Anne of Green Gables (lost American silent film adaptation of Canadian novel; 1919)
Anne of Green Gables is a 1919 American silent comedy drama film loosely based on the 1908 Canadian novel of the same name written by Lucy Maud Montgomery. The film was directed by William Desmond Taylor and starred Mary Miles Minter as Anne Shirley, Paul Kelly as Gilbert Blythe, Marcia Harris as Marilla Cuthbert, and Frederick Burton as Matthew Cuthbert.
The film was produced by and distributed to theatres by Realart Pictures on November 23rd, 1919, and the film is widely considered to be the first film adaptation of the novel, is now considered a lost film.
The film's plot is said to have been relatively faithful to novel, but with the setting changed from Prince Edward Island to New England, as it focuses on Anne getting accidentally adopted by Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert, hoping to adopt a boy to relieve their loneliness. When they realize their mistake, they decide to keep Anne and let her live with them on their farm called Green Gables. Around this time, after a series of "scrapes" depicting her early life, Anne meets Gilbert Blythe and begins their love story.
The film then cuts to Anne graduating from high school and she looks forward to attending college. However, before she could attend college, her adoptive father Matthew dies and her adoptive mother Marilla goes blind. Anne then resolves to going to her village school as a teacher to get money to help her adoptive mother, while her boyfriend Gilbert decides to go into medicine to find a cure for Marilla's blindness. After some initial bad luck, Anne finally succeeds in paying for a medical operation that cures Marilla's blindness and she decides to marry Gilbert shortly after.
Production and Availability
The film was shot between August to October 1919 in the town of Dedham, Massachusetts.
Lucy Maud Montgomery, the novel's original author, was said to have strongly disliked the final film, as she opposed the change of Anne being an American girl instead of a Canadian girl and the several liberties the film took with her novel.
As the film was released during a time where film preservation wasn't as widespread, no copies of the film are known to exist today. All that has surfaced from the film is still images and advertisements.
- IMDb's page on the film. Retrieved 28 Jan '20
- Silent Era's article on the film. Retrieved 27 Jan '20
- The official website of Anne of Green Gables's blog post on the impact of the novel, mentions the 1919 American silent film. Retrieved 28 Jan '20
- Archive.org's copy of Exhibitor's Herald's December 11th, 1919 edition, includes a review and a plot synopsis of the film at pages 78 and 79. Retrieved 27 Jan '20