Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm

  1. Book
  2. Play
  3. 1917 Silent
  4. 1932 Version
  5. 1938 Musical Film

Book

Rebecca_of_Sunnybrook_FarmRebecca of Sunnybrook Farm is a classic American 1903 children’s novel by Kate Douglas Wiggin that tells the story of Rebecca Rowena Randall and her two stern aunts in the fictional village of Riverboro, Maine. Rebecca’s joy for life inspires her aunts, but she faces many trials in her young life, gaining wisdom and understanding. Wiggin wrote a sequel, New Chronicles of Rebecca. Eric Wiggin, a great nephew of the author, wrote updated versions of several Rebecca books, including a concluding story. The story was adapted for the theatrical stage, and was filmed three times, once with Shirley Temple in the title role.

Play

Rebecca_of_Sunnybrook_Farm_1911Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm is a play written by Kate Douglas Wiggin and Charlotte Thompson. It is an adaptation of Wiggin’s novels about the character Rebecca Rowena Randall, including elements from the 1903 novel of the same name and the 1907 follow-up, New Chronicles of Rebecca. Producers Klaw and Erlanger debuted it at the Court Square Theatre in Springfield, Massachusetts on November 15, 1909. After touring New England for a season, it appeared on Broadway, opening at the Republic Theatre on October 3, 1910. The play received positive reviews and was used as the basis for subsequent movie adaptations.

Orphan Rebecca Rowena Randall is sent to live with her dour aunts, Jane and Miranda Sawyer. She has trouble adjusting to her new home at first, and tries to run away. Eventually her light-hearted optimism wins over her aunts and attracts the interest of local boy Adam Ladd.

Films

1917 Silent

Rebecca_of_Sunnybrook_Farm_1917_posterRebecca of Sunnybrook Farm is an American silent comedy-drama film directed by Marshall Neilan based upon the novel of the same name by Kate Douglas Wiggin. Released in the US on September 22, 1917, this version is notable for having been adapted by famed female screenwriter Frances Marion. The film was made by the “Mary Pickford Company” and was an acclaimed box office hit.

Rebecca Randall (Mary Pickford) is taken into the home of her aunt Hannah (Eddy), a strict New England woman. Rebecca meets Adam Ladd, a young man of the village, and they become great friends. One day Rebecca promises to marry Adam when she becomes of age. Unable to withstand her pranks any longer, her aunt sends her away to a boarding school. She graduates a beautiful young lady. Shortly thereafter, Adam demands a fulfilment of her promise.

1932 Version

Rebecca_of_Sunnybrook_Farm_1932_posterRebecca of Sunnybrook Farm is a film based on the 1903 children’s classic novel by Kate Douglas Wiggin. Released in the US on July 3, 1932, it was filmed by Fox Film Corporation and directed by Alfred Santell. The film starred Marian Nixon as Rebecca and co-starred Ralph Bellamy.

A young girl from Sunnybrook goes to live with her wealthy relatives and falls in love with a doctor.

1938 Musical Film

Rebecca_of_Sunnybrook_Farm-1938Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm is an American musical comedy film, released in the US on March 18, 1938, directed by Allan Dwan and starring Shirley Temple, Randolph Scott, and Bill Robinson. The screenplay is loosely based on Kate Douglas Wiggin’s novel Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.

The film tells the story of a talented orphan’s trials and tribulations after winning a radio audition to represent a breakfast cereal. Highlights include Temple singing a medley of her hit tunes and dancing with Bill Robinson on a flight of stairs.

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