Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story
starring Megan Follows, Jonathan Crombie, Schuyler Grant and Patricia Hamilton
written by Kevin Sullivan and Laurier Pearson
directed by Stefan Scaini
As soon as I knew that it existed, I looked forward to seeing this newest installment of the Anne of Green Gables story on video. It follows about 15 years after the last of two previous feature-length movies were made and released: Anne of Green Gables - based on the 1908 book of the same title - and Anne of Avonlea - based on three more of the “Anne” books squeezed together into one film. (There are about eight books in total that make up the Anne of Green Gables series. They follow her through to middle age, when she has a large family wither childhood rival, giblet Blythe, and she and Gilbert still live in Canada’s eastern Prince Edward IslandProvince as a country doctor-and-wife.)
I enjoyed the film, but I do have a complaint. My main complaint about The Continuing Story is that I has nothing at all to do with any of the books by Lucy Maud Montgomery, and therefore is not authentic. It is completely new fiction. That offends Anne purists, I suppose. But the story itself is okay.
It is World War One (1914-1918). Gilbert enlists as a doctor with the Canadian Army and ships out to France. Anne’s letters to her husband are returned to her with no notification of death, so she decides to go to France (during the middle of the war) as a member of the Red Cross, and search for him on the battlefield itself.
It could have been a much better drama than it was, I think. But it was made as a television movie, not as a big screen movie, and that inevitably shapes the way that it looks and the character of the story it tells. Still, I was interested because I liked to see the stars Megan Follows (Anne) and Jonathan Crombie (Gilbert) as much older people than how I remembered them from the first two films that were made in the 1980s. Frankly, they did not age well. Or, rather, they aged beyond the scope of my magination.
TheCanadaof 1914 was so much different from the Canada of today that it is inconceivable how people could have gleefully gone off to war, willingly walking into slaughter and believing all the Empire and Colony patriotic patois. Although Canada was an independent country at the time it was still very British, and the colonial mentality was much more alive than it is today. (Today it is dead. Modern Canadians would not consider voluntarily going to war unless you hold a donut in front of them. Preferably a really sweet one, with jam or jelly on the inside and powdered sugar on the outside.)