dashing Roy Gardner, where they must have gotten the idea for Morgan Harris. Roy is a younger man than Morgan, and of course does not have a daughter.
   In Anne of Windy Poplars, Anne is teaching at a high school, where there are a lot of families with the last name of ‘Pringle’. So that’s where Kingsport Ladies College came from. However, they got some ideas for teaching experience there from Anne of Avonlea – such as snakes in desks and firecrackers in woodstoves. I gather Windy Poplars must be the book where Mrs. Harris, Pauline, and Emmeline originated, but I have not read the whole book.
   While so many changes were made, they managed to keep the characters faithful to the books. I was rather annoyed, though, that they had Gilbert become engaged to Christine – in the book, nothing close to that happened.

I love the quotes from these movies, and there are so many! I will try to narrow them down.

(Anne 1)
Marilla: Well, what's your name?
Anne: Would you please call me Cordelia?
Marilla: Call you Cordelia?
Anne: Don't you think it's a pretty name?
Marilla: Is that your name?
Anne: Well, no, it's not exactly my name, though I would love to be called Cordelia.
“You can punish me any way you like. You can lock me up in a dark dungeon inhabited by snakes and toads, and feed me on bread and water. I won't complain. But I cannot ask Rachel Lynde to forgive me. –Anne
Anne: Don’t you ever imagine things different from what they are?
Marilla: (emphatically) No.
Anne: Oh, Marilla! How much you miss.
“Let us not have tears; partings are a natural part of life.” –Mr. Phillips
“My life is an open book, I see. Who told you that?” –Anne

Mrs. Allan: How are you, Anne?
Anne: Well in body, although considerably ruffled in spirit, thank you.
“I read in a book once that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but I was never able to believe it. A rose just couldn't smell as sweet if it was a thistle or a skunk-cabbage.” –Anne

(Anne 2)
Marilla: Now, you come downstairs and see if a good cup of tea and some of those plum puffs I made today don't hearten you.
Anne: (Tearfully) Plum puffs won't minister to a mind diseased in a world that has crumbled into pieces.
“I'm afraid to speak or move for fear that all this wonderful beauty will just vanish - like a broken silence.” –Anne
“I don’t eat my lunch with anyone. I’m not a raggle-taggle gypsy, take me in! Take me in!” –Mrs. Harris
“Good grief! You know how to try one’s patience, don’t you?” –Anne
Josie Pye: You wore that sweet old dress to Fanny Emerson's wedding last year, though, didn't you, Anne? You know what they say, "Twice a bridesmaid, never a bride".
Anne: That's three times, not twice, Josie. But then you're so fortunate; the only thing you've had to wear twice, is a sour expression.

Marilla: What is to be will be, Rachel.
Mrs. Lynde: And what isn’t to be sometimes happens.

Info, links, etc.
Anne: Megan Follows
Gilbert: Jonathan Crombie
Marilla: Colleen Dewhurst
Diana: Schuyler Grant

Length: Anne 1: 3 hrs. 19 min.
             Anne 2: 3 hrs. 50 min.
My grade: A+

~I cannot very well review both Anne 1&2 without even mentioning 3&4.
Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story (2000) was, in my opinion, a failure, and Sullivan Films should have stopped while they were ahead. Their big mistake: this movie was not based on the books. At all. The time period was inconsistent, too – it takes place during WWI, and in the books, Anne had a son who was old enough to fight; in this movie, she’s not even married at the beginning. For another thing, the characters themselves were not presented the same way at all – and it was not an improvement. ‘Twas quite sad to see Anne’s character so altered!
Anne of Green Gables: A New Beginning (2008) was a complete and utter disgrace. They should have stopped while they were behind. I don’t know much about it, but enough to know that it pretty much changes the whole of Anne’s story – and, of course, it was all completely made-up (it didn't even have characters from the books, except a younger Anne.)

The scripts, some soundtrack samples, and a bunch of other information can be found here: http://greengables.tripod.com/ (It’s also where I got some of the pictures.)


Jemimah C. said...

I watched Anne of Green Gables when I was really, really young so I can only remember a few parts, but vaguely. This is a great post about the movies! All I have to do it watch them again. Oh, I love your blog!

Jemimah C.

Melody said...

Hopefully you can watch thme soon! :)
I am very pleased that you love my blog. I'm putting your blog on my list to explore when I have more computer time...

OldFashionedCharm said...

What a lovely review Melody! You did an excellent job reviewing this lovely series and I echo your sentiments about movies 3&4. It was lovely reading your review while listening to the theme music!
These are two of my all time favorite films that I can watch over and over again (and often have)! I'm so glad you love them too!

~Miss Laurie
Old-Fashioned Charm

Miss Dashwood said...

I completely concur with your take on Anne3. Sullivan Films did such a good job with Anne1&2, why couldn't they have just let well enough alone???
I do think they should make a true-to-the-book adaptation of Rilla of Ingleside. Now that would be a good WWI movie. Plus, Megan Follows is now the right age to play Anne for that story, and so is Jonathan Crombie. They could have a miniature cast reunion! (New actors for the Blythe kids, of course.)
Also, I should add that Emmeline was completely made up for the movie and is not in the book at all--her character is ever so loosely based on a little girl named Elizabeth. :)

Melody said...

Miss Dashwood,
Thank you! I'm glad you agree.
I know, it was totally inaccurate. It wouldn't have been the right time era; it was her kids who were in WW1!
Did you hear about the 4th one? It's even worse. I haven't even attempted to watch that one from all the reports I've heard. I wonder if they asked Megan Follows to be the older Anne, and she didn't? I heard she didn't want to do Anne 3, because even she didn't like it! haha ;-)

I think my mom or sister told me something like that...yes, ever so loosely. haha :-)

Katya Pledger said...

Thank you for writing this wonderful review! :) I feel quite the same way. Movie 1, in my opinion, is completely accurate to the book. Movie 2 is pretty close to the books - I understand why they had to change so many things though as they were trying to fit books 2-4 I'm one film. On the whole though I absolutely love both movies.
Movie 3 is really interesting but has nothing to do with the real stories! I'm glad they made a continuation but I don't like how they altered everything so much! Especially Anne and Gil. In the books they would have been middle aged during WW1 and their characters are too different. I do like the story line though for that movie. It's quite interesting and has a lot of action. Quite different from the romantic and soft feel of the other 2 movies.
Every time I watch these movies I get the same emotions. They never get old at all!
Thank You so much :)

Would you rather hear the story...

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