Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story
|Anne of Green Gables:
The Continuing Story
|Written by||Kevin Sullivan|
|Directed by||Stefan Scaini|
|Theme music composer||Peter Breiner|
|Country of origin||Canada|
|Running time||185 minutes (approx.)|
|Preceded by||Anne of Avonlea|
|Followed by||Anne of Green Gables: A New Beginning|
Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story was a 2000 television film, also broadcast as a mini-series, that was highly anticipated among fans of Anne of Green Gables. It borrowed characters from the Anne of Green Gables novels by Lucy Maud Montgomery but not actual plot lines. Instead it served as a sequel to two mini-series produced by CBC Television in the 1980s. It was the most controversial and heavily criticized of the three film adaptations written and produced by Kevin Sullivan.
The Continuing Story was criticized principally because unlike the 1985 Anne of Green Gables and its 1987 sequel Anne of Avonlea, the screenplay was not based upon Montgomery's works, but instead used Montgomery's much-loved characters in a largely original World War I story by Sullivan and Laurie Pearson. Montgomery had written an Anne novel set in that same period, Rilla of Ingleside, a story focusing on Anne's youngest daughter, and in which Anne was a mother whose three sons were fighting in Europe.
The chronology of Sullivan's Anne of Green Gables films is not in synch with the LM Montgomery novels, largely because of the spin-off series Road to Avonlea. Over the course of developing original characters and stories for seven seasons of Road to Avonlea, the time frame of Sullivan's fictional world evolved into a 20-year difference from the Montgomery novels. As a result, Sullivan decided to make Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story a completely original work that took Anne and Gilbert to the battlefields of World War I instead of their children as in Montgomery's novels.
The film was also criticised for introducing a continuity problem. Following Colleen Dewhurst's death in 1991, Marilla Cuthbert's death was written into the series Road to Avonlea. At Marilla's funeral, Hetty King refers to Gilbert and Anne Blythe, stating they were married. Anne does not appear in the Avonlea episode because she is sick with scarlet fever. The Continuing Story, which takes place five years later, attempts to resolve the discontinuity by revealing that Anne had scarlet fever while she was teaching at an orphanage in Nova Scotia.
Anne Shirley returns to Avonlea after five years of teaching at an orphanage in Nova Scotia while separated from her fiancé, Gilbert Blythe, who was finishing medical school. After catching up with Diana Barry and other old friends. Anne and Diana visit Green Gables, and a horrified Anne realizes that since Marilla's death in an episode of Road to Avonlea the owners have treated Green Gables so poorly, that it is coming apart. Later, Anne is reunited with Gilbert on the island. However, instead of settling down immediately, Gilbert asks Anne to move to New York since he has been offered a staff position at Belleview, a prestigious medical institution. Her reluctant agreement comes with the promise of being published and that they will return to Prince Edward Island to raise their family.
In New York, Anne is employed as a junior editor at a small publishing house, where she meets Jack Garrison, a writer and local sensation who becomes interested in Anne. Seeing her potential as a writer, he offers to become the editor for her new manuscript and use his influence to have it published under both their names. He threatens to jump from a window if Anne does not accept his help. When the manuscript is accepted, Anne is outraged to learn that Jack has presented it as entirely his own, and the publisher refuses to give her credit. She breaks off contact with Jack, who reveals he has fallen in love with her. Meanwhile, Gilbert is troubled by his work at Belleview hospital - most of the doctors are more interested in prestige than in saving lives. Disillusioned by life in New York, Anne and Gilbert return to Prince Edward Island.
Upon returning to Avonlea, Gilbert buys Green Gables from Mr. Harrison and they set about restoring the house as they plan their wedding. Anne accidentally starts a fire, slightly damaging the house. However, the couple find the effect of the war in Europe to be much more present; Fred Wright, Diana's husband, eventually enlists in the war as his family life becomes increasingly strained. Increasing pressure results in Gilbert enlisting as medical officer and he convinces Anne to marry him before he leaves. When he is declared missing in action, Anne leaves for Europe as a Red Cross volunteer in hopes of finding him.
Anne's desperate search in the war zone leads to a chance meeting with Jack Garrison, along with his lover, Colette, and their infant son, Dominic. Jack, involved in dangerous espionage activities, leaves suddenly and asks that Anne take Colette and Dominic to London. However, Colette is killed in an explosion, while Anne briefly sees Gilbert as his troop is forced to abandon their field hospital. Anne promises Colette on her last breath to take care of Dominic and find his father. Left to care for Dominic, Anne finds an injured Fred and his arm must be amputated. They leave for London and reside in Jack's apartment until they can return to Canada; in that time, Anne works for a British newspaper office and becomes acquainted with Fergus Keegan, Jack's editor, and Maude Montrose, one of Jack's contemporaries and a fellow spy. When Jack arrives to make arrangements for his family, he learns of Colette's death and asks for Anne to care for Dominic should anything happen to him. Though Anne intends to return to Canada with Fred and Dominic, her connection to Jack as well as a resurfacing chance of finding Gilbert results in taking Dominic with her to France.
Disguised as a nun and befriending entertainers Margaret Bush and Elsie James, Anne struggles to bring Dominic to Kit Garrison, Jack's aunt who has also become involved in war efforts. Reunited again with Jack, Anne travels with him in hopes of finding her husband Gilbert. As Anne's search continues to be fruitless, Jack attempts to persuade her to return with him to the United States and form a family with him and Dominic; Anne refuses, determined to continue searching for Gilbert in the war zone. When she encounters Margaret and Elsie again, she joins them in entertaining the soldiers; in the crowd is Gilbert and Anne is reunited with him at last. Jack arranges for them to leave immediately as the armistice to end the war approaches. However, Keegan's fear of being exposed as a traitor by Jack's group results in Jack being shot on the train; as he dies, he asks that Anne take care of his son. Once the armistice is declared, Anne and Gilbert attempt to find Dominic, but after finding Kit Garrison's château empty, they are forced to return to Canada in hopes of finding the child from home.
After a year of living back in Avonlea, Anne and Gilbert arrive at the local train station to collect Dominic, whom they are adopting as their own. They decide to leave Green Gables to Diana and Fred while they "make a new life, but built on all the old foundations" and "build a good home, and raise a family, with lots of scope for the imagination."
- Megan Follows - Anne Shirley Blythe
- Jonathan Crombie - Gilbert Blythe
- Schuyler Grant - Diana Barry Wright
- Patricia Hamilton - Rachel Lynde
- Greg Spottiswood - Fred Wright
- Cameron Daddo - Jack Garrison Jr.
- Sonia LaPlante - Colette
- Shannon Lawson - Elsie James
- Victoria Snow - Margaret Bush
- Janet-Laine Green - Maud Montrose
- Martha Henry - Kit Garrison
- Nigel Bennett - Fergus Keegan
- Douglas Campbell - Dr. Powell
- Colette Stevenson - Mrs. Findlay
- Zack Ward - Moody Spurgeon
- Miranda de Pencier - Josie Pye Spurgeon
The third Anne film was a completely original concept that brought Anne and the other Avonlea characters (from both the Road to Avonlea television series and the previous two Anne of Green Gables films) into a time period when each character was faced with personal turmoil as a result of World War I. Sullivan’s portrayal of Anne and Gilbert in this third film does not coincide chronologically with Montgomery’s novels; Rilla of Ingleside portrays Anne's sons going off to fight in World War I while Anne and husband Gilbert witness the War from the home-front of Prince Edward Island. (Rilla, the youngest daughter, raises someone else's little boy for a few years; he is referred to by the family as "Rilla's war-baby" and he was presumably the inspiration for Dominic in Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story.)
Prequels and sequels
Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story is the third of Sullivan's Anne of Green Gables series. It was preceded by Anne of Green Gables in 1985 and Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel (Anne of Avonlea) in 1987.
In fall 2008, another film in the series, Anne of Green Gables: A New Beginning was released, showing Anne as an older woman looking back at her life as a child before her arrival at Green Gables.
- Official page on the Sullivan Anne trilogy
- Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story at the Internet Movie Database
- An L.M. Montgomery Resource Page - resource on L. M. Montgomery and her legacy in film
- L.M. Montgomery Online This scholarly site includes a blog, a bibliography of reference materials, and a complete filmography of all adaptations of Montgomery texts. See, in particular, the page for Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story.