Anne of Windy Poplars

Almost as Good as Anne of Green Gables

Delightful follow up to Anne of Green Gables (1934 version). The acting by all concerned was very effective, especially the luminous Anne Shirley as…Anne Shirley, and Joan Carroll as the child Betty. Marcia Mae Jones, usually seen as Shirley Temple’s nemesis is perfectly cast as Jen Pringle. Well worth searching for. One of the last “lost” movies on my want to see list. It is not available on DVD and even the Anne Shirley marathon of TCM did not show it. I found it by means of a link which downloaded it to my computer. You can find it as a link on You Tube posted by an angel named Susannah.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

August 29, 2020

Anne of Green Gables

2016 PBS Production

Dreadful.

This version of Anne of Green Gables was absolutely dire. Where do I begin? Right off the bat, when I knew I was doomed to disappointment, Martin Sheen playing the soulful shy Matthew as if he was some kind of slapstick comic. Yakitty Yakkity Yak to his horse, and then falling face first into a mud puddle. SMH. Too bad, because the scene on the train was actually quite promising. I thought Martin Sheen was a good actor and was willing to give him a chance, but this was disgraceful. It was probably the direction.

The young actress who played Anne, delivered her lines. Period. Whenever a line came close to echoing a line Megan Follows said, the contrast would have been laughable if it weren’t so inept. One of the pivotal comic scenes, (Anne’s “apology” to Rachel after her rude behavior) took place in a wide shot and without audible dialogue. It was probably a mercy. She wasn’t helped by the freckles put on with a pencil that kept appearing and disappearing, and that dye job on her hair! When she got into the sunlight, it looked like something a cheap tart would do to her hair. Again, probably the direction rather than the young actresses fault.

Any production has a tough row to hoe to even come close to the perfection that was The Sullivan Production. That whole cast was perfection itself and truly inhabited their roles. I won’t talk about the lack of depth. The whole Minnie May episode, I swear, clocked in at under a minute and that included the reconciliation scene. And “Matthew” continually on the verge of a heart attack. I guess stay tuned for the next installment. The Actor who played Gilbert looked younger than Anne and came across as a bratty little brother. The actress who played Marilla actually was not bad, though not the same character that Colleen Dewhurst interpreted. And Rachel was also excellent. The little actress who played Diana was a bright spot, as little screen time as she had. Again, no depth. And miscasting. She should have played Anne. There will probably be a second installment to this as many of the key scenes were left out entirely (no Lily Maid of Astalot. No Miss Stacy.) If they recast an older Anne and Gilbert, and kill Matthew off quickly, it might have a chance to be half-way decent.

There is hope. The early 1930’s version with Dawn O’Day (Anne Shirley), Tom Brown, and Helen Westley was a wonder and showed that you could convey the charm of this story in 78 minutes flat, and even manage to include a satisfying romance between Anne and Gilbert. **2 stars out of 10**

November 25, 2016

Anne of Green Gables

by L.M. Montgomery

It was fine. I listened to it on audio, and had major problems with all three of the narrators I used. (Had to move to Libravox, once my library copy expired. Sorry to say, but I loved the Kevin Sullivan film version better. I am going to listen to Anne of the Island next as I remember I liked it even more than Green Gables the first time. If I go back to Anne of Avonlea, it will be on Kindle. **3 out of 5 stars**

Rating: 3 out of 5.

January 25, 2016

Kilmenny of the Orchard

by L.M. Montgomery

Hoo boy. I agree with other reviewers that this one came across as something Anne Shirley would have written when she was 11 years old. Or perhaps not unlike Jo March’s precious story that Amy threw in the fire. Some have speculated that this was probably L.M. Montgomery’s first attempt at prose as a young teen. I can well believe it.

I’m not going to re-iterate the unconscious bigotry towards foreigners, the whiffs of pedophilia, the emphasis on a girl’s beauty, purity, and sweetness as the source of mature love, etc. etc. which jars a reader in 2018. It was another time. I’ll just let the book speak for itself.

Her face was oval, marked in every cameo-like line and feature with that expression of absolute, flawless purity, found in the angels and Madonnas of old paintings, a purity that held in it no faintest strain of earthliness…Her eyes were of such blue as Eric had never seen before, the tint of the sea in the still, calm light that follows after a fine sunset; they were as luminous as the stars that came out…in the afterglow, and were fringed about with long, soot-black lashes…and so on and so forth.

Eh. Somehow I just cant relate to this girl. She can’t even have short eyelashes?

Poor Eric watches her lithe graceful motions with delight; every movement seemed poetry itself. She looked like a very incarnation of Spring—as if all the shimmer of young leaves and glow of young mornings and evanescent sweetness of young blossoms in a thousand springs had been embodied in her.

Clearly, He doesn’t stand a chance. It’s fortunate for him that Kilmenny is “divinely beautiful” to borrow a phrase from the beloved Anne of Greengables, because Eric “could never love an ugly girl.” Yes, that came right out of his mouth. One doesn’t wonder for a second that if Kilmenny’s “sad defect” were, say, crossed eyes or, a spotty complexion he would give her the time of day. Even if she could play the violin as if it sounded like “the laughter of daisies.”

The final conflict in the story is our Eric’s father’s understandable skepticism over the low-born illegitimate, isolated girl’s suitability as a life partner for his beloved son. Even if she can now speak. She’s never left her property even to go to church.
I hope your young lady hasn’t got her aunt’s mouth.” “Kilmeny’s mouth is like a love-song made incarnate in sweet flesh,” said Eric enthusiastically. “Humph!” said Mr. Marshall. Indeed, sir!
Unfortunately, Mr. Marshall buckles upon his first look at her angelic visage.

Kilmeny held out her hand with a shyly murmured greeting. Mr. Marshall took it and held it in his, looking so steadily and piercingly into her face that even her frank gaze wavered before the intensity of his keen old eyes. Then he drew her to him and kissed her gravely and gently on her white forehead. “My dear,” he said, “I am glad and proud that you have consented to be my son’s wife—and my very dear and honoured daughter.”

3 more lines concerning the glorious vista of Eric’s future and then THE END.

If I were a young aspiring writer, I would be very inspired reading this little novella. To think that the writer of this sentimental flowery prose would go on to craft so many beloved characters and novels is a revelation. As such, 2 stars. It is written with such innocence and sincerity that I can’t be too mean. **2 stars out of 5**

June 14, 2018

The Blue Castle

L. M. Montgomery

The Best Book You’ve Never Heard of


I was in the out-of-print and collectible book business for 20 years. I have handled every kind of old forgotten favorite from Gene Stratten Porter, Patricia Veryan, E.d.E.N. Southworth, boys series, girls series, ad infinitem. I can’t believe I had never heard of this book until a week ago. And I have been an L.M. Montgomery devotee’. Had seen the title but never paid it any attention. I am grateful to know that there are still treasures out there that still go undiscovered. This is a beautiful fairy tale which apparently provided the “inspiration” for Colleen McCullough’s The Ladies of Missalonghi
**this review was written in 2011**