Anne of Green Gables (1934): George Nicholls’ Version of L.M. Montgomery’s Novel, Starring Anne Shirley

George Nicholls, Jr. directed Anne of Green Gables, based upon the classic 1908 novel of the same title by Lucy Maud Montgomery.

The actress formerly billed as Dawn O’Day, who portrayed the character of Anne Shirley, changed her stage name to Anne Shirley.


Anne of Green Gables
Anne of Green.jpg

Theatrical release poster

A surprise hit in 1934, the movie became one of the four top-grossing of RKO Radio that year.

Anne Shirley, an orphan, is adopted by farmer Matthew Cuthbert (O.P. Heggie) and his sister, Marilla (Helen Westley), who had expected a boy to help on their farm.

She befriends Diana Barry and most of the children at her school, all except for Gilbert Blythe after he calls her ‘carrots.’ Anne lies to Gilbert about having a boyfriend to make him jealous, but she ends up embarrassing herself.

For three years they have an affair, but Mrs. Barry spies on them and tells Marilla, who does not want Anne to even talk to Gilbert, since his mother broke Matthew’s heart.

While at college. Diana visits Anne and tells her that Matthew is ill, and needs the best doctor in Halifax. She goes to see Gilbert, who studies with a doctor, only to realize he had already helped.

In the end, after Marilla finds out what he had done, she forgives the Blythes and lets Anne and Gilbert see each other.

Claiming a short screen career, Shirley is perhaps best known for her role as Barbara Stanwyck’s daughter in the 1937 melodrama, Stella Dallas, for which she was nominated for the Best Supporting Actress Oscar.

Anne Shirley as Anne Shirley
Tom Brown as Gilbert Blythe
Helen Westley as Marilla Cuthbert
O.P. Heggie as Matthew Cuthbert
June Preston as Mrs. Blewett’s Daughter
Sara Haden as Mrs. Rachel Barry
Murray Kinnell as Mr. Phillips, the Teacher
Gertrude Messinger as Diana Barry
Charley Grapewin as Dr. Tatum
Hilda Vaughn as Mrs. Blewett


Directed by George Nicholls, Jr.
Produced by Kenneth Macgowan
Written by Sam Mintz, based on Anne of Green Gables novel by Lucy Maud Montgomery
Music by Alberto Colombo, Max Steiner, Roy Webb
Cinematography Lucien Andriot
Edited by Arthur P. Schmidt
Distributed by RKO Radio Pictures

Release date: November 23, 1934

Running time: 78 minutes
Budget $226,000
Box office $793,000


TCM showed the movie on August 25, 2020 as part of a tribute to Anne Shirley.