Anne of Avonlea
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Up until I watched this DVD, I had only seen the Sullivan productions of the irrepressible Anne Shirley's life. While I love these as much as most other "Anne fans", I'd always bewailed the fact that the films didn't hold true to the story, and didn't follow the letter of the law, so to speak. Where were Davy and Dora? And Mr. Harrison? And the unshutupable Ginger?? And what was with Mr. Harrison's jersey cow being converted into Mrs. Lynde's jersey cow?
This miniseries will please all Anne Shirley purists. It does follow the book very closely. It's based on both Anne of Avonlea and Anne of the Island. Kim Braden makes a charming, fiery Anne. Christopher Blake is passable as Gilbert, although not nearly as much of a heartbreaker as Jonathan Crombie proved to be. Blake seems a bit shallow, and it seems that perhaps "Anne of Avonlea" was, to him, just another script to read. Like many older BBC productions, the filming and lighting is very different from other period pieces. It all seems dark, and the interior lighting is a little odd, all candle-lit in the background with, oddly enough, spotlights on the speaking character. All this seems to pale under the prospect of being so "right on".
I really enjoyed this DVD. The quality was surprisingly good, as many films from the 70s are not such high quality. Kim Braden, again, sparkles as Anne, and for her performance alone, one should, no, must, purchase this DVD. Truly, thank goodness for small miracles, namely, that this movie sticks to the books so well, and for Braden, demonstrating that Megan Follows is not the only Anne in the world.