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Anne of Windy Poplars (1940) HD online

Anne of Windy Poplars (1940) HD online
Language: English
Category: Movie / Drama
Original Title: Anne of Windy Poplars
Director: Jack Hively
Writers: Michael Kanin,Jerome Cady
Released: 1940
Duration: 1h 26min
Video type: Movie
Anne Shirley, having recently wed her childhood sweetheart Gilbert Blythe, takes a teaching position in a prestigious school far from her home on Prince Edward Island. While she is quickly accepted by her host family, the rest of the town, headed by the clannish Pringle family, refuses to accept her, on the orders of the head of the Pringle tribe, Hester Pringle.
Cast overview, first billed only:
Anne Shirley Anne Shirley - Anne Shirley
James Ellison James Ellison - Tony Pringle
Henry Travers Henry Travers - Matey
Patric Knowles Patric Knowles - Gilbert Blythe
Slim Summerville Slim Summerville - Jabez Monkman
Elizabeth Patterson Elizabeth Patterson - Rebecca
Louise Campbell Louise Campbell - Catherine Pringle
Joan Carroll Joan Carroll - Betty Grayson
Katharine Alexander Katharine Alexander - Ernestine Pringle
Minnie Dupree Minnie Dupree - Kate
Alma Kruger Alma Kruger - Mrs. Stephen Pringle
Marcia Mae Jones Marcia Mae Jones - Jen Pringle
Ethel Griffies Ethel Griffies - Hester Pringle
Clara Blandick Clara Blandick - Mrs. Morton Pringle
Gilbert Emery Gilbert Emery - Stephen Pringle

Reviews: [5]

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    Although film critics do not give this sequel to "Anne of Green Gables" a good review, I found it most entertaining. Our heroine, Anne Shirley (played by none other than Anne Shirley) is now a grown woman who has become a teacher. Separated from her doctor fiancé, she takes a job as Asst. Principal and drama teacher in the small Canadian town of Pringleton where the all-powerful Pringles dominate the community and strive to keep their tight reign on everyone they can, fearful of information out there that could bring them down.

    The wealthy matriarch Hester Pringle (an evil- looking Ethel Griffies) is resentful that her adopted daughter Catherine (Louise Campbell) was not given the post, and orders that the entire family (which includes "Wizard of Oz" cast member Clara Blandick) snub the young woman. Anne finds few allies because of the small town gossip, save for the sweet Minnie Dupree (in her second and last film after "The Young in Heart"), the nervous as the cat she hates but the lovably independent spirited Elizabeth Patterson and the eccentric Henry Travers who take her in. Anne sets to teach the town a lesson, and in the process, Hester Pringle's evil ways end up destroying her.

    Having grown up in a small town, I found this to be a very true account of what some of these people can be like. Of course, there are always those who don't fall prey to that sort of small-minded behavior, and this film represents both sides of the spectrum. Anne Shirley is a delightfully spunky heroine, continuing the role she played in "Anne of Green Gables" six years before. Her career had skidded into mostly "B's", with the exception of "Stella Dallas", and this film is probably a lower grade "A". Memorable photography (particularly the first dark close-up of the Pringle home, then the Gothic pan around the faces of the sour Pringle family) makes this worth a look.

    The cast is first rate, filled with many memorable character performances. Ethel Griffies who plays the matriarch had a very long career on stage and screen (lasting to the 60's), so she must have been heavily made up to make herself look older than her years. Bratty Marcia Mae Jones (from "These Three" and "The Little Princess") is a precursor to "Little House on the Prairie" terror Nellie Olsen as she makes Miss Shirley's classroom a living hell, but quickly learns her lesson as Anne mixes discipline with kindness.

    There are some entertaining bits between Shirley, Patterson, and Travers as well. Joan Carroll adds onto the pathos as a mistreated young member of the Pringle family. This is a film worth a second look for some qualities the critics seemed to have missed over the years. A chilling conclusion involving Griffies will keep you haunted, reminding me of the Gothic thriller "Double Door" with Griffies getting the same evil spirit initial closeup that Mary Morris got in that 1934 forgotten classic.
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    Dawn O'Day was a lovely child actress who, with a change of name to Anne Shirley, hit pay dirt in the enchanting "Anne of Green Gables" (1934). Even though she was nominated for a best supporting actress Academy Award as the put upon daughter in "Stella Dallas" (1937) she was hardly ever given roles worthy of her. She wasn't keen to do a sequel to "Anne of Green Gables" and was proved correct in her prediction as it wasn't a success when it was released. But I, like a previous reviewer, think it has held up very well and is a very entertaining family film. Even though "Anne of Windy Poplars" (originally Willows) was published in 1936 - chronologically it came after "Anne of the Island".

    Anne is now a young woman and arrives in Pringleton where she is to be the new Vice Principal of the local high school. Because elderly Hester Pringle (Ethel Griffies) had wanted the post for her niece, Catherine (Louise Campbell) Anne finds upon her arrival that a lot of the town is against her. She finally finds somewhere to board - at Windy Poplars (it reminds her of Green Gables) - the only people in town not to be frightened of the Pringles. She meets little Beth (Joan Carroll) from next door who reminds Anne of her imaginative self.

    The Pringles are seething and want Anne out of the teaching post. They start by assigning her several more jobs (head of the dramatic society, gymnasium instructress etc) but Anne is enthusiastic about the challenges. One of her challenges is Jen Pringle (Marcia Mae Jones, who was so wonderful in "These Three"), an obnoxious schoolgirl who makes life uncomfortable for Anne, although Anne brings her around by praising her and giving her responsibilities. The one Pringle she befriends is Tony, a teller at his father's bank who drinks because he cannot stand the power his family wields - he is also in love with Catherine. Catherine's dislike of Anne is solved - Catherine had been head of the dramatic society until it was given to Anne. Anne solves that problem by having Catherine organize and write the end of year play. Beth, who has an awful time living with Aunt Ernestine Pringle is a willing listener to Anne's stories about "Cinderella" - she then becomes ill but the doctor is not sent for as her Aunt feels it is just a temper tantrum.

    The play has other problems - Aunt Hester has forbidden Jen, who has the lead, permission to appear. With some quick thinking Catherine helps Jen escape from her room and to get to the theatre in time but in doing so she is locked in the room by wicked Aunt Hester. The townsfolk leave the hall only to find that the Pringle mansion is burning down. Hester has dropped the lamp when she has a fatal heart attack.

    Anne, in the meantime, along with Gilbert who is visiting for Christmas, give Beth back the will to live by promising she will always have a home with them. Of course everything ends happily. Anne Shirley, even though 6 years had passed since the original Anne movie, brings the same radiance and sweetness to this role as she had to the original. Joan Carroll had a couple of roles of note - "Anne of Windy Poplars" and "The Primrose Path", where she won rave reviews as Ginger Rogers' bratty little sister. She won national fame on Broadway in "Panama Hattie". Her most famous film was "Meet Me in St. Louis" although she was definitely lost in the shuffle between Judy Garland and Margaret O'Brien.

    There were also a wealth of character actors in this film - Alma Kruger, Slim Summerville, Elizabeth Patterson, Ethel Griffies, Clara Blandick and Grady Sutton.

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    Not great for those spoiled by the Sullivan versions but not bad either. Like Sullivan's, this completely bypasses "Anne of the Island" and bases the movie on "Anne of Windy Poplars/Willows". Neither movie version was faithful to that book.

    Anne takes a teaching job in a town controlled by the powerful Pringle clan. Of course, she changes their bitter attitudes and finds some kindred spirits. There are some interesting male and female characters and the actress who plays Anne Shirley is adequate but not charismatic. However, her character/acting is more likable than first time round in "Anne of Green Gables" (1934).

    As expected, there isn't much of Gilbert. I believe he's played by a different actor. This Gilbert is handsomer but duller.

    I found this more watchable, and better quality, than its predecessor but won't be buying this one (I caught it on TV).
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    RKO's belated sequel to its 1934 success, Anne of Green Gables, is a very different film. That was enchanting Americana, slightly undone by budgetary constraints and pacing issues. This one's a well-mounted, stylishly-directed tale of small-town bigotry, with portions of gothicism, that benefits from its straightforward narrative and relatively short time-frame. Anne Shirley, who borrowed her screen name from her character in the first film, returns in the lead - a little more restrained, somewhat fuller of face - and nails the character once more. Her Anne arrives in a small town to find herself cast adrift by a wealthy, all-powerful clan of malicious gossips, headed up by Ethel Griffies. Luckily, she's got a cast of classic character actors on her side, including Henry Travers, Elizabeth Patterson and Slim Summerville. They really did assemble a quality ensemble for this one, even if some of the more timeless performers (Patterson) are neglected at the expense of some of the more annoying ones (Summerville). Anne's beau, Gilbert, is played by English-born Patric Knowles (a staple of '40s comedy-dramas), her next-door neighbour is the excellent Joan Carroll (later Meet Me in St. Louis' Agnes) and her most troublesome student is Marcia Mae Jones (of These Three and the Shirley Temple version of Heidi), while Clara Blandick and Alma Kruger are also on board, albeit with nothing to do.

    Purists may be offended by the liberties taken with L. M. Montgomery's narrative - there's a different ending, while in the book Griffies' character is won over by Anne, rather than remaining pungently unrepentant - but it's highly entertaining and there are plenty of effective scenes. Some are touching, like Shirley and Collins' heart-to-hearts through a hole in the fence. And some are flatly terrifying, as Griffies morphs into a creepily friendly old dear to bat away Anne's heartfelt pleas for clemency. Perhaps the film didn't strictly need its melodramatic climax, but it's quite well-handled, particularly Travers' boat escape. Style-wise, it's not clear if RKO were getting in the swizzy equipment ahead of Orson Welles' magnum opus, Citizen Kane, but there are a couple of uncharacteristically swish camera moves here. One is the neat (if slightly fuzzy) crane shot as Anne walks towards Windy Poplars for the first time. The other is an Altman-esque tracking shot that adds immeasurably to the final scene, guiding us through the vivid tableaux of a small-town picnic, its dappling sunlight and rustic allure calling to mind Renoir's Partie de campagne. A memorable way to finish a very satisfying movie.
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    I managed to miss the film of "Anne of Green Gables", which was shown first, so I may be the only person on the IMDb to have watched "Anne of Windy Poplars" without actually having seen its predecessor!

    I liked it a good deal; I felt that the melodrama at the end was rather less effective than the character studies in the beginning, where the interest lies in discovering just why the Pringle clan are behaving so strangely towards Anne, rather than in matters of life and death, and I have a hard job picturing the lead actress ever playing the irrepressible child-Anne of the original book, but it was definitely worth tuning in for. I did find the presentation of the series of lurid disasters (or threatened disasters) in the finale somewhat hard to swallow in what had been to date a very low-key, gentle film...