Call for a remake

Today I issue a call to screenwriters and movie producers everywhere. It is time for a true adaptation of L.M. Montgomery’s Jane of Lantern Hill.

Last week, there Christina and I hunted down the only copy of the 1990 made-for-TV movie Lantern Hill, and I have to admit, we were sorely disappointed.

The original book, by the author of the Anne of Green Gables series is a fantastic novel. If you liked Anne, you will love Jane of Lantern Hill. Published in 1937, Jane is the story of a girl whose lived the first 10 years of her life with her mother, all the while believing that her father is dead. Jane learns that her father is still living (where? on Prince Edward Island, of course!), and about a year later, her father requests that she come spend a summer with him. Jane is an adorable coming-of-age tale. As one reviewer writes, “This book is … about the how understanding and love can transform an introverted, unhappy child into a confident, intelligent girl.”

On the other hand the movie Lantern Hill takes the same characters (with the totally random addition of Colleen Dewhurst (think: Marilla Cuthbert) as Hepzibah–a totally non-existent character in the novel) and transforms the story into something of a ghost story, where Hepzibah (who is portrayed as some mystical character–maybe a witch?) tries to get Jane to reunite her parents, and where Jane is being haunted in her dreams by the ghost of a woman who some townsfolk accuse Jane’s father of killing.

While the acting in Lantern Hill is pretty good, the screen writers murdered the classic beauty of Montgomery’s tale. (It wasn’t Evelyn that was murdered! It was the storyline!) Frankly its amazing to me that the same director and writer that did such a great job adapting Anne of Green Gables could destroy Jane of Lantern Hill so completely.

Now I’m ready for a really good Pride-and-Prejudice-like version of this story. A version that is true to the characters, theme, and tone of the novel with superb acting and a great score. I’m thinking of something written by Andrew Davies. Alone. No writing-by-committee is allowed for this movie!

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