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Anne of Avonlea
Anne of Avonlea
Actors: Kim Braden, Barbara Hamilton, Madge Ryan, Christopher Blake, Jan Francis
Director: Joan Craft
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Kids & Family, Television
NR     2006     5hr 12min

Based on L.M. Montgomery?s classic novels Anne of Avonlea and Anne of the Island, this acclaimed BBC mini-series continues the story of Anne Shirley (Kim Braden), the heroine of Anne of Green Gables as she begins her job a...  more »

     

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Movie Details

Actors: Kim Braden, Barbara Hamilton, Madge Ryan, Christopher Blake, Jan Francis
Director: Joan Craft
Creators: John McRae, Elaine Morgan, Lucy Maud Montgomery
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Kids & Family, Television
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Family Films, Television
Studio: KOCH VISION
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 09/05/2006
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 5hr 12min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 16
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

The 1975 BBC adapation of L.M. Montgomery's "Anne of Avonlea
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 09/07/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

""Anne of Avonlea" is a 6-part BBC mini-series from 1975 that adapts both "Anne of Avonlea" and "Anne of the Island," the second and third books by Lucy Maud Montgomery in her "Anne of Green Gables" series. The first book had been adapted in a 5-part BBC serial in 1972, and back from that production are Kim Braden as Anne Shirley, Barbara Hamilton as Marilla Cuthbert, Jan Francis as Diana Barry, and Christopher Blake as Gilbert Blythe, along with director Joan Craft, who did "Jane Eyre" and "David Copperfield" in between the two "Anne" productions. Know going in that this is very much a BBC style production, which means it very much has the feel of an elegant soap opera, and that the attempts by the British case to sound Canadian (at least at times) seems rather odd.

The first four episodes adapt the "Anne of Avonlea" novel itself, which follows Anne from age 16 to 18 during the two years that she teaches at the Avonlea School, where she has problems with Anthony Pye. Fortunately she has at least one sharp student with young Paul Irving (Keith Steven) from the United States. Beyond that Anne is involved with Diana, Gilbert, Charlie Sloan (Peter Settelen), Fred Wright (Martin Neil), and their other former schoolmates with the newly formed Avonlea Village Improvement Society. Meanwhile, Marilla has adopted the twins Davy (Nicholas Lyndhurst) and Dora Keith (Annabelle Lanyon) when their mother dies. Then there is the trouble with Daisy and Anne's neighbor Mr. Harrison (David Garfield) and the eccentric Miss Lavender Lewis (Kathleen Byron) and her maid Charlotte IV (Claire Lewis). Needless to say, Rachel Lynde (Madge Ryan) is hovering around giving her advice at each and every opportunity.

The final two episodes condense "Anne of the Island" and find Anne attending Redmond College when Rachel moves in with Marilla after Thomas Lynde dies. Anne and her roommates Philippa Gordon (Sabina Franklyn) and Priscilla (Sandy Dickinson), move out of a strict boarding house and into Patty's Place. Anne turns down a pair of proposals, one from Gilbert and the next from a somewhat surprising source, before she starts seeing Roy Gardiner (Anthony Forrest), who seems to be everything Anne has dreamt of in a beau. But then his mother (Betty McDowall) visits Green Gables and tries to find out about Anne's parents, which is where the adaptation written by Elaine Morgan wrongly starts tinkering with the resolution of the story, where "Love Takes Up the Glass of Time."

When Anne goes to visit the place where she is born, she asks Gilbert to accompany her, and later when she opens her mouth to say her fateful "yes" to the marriage proposal she has been dreaming of, it is the flowers sent her by Gilbert that take her out of the moment. Then when she arrives back at Green Gables and learns that Gilbert is dying, Marilla talks her into going over in the middle of the night to see Gilbert and the happy ending comes about pretty quickly. This is something of a disappointment because I always loved the way Montgomery had Anne respond to Gilbert's final proposal: "Still Anne could not speak. But she lifted her eyes, shining with all the love-rapture of countless generations, and looked into his for a moment. He wanted no other answer." That is pretty romantic, and the final line that Morgan comes up with for Anne totally pales compared to when Anne tells Gilbert, "I don't want sunbursts and marble halls. I just want YOU."

Both the old black & white movie with Anne Shirley (nee Dawn O'Day) and the Kevin Sullivan mini-series version of "Anne of Avonlea" with Megan Follows focused more on what ended up being the fourth novel in the series, "Anne of Windy Poplars," where she goes off to teach at a private school for young ladies. So the relative fidelity to the two books is certainly appreciated. I especially liked the inclusion of what happened with Ruby Gillis (Kim Hardy), but the irony of the love between Phil Gordon and Jonas Blake (David Troughton) is sketched out rather than developed. This is not to say that Morgan does not come up with some decent new moments; she uses the character of Mrs. Blythe (Hazel Bainbridge) to nice advantage. As for the performances, I am in the Megan Follows IS Anne camp, and Braden keeps striking me as focusing on Anne's flightiness at the expense of her intelligence and kindness. Hamilton and Ryan as Marilla and Rachel take turns stealing scenes from the young folks, but there is pretty much a generational gap on acting talent here. Anne's fans will want to check this out, but relatively few will find this production to be their favorite L.M. Montgomery adaptation."
RUN don't walk away from this adaptation!
Martin Miller | Austin, Texas | 10/01/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)

"I have to be honest. I am a big fan of the Sullivan Anne of Green Gable's films. To be honest, this film doesn't even hold a candle to those films. I purchased this DVD looking for something different, and boy did I get it, but not in a good way.

The film is shot in what looked to be almost a play format. I felt like I was watching a horrible high school play. The acting was dry and not convincing and isn't even in the minor leagues compared to the Sullivan Films. The film moves at a snail like pace. The thing about the books is, that there are some very dull points that don't exactly work in movie form. I felt myself falling asleep a little more and more the longer the film went on. Kevin Sullivan realized that the books could be a bit dull so for his adaptation of Anne of Avonlea (AKA Anne of Green Gables: The Sequal) he spliced together 3 books instead of two, taking the highlights from the 3 to make one great film.

There are, believe it or not, a couple of good things about this movie. For one, Barbra Hamilton plays Marilla Cubthbert and does a pretty neat job. She again does not hold a candle to Colleen Dewhurst, but she puts her own spin on it. U may remember Hamilton from Road to Avonlea. She played the over opinionated Eulalie Bugle who seemed to chime in on everything going on in the town. It was neat to see her in a different light.

The other good thing is that its true to the books. So if your assigned to read the books, you could probably pass a test just by watching the movie. This like I said earlier is a double edged sword because it makes for a very LONG and boring film.

There are just not a lot of good things I can say about this movie. Its boring, drawn out, and doesn't hold a candle to the Sullivan films. I know some of you are going to find out for yourself and I reccomend that you do. Just because I don't like it, doesn't mean you won't. Some people actually do. But if you do hate it, remember.....Told ya so!"
Anne of Avonlea
R. Hutchinson | SF, CA | 02/12/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)

"I loved the stories of Lucy M. Montgomery and was hoping for more from the BBC. I was emotionally disappointed in this version. Kim Braden was an adorable Anne but the screen play lacked emotion and substance where it was important. Anne and Gilbert scenes were short and flipant. You would never have known Gilbert and Anne had any feelings for each other by the scenes. I did like the inclusions of the real story line from Ms. Montgomerys books. They were true to the real story and that pleased me. The whole college years, the group gatherings of all the young people etc made the books come to life but then the rest of the story left you feeling unsatisfied and empty. The ending was the worst. I prefered the longer scene in the book and the other ending in the Megan Fallows version. It said more in silence than any writer could say."
Good Visual for the book
A. Ratledge | NC, USA | 01/12/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"The Anne of Green Gables series is one I have read and re-read over and again since I was a small child. While this adaptation lacked in film quality, the content was very much like the book. The only major set back was that it lacked the passion of a young, imaginative girl that the books portrayed, as well as the Megan Follows version. While the later version does not follow the book as well, it makes up for that lack in the emotional grasp it has over you when watching. For me, this made all the difference in the world, and while I think that this is an overall good movie, I much prefer the Megan Follows version. This version tells the story, but doesn't allow the audience to really become part of the story or feel it as you do in the other version."