Filmography

This L.M. Montgomery Filmography contains a detailed record of the numerous film and television adaptations of Montgomery’s novels. Her most popular character, Anne Shirley, has had numerous film and television incarnations, from a 1919 silent film that is believed to be lost to the recent prequel Anne of Green Gables: A New Beginning.

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 eighteen productions cover a variety of media, genres, and styles of visual narrative: the 1919 silent film version of Anne of Green Gables was soon redone into 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 became adapted into a 1972 BBC miniseries; although it is believed to be lost, its 1975 sequel, Anne of Avonlea, was recently released on DVD. A Japanese animated series, Akage no An, appeared in 1979 but has never been available to the English-language market. 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 Montgomery’s selected journals 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; a similar telefilm, Lantern Hill; and a 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 television series Emily of New Moon (1998-1999; 2002-2003) appears 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). Most recently, the franchise was continued with Anne of Green Gables: A New Beginning.

The present list is limited to dramatic and musical adaptations of Montgomery’s work for film and television only. It does not include the innumerable documentaries of Montgomery’s life, such as Terence Macartney-Filgate’s Lucy Maud Montgomery: The Road to Green Gables (CBC, 1975) and Barbara Doran’s Life and Times: The Many Mauds (Morag Productions/CBC, 1996), even though both documentaries include dramatic re-enactments. I have also limited the list of spin-off merchandise to novel adaptations, home videos, DVDs, and soundtracks available in Canada and the United States. My lists of suggestions for further reading are divided into three categories: responses by Montgomery herself (for the 1919 and 1934 films); scholarship from journals and scholarly books; selected articles from the popular press (newspapers, magazines, trade books, etc.); and selected websites. 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.

An earlier version of this filmography appeared as “L.M. Montgomery: An Annotated Filmography” in the journal Canadian Children’s Literature / Littérature canadienne pour la jeunesse 99 (Fall 2000): 43-73 and is reproduced with permission. This 2006 web edition was designed to make this information available to a wider audience and also to correct, update, and expand on the original edition.

This website is not affiliated with any of the companies that produced these films and television series nor the networks that aired them. It was created for research purposes and is intended as a public service for anyone interested in these film and television productions and who would find this information interesting or useful.

Acknowledgments

I am grateful to several friends, colleagues, and contacts who helped make this filmography as complete as possible. Both the original 2000 edition and this 2006 online revision have benefited from the input of numerous people. I thank Mary Henley Rubio (University of Guelph), who solicited the original filmography for Canadian Children’s Literature / Littérature canadienne pour la jeunesse in 2000 and who shared several of her materials with me. I also thank Patsy Kotsopoulos (Simon Fraser University) and Vikas Duggal (University of Ottawa) for several years of e-mail discussions, as well as Maryam Haddad (Emory University) for our friendship and for her generosity with sharing Disney Channel material not available in Canada.

The following contact people were also extremely helpful in 2000: Jim Bertin, CBC (Toronto); Norman Campbell (Toronto); Len Cervantes, Sullivan Entertainment (Toronto); Christy Danger (Texas); Colette Forest, Société Radio-Canada (Montreal); Renée Fournier and Kerry Fraser, Salter Street Films (Halifax); Tanya Fruehauf, City-TV (Toronto); Goldie Gardner, WNED (Buffalo, NY); Jim Gore, Tattersall Casablanca, post-production facility for Alliance Atlantis (Toronto); Roy Harris, Visual Resources, CBC (Toronto); Betsy Veal Jones (Texas); Yuka Kajihara, Osborne Special Collection of Early Children’s Books, Toronto Public Library; Katina Katadotis, CINAR Productions (Montreal); Bernard Katz, McLaughlin Library archives, University of Guelph (Retired); Gerald M. Lefebvre and Claire Pelland Lefebvre, Comme dirait l’autre (Trois-Rivières, Québec); Jeremy Lefebvre, Université de Montréal; Jennifer H. Litster, University of Edinburgh (Scotland); Jason Nolan, Division of the Environment, University of Toronto; Rory McLellan, University of Guelph; Joanna O’Driscoll and Ursula Perry, Channel 4 (London, UK); Monika Reif-Hüesler, University of Guelph; Kevin J. Rice, Confederation Centre Art Gallery Museum (Charlottetown); Becky Seifert (North Carolina); Ruth-Ellen Soles, CBC (Toronto); Charlie Trax, Universität Konstanz (Germany); Julie Trépanier, Université de Montréal; and the staff at the McLaughlin Library archives, University of Guelph.

For this 2006 expansion, I would also like to thank the following: Rachael Fowler, BBC (London); Faye Hammill (Cardiff University).