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L.M. Montgomery’s novels have been adapted for screen numerous times since their publication a century ago. Her most popular character, Anne Shirley, has had numerous screen incarnations, from a 1919 silent film that is believed to be lost to the recent telefilm L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables (2016) and the television series Anne with an “E” (2017–2019), and her later novels formed the basis for two highly popular long-form television series.

Although different in tone and approach, these adaptations tend to recentre the story on Anne’s romantic relationship with Gilbert Blythe. In her novels, Montgomery chooses to focus on the emotional and artistic development of her female characters and to satirize conventions of romance; as a result, many of her tacked-on romantic dénouements appear underdeveloped and contrived. In adapting these complex texts to the screen, the various writers, producers, and directors tend to eliminate this satire by emphasizing romance in ways Montgomery’s work avoids, and do so at the expensive of her subversive messages. For audiences who have not necessarily read Montgomery, these adaptations reinscribe Montgomery as a writer of conventional romance, minimizing her work as a social satirist.

These productions cover a variety of media, genres, and styles of visual narrative: the 1919 silent film version of Anne of Green Gables was soon remade as a 1934 “talkie” that starred an actress who changed her stage name to Anne Shirley for the occasion; a sequel, Anne of Windy Poplars, followed in 1940. Fifteen years later, Anne of Green Gables was adapted again for live television, two of which acted as precursors for the 1965 stage musical that remains popular today, first in 1956 and again in 1958; as well, in 1957, a French-language non-musical version, Anne de Green Gables, appeared on Société Radio-Canada. Fifteen years after that, Anne of Green Gables was adapted into a 1972 BBC miniseries; although it is believed to be lost, its 1975 sequel, Anne of Avonlea, has been released on DVD. Terence Macartney-Filgate’s CBC documentary Lucy Maud Montgomery: The Road to Green Gables (1975) included some dramatic reenactments of Montgomery’s own life and of an early chapter in Anne of Green Gables. A Japanese animated series, Akage no An, appeared in 1979 and has been dubbed into several languages. Finally, in 1984, the short film I Know a Secret aired on CBC’s anthology series Sons and Daughters.

Coinciding with the release of the first volume of The Selected Journals of L.M. Montgomery in late 1985, Sullivan Entertainment’s television miniseries Anne of Green Gables became a critically acclaimed and popular hit all around the world. Its success prompted a 1987 sequel; the telefilm Lantern Hill; and the long-running spin-off series Road to Avonlea, which aired from 1990 to 1996. When Road to Avonlea ended, Sullivan Entertainment announced their intention to move on to new projects, but the initial success of the Salter Street Films/CINAR Productions television series Emily of New Moon (1998–1999; 2002–2003) appeared to coincide with their subsequent reconsideration: Happy Christmas, Miss King (1998), a follow-up to Road to Avonlea (and later rereleased as An Avonlea Christmas), was followed by Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story (2000) as well as Anne of Green Gables: The Animated Series (2000-2001) and its prequel, Anne: Journey to Green Gables (2005). Sullivan Entertainment later revisited its Anne of Green Gables franchise with Anne of Green Gables: A New Beginning (2008), which alternated between the fifty-something Anne writing a play in 1945 and the child Anne prior to her arrival at Green Gables. Most recently, Toronto’s Breakthrough Entertainment teamed up with the heirs of L.M. Montgomery on a new telefilm, L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, which aired on YTV in Canada in February 2016 and which was followed by two sequels, L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables: The Good Stars (2017) and L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables: Fire and Dew (2017). The long-form television series Anne with an “E” (2017–2019), unrelated to Breakthrough Entertainment’s three movies, aired on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation between March 2017 and November 2019 and have been available to stream worldwide on Netflix.

This section of the website is limited to dramatic and musical adaptations of Montgomery’s work for film and television. Throughout this section of the website, an asterisk (*) indicates that I have either viewed the film or television series or that I have personally examined the merchandise in question. Because most videocassettes and DVDs do not include a release date, I offer my own date in brackets [1996] only if I am sure of it; otherwise, I use the abbreviation n.d.

Filmography

27 items, 1919–2019

Anne with an “E.” 27 episodes. Created by Moira Walley-Beckett. Executive producers: Moira Walley-Beckett and Miranda de Pencier. Toronto: Northwood Entertainment, 2017–2019.

L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables: Fire and Dew. Written by Susan Coyne. Directed by John Kent Harrison. Toronto: Breakthrough Entertainment, 2017.

L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables: The Good Stars. Written and directed by John Kent Harrison. Toronto: Breakthrough Entertainment, 2017.

L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables. Written by Susan Coyne. Directed by John Kent Harrison. Toronto: Breakthrough Entertainment, 2016.

Anne of Green Gables: A New Beginning. Written and directed by Kevin Sullivan. Toronto: Sullivan Entertainment, 2008.

Anne: Journey to Green Gables. Written by Kevin Sullivan and Michael MacLennan. Directed by Kevin Sullivan. Sullivan Animation, 2005.

Anne of Green Gables: The Animated Series. 26 episodes. Executive producers: Trudy Grant and Kevin Sullivan. Sullivan Animation, 2000–2001.

Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story. Written by Kevin Sullivan and Laurie Pearson. Directed by Stefan Scaini. Toronto: Sullivan Entertainment, 2000.

Happy Christmas, Miss King [An Avonlea Christmas]. Written by Raymond Storey. Directed by Stefan Scaini. Toronto: Sullivan Entertainment, 1998.

Emily of New Moon. 46 episodes. Developed by Marlene Matthews. Executive producers: Micheline Charest, Michael Donovan, and Ronald Weinberg. Halifax: Salter Street Films; Montreal: CINAR Productions, 1998–1999, 2002–2003.

Life and Times: The Many Mauds. Directed by Barbara Doran. Morag Productions, 1996.

Road to Avonlea [Avonlea]. 91 episodes. Developed by Fiona McHugh. Executive producers: Kevin Sullivan and Trudy Grant. Toronto: Sullivan Entertainment, 1990–1996.

Lantern Hill. Written by Fiona McHugh and Kevin Sullivan. Directed by Kevin Sullivan. Toronto: Sullivan Films, 1990.

Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel. Written and directed by Kevin Sullivan. Toronto: Sullivan Films, 1987.

Anne of Green Gables. Screen adaptation by Kevin Sullivan and Joe Wiesenfeld. Directed by Kevin Sullivan. Toronto: Sullivan Films, 1985.

I Know a Secret. Written by Amy Jo Cooper. Directed by Bruce Pittman. Toronto: Atlantis Films, 1984.

Akage no An. 50 episodes. Written by Shigeki Chiba, Aiko Isomura, Isao Takahata, Takekuni Takano, Shigehisa Araki, and Seijiro Kamiyama. Directed by Isao Takahata. Tokyo: Nippon Animation, 1979.

Lucy Maud Montgomery: The Road to Green Gables. Written by Barbara Moon. Directed by Terence Macartney-Filgate. Toronto: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, 1975.

Anne of Avonlea. 6 episodes. Dramatized by Elaine Morgan. Directed by Joan Craft. London: BBC Television, 1975.

Anne of Green Gables. 5 episodes. Dramatized by Julia Jones. Directed by Joan Craft. London: BBC Television, 1972.

Anne of Green Gables. Adaptation by Donald Harron. Lyrics by Donald Harron, James Costigan, and Elaine Lieterman. Music by Norman Campbell. Toronto: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, 1958.

Anne de Green Gables. Translated and adapted by Jean Hamelin. Directed by Jacques Gauthier. Montreal: Radio-Canada, 1957.

Anne of Green Gables. 6 episodes. Written and produced by Pamela Brown. BBC Television, 1952.

Anne of Green Gables. Book and lyrics by Donald Harron and James Costigan. Music and additional lyrics by Norman Campbell. Toronto: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, 1956.

Anne of Windy Poplars. Written by Michael Kanin and Jerry Cady. Directed by Jack Hively. RKO Radio Pictures, 1940.

Anne of Green Gables. Screenplay by Sam Mintz. Directed by George Nicholls, Jr. RKO Radio Picture, 1934.

Anne of Green Gables. Screenplay by Frances Marion. Directed by William Desmond Taylor. Realart Pictures Corporation, 1919.