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Anne of Green Gables (1919)

Anne of Green Gables was a silent feature film that was produced by Realart Pictures Corporation and released on 23 November 1919.


Reception and Aftermath
Cast and Crew
Further Reading


Directed by William Desmond Taylor from a screenplay by Frances Marion, this first feature film adaptation of Anne of Green Gables starred Mary Miles Minter as Anne and was adapted from four books by Montgomery. Although it was exceptionally popular when it was released, it was soon withdrawn from circulation, and no copies of this film are known to have survived.

Six months after Montgomery sold all rights to her first seven books to publisher L.C. Page and Company for USD$18,000, Page turned around and sold the silent film rights to Anne of Green Gables and its first three sequels (Anne of Avonlea, Chronicles of Avonlea, and Anne of the Island) to the Realart Pictures Corporation of Hollywood for USD$40,000; consequently, Montgomery had no creative input in the film and received no payment.

In her 1935 article “Is This My Anne,” Montgomery makes reference to a scene in the silent film with “Anne at the door of her school, a shotgun in hand, standing off a crowd of infuriated villagers who were bent on mobbing her because she had whipped one of her pupils!” (18). In addition, the film’s inclusion of skunks and an American flag on the schoolhouse irritated her to no end: “I could have shrieked with rage over the latter. Such crass, blatant Yankeeism!” (Montgomery, 22 February 1920, in Selected Journals, 2: 373). To her correspondent Ephraim Weber, she concluded: “So much of my story was left out and so much stuff put in that I really didn’t feel that it was mine at all” (Montgomery to Weber, 29 September 1920, in After Green Gables, 82–83).

Reception and Aftermath

In 1929, Montgomery recorded in her journals that she had come across a book entitled Twelve Unsolved Murders and discovered the scandal that had caused the silent film to fade out of existence. In 1922, director Taylor was shot to death, and although Minter was never a suspect in the crime, the discovery of a packet of love letters from her to Taylor damned her in the eyes of the American public (Montgomery, 13 October 1929, in Selected Journals, 4: 20; see also Montgomery to Weber, 30 June 1930, in After Green Gables, 175). Despite a long list of suspects and a tremendous amount of publicity, no one was ever charged with the crime. In 2000, the Taylor murder ranked ninth in E! Online’s list of the twentieth century’s greatest scandals.

No known copy of the film has survived, but a “story of the photoplay” by Arabella Boone, first published in the January 1920 issue of Photoplay Magazine, appears in volume 1 of The L.M. Montgomery Reader.

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Cast and Crew

Company Credits
A Realart Picture

Release Date
23 November 1919

Six reels

Mary Miles Minter as Anne Shirley, Paul Kelly as Gilbert Blythe, Marcia Harris as Marilla Cuthbert, Frederick Burton as Matthew Cuthbert, F.T. Chailee as Abednego Pie, Leila Romer as Mrs. Pie, Lincoln Stedman as Jumbo Pie, Hazel Sexton as Josie Pie, Russell Hewitt as Anthony Pie, Albert Hackett as Robert, Laurie Lovelle as Diana Barry, Carolyn Lee as Mrs. Barry, and Jack B. Hollis as Reverend Figtree.

Screenplay by Frances Marion. Directed by William Desmond Taylor.


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Further Reading

Boone, Arabella. “Anne of Green Gables.” Photoplay Magazine (Chicago), January 1920, 52–55, 156.

Also, as “Epilogue: Anne of Green Gables—The Story of the Photoplay,” in The L.M. Montgomery Reader, 1: 411–20.

Hammill, Faye. “‘A New and Exceedingly Brilliant Star’: L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables, and Mary Miles Minter.” Modern Language Review 101, no. 3 (July 2006): 652–70.

Karr, Clarence. Authors and Audiences: Popular Canadian Fiction in the Early Twentieth Century. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2000. [See pp. 173–74]

Lefebvre, Benjamin. “Stand by Your Man: Adapting L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables.” In “Literatures, Cinemas, Cultures,” edited by Peter Dickinson. Special issue, Essays on Canadian Writing 76 (Spring 2002): 149–69.

—. “What’s in a Name? Towards a Theory of the Anne Brand.” In Anne’s World: A New Century of Anne of Green Gables, edited by Irene Gammel and Benjamin Lefebvre, 192–211. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2010.

Montgomery, L.M. After Green Gables: L.M. Montgomery’s Letters to Ephraim Weber, 1916–1941. Edited by Hildi Froese Tiessen and Paul Gerard Tiessen. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2006. [See pp. 82–83, 175]

—. “Is This My Anne.” The Chatelaine (Toronto), January 1935, 18, 22.

Also, in abridged form, in The Lucy Maud Montgomery Album, compiled by Kevin McCabe, edited by Alexandra Heilbron, 333–35. Toronto: Fitzhenry and Whiteside, 1999.

Also in The L.M. Montgomery Reader, 1: 273–82.

—. The Selected Journals of L.M. Montgomery, Volume 2: 1910–1921. Edited by Mary Rubio and Elizabeth Waterston. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1987. [See pp. 286, 358, 373]

—. The Selected Journals of L.M. Montgomery, Volume 4: 1929–1935. Edited by Mary Rubio and Elizabeth Waterston. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1998. [See p. 20]

New York Times. Review of Anne of Green Gables, directed by William Desmond Taylor. 22 December 1919, 18.

“Vintage Anne of Green Gables Movies.” The Avonlea Traditions Chronicle 1, no. 4 (Summer 1992): 1–5.

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Published on 11 August 2007; last updated on 24 March 2024. Please contact the site owner with additions, corrections, questions, and suggestions.