Monday, January 28, 2013

January Movies

I watched three "Anne" movies. The first one I watched was Anne of Green Gables (1934) starring Anne Shirley and Tom Brown. This adaption is something. I would say it stays true to the book for the first ten or fifteen minutes, but that wouldn't exactly be true for instead of Rachel Lynde it is Rachel Barry. Yes, Mrs. Lynde has become Diana's mother for this adaptation! Anne does hit Gilbert over the head with a slate, but, their "feud" is considerably shortened. It is not Anne's stubbornness nor lack of interest in boys--any boy--that keeps this predestined couple apart. In this adaptation, Gilbert and Anne start seeing each other secretly; they are madly in love with one another. It is Marilla and a decades-old feud with the Blythe family that keeps these two from being able to see each other openly. There are so many ways that this is not like the book that I couldn't begin to remember them all. The second movie I watched was the Anne I grew up with, the 1985 adaptation starring Megan Follows and Jonathan Crombie. I love, love, love this movie. I love it so much that I hardly notice when it parts ways with the book. I love Marilla and Matthew. I love Anne and Diana. And most of all I love Gilbert! I also LOVE the music. The third movie I saw was Anne of Avonlea (1975) starring Kim Braden and Christopher Blake. This adaptation covers Anne of Avonlea and Anne of the Island. While it doesn't precisely follow the two novels in exact detail, it gets it right for the most part. It includes Mr. Harrison, and his parrot, Ginger; Davy and Dora, the twins Marilla adopts; Paul Irving, Stephen Irving, and Miss Lavender; Philippa Gordon and her other roommates from Patty's Place, and Anne's first official boyfriend, Roy Gardner. For anyone who loves the books, this one is a treat! I wish other sequels matched this one.

I also watched Pollyanna (2003) starring Georgina Terry, Amanda Burton, Aden Gillett, and Kenneth Cranham. I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this adaptation. I have always found the Disney movie disappointing and frustrating. But this one, this was a Pollyanna I could LOVE because it was so true, so faithful to the book. True, they've set the book in England and not the United States, but that's a little thing. The characters are just right, the story is done just right. It's a joy to watch this movie!!! 

Heidi (1993) was almost a complete failure. There was one scene that I think they got right: when Heidi runs away to the church tower and ends up bringing home a kitten. The rest of the movie? Well, just assume it's not following the book. The big problem isn't necessarily in the plot details but in the characterization. (Though some of the changes are just WRONG*) The movie barely got any of the characters right. I just read the book which makes the contrast that much harsher. For a movie that barely gets it right, it is very long!

I did enjoy The Secret Garden (1949) starring Margaret O'Brien. Mary Lennox is quite a character! And I always enjoy watching adaptations of this one. Do you have a favorite adaptation? 

*The grandmother does NOT die in the book!!! And more importantly Heidi does NOT run away after a big fight with Klara and fall off a cliff!!!

In TV (on DVD) I watched seventeen episodes from the second season of Perry Mason. I also watched the first season of Babylon 5!

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


QNPoohBear 2:51 PM  

I grew up watching Anne of Green Gables every day since we first recorded it on PBS. I have the 5 disc DVD set of the first three Kevin Sullivan movies. (I refuse to acknowledge the 4th prequel.) This movie (mini series actually) captured my heart and imagination as much as the Little House series had done when I was younger. For years I walked around pretending to be Anne. Meagan Follows is superb as Anne. No one else can ever play that part and come close to capturing the true spirit of Anne. Everyone was great really... especially Richard Farnsworth as the adoring Matthew. I recently saw the other two versions you reviewed. The 1970s Anne of Avonlea was actually pretty good, aside from the horrible over acting. It stuck to the books more than Kevin Sullivan's version. The 1930s movie was good for about a half hour and then I kept yelling "WHAT? WHAT?" My mom left to take a phone call and came back and wondered where we were in the story and I said I didn't know because this wasn't Anne! Lucy Maud Montgomery actually liked it as an amusing story but it wasn't HER story.

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I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

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