Lost Anne of Green Gables silent film recreated

An Ontario couple who collect Anne of Green Gables artifacts stumbled upon music for a silent film version of the beloved story. When they discovered the film was lost, they set out to recreate it. Deana Sumanac reports.

Ontario’s Jack and Linda Hutton, who collect Anne of Green Gables artifacts, count the sheet music for a silent film version of the beloved Lucy Maud Montgomery story among their prized possessions.

The film is lost — only a few stills remain, but a 1919 edition of Montgomery's classic story has images taken directly from the film. CBC-TV’s Deana Sumanac reports on how the Huttons set out to recreate the film, using those images and a silent-era piano score.

The film adaptation starred Mary Miles Minter, who was just 17 in 1919 when the film was made. At the time, she was hailed as the next Mary Pickford. She makes a very plucky Anne, though the story deviated so much from Montgomery’s version that the author herself was purportedly scandalized.

Minter's reputation took a beating in 1922, when she was romantically linked to William Desmond Taylor, the director of the film. Taylor was found shot to death and no one was ever charged with his murder. However, Minter was caught up in the scandal and, in 1923, abandoned her Hollywood career.