ANNE OF GREEN GABLES
Starring: Megan Follows, Colleen Dewhurst, Richard Farnsworth, Schuyler Grant, Jonathan Crombie, Patricia Hamilton
Original Airdate: 1985
12-year-old orphan Anne Shirley just wanted a family. Siblings Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert wanted to adopt a little boy who could help them with the chores around the farm. Thanks to a misunderstanding, the Cuthberts do not get a boy -- they get Anne. Anne is so thrilled at the idea of finally having a family that when she learns there's been a mistake, she's devastated.
Anne is a talkative, inquisitive, and bright girl, and she soon captures the hearts of both Marilla and especially Matthew.
Marilla agrees to keep Anne at Green Gables (their home) "on trial" to see how it all works out. During this time, Anne manages to involve herself in a few amusing mishaps and a faux pas or two, but there's something about her -- Marilla can never stay mad at her for long. In fact, Marilla muses, Anne reminds her of herself.
It isn't long before Anne is an official part of the family. She begins school, where she has a run-in with the adorable, teasing Gilbert Blythe. After he calls her "Carrots" (because she has red hair), Anne vows never to speak to Gilbert again. But this vow will only last as long as most of the movie, because you know those two are meant to be together.
Anne becomes acquainted with many folks in the town of Avonlea. There's Rachel Lynde, the old town gossip... Josie Pye, her mean-spirited classmate... and then there's Diana Barry, who becomes Anne's best friend. Before she came to Avonlea, Anne's best friend was her reflection in the window. She used to talk to it, even had a name for her reflection... that's how lonely she was. Now that she finally has a home, she has no need for "window friends."
Anne of Green Gables chronicles Anne's adventures from the time she is 12 until she is 16. She makes many (often hilarious) mistakes along the way, including accidentally getting Diana drunk (she doesn't realize she's serving Diana wine; she thinks it's raspberry cordial), falling off a roof (hey, she was dared to walk the ridgepole -- and you can't turn down a dare!), and accidentally dying her hair green. And then there's the time her boat springs a leak and everybody thinks she's died when they see the downed craft floating down river... sans a passenger.
Anne is one of the most endearing literary characters I've ever encountered, and this movie does the books by L.M. Montgomery justice. It is followed by two sequels: the first -- Anne of Green Gables - The Sequel (also titled Anne of Avonlea) details Anne's adventures teaching at a ladies' college... and falling in love. The second -- Anne of Green Gabels - The Continuing Story, a total departure from any of the Anne books, is an epic World War I adventure.
The time spent with Anne, Diana, Gilbert, and all the others is nothing but a treat. I've seen the first two Anne films numerous times, and I never get tired of watching the adventures of the people of Avonlea -- especially Anne Shirley.
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