Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Tuesday's Forgotten Movie: THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK



Last week we went to Stratford, Ontario where we saw HAMLET, CAROUSEL and THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK. Which of course called to mind the 1959 film. It starred Millie Perkins, Shelly Winters, Joseph Schilakraut, Diane Baker and Richard Beymer and was a very respectful version of the Diary as directed by George Stevens..

As this was a very respectful version of the play.

I would like to think an updated version might seems less dated, but I fear the work is so iconic that no one can really touch it. It is probably the most powerful book I read as a child and perhaps even as an adult.

Did Anne's death two weeks before the camp's liberation do more to illustrate the horrors of the Nazis than her survival would have? Would the book have been published if she had lived? Would we treat it with such reverence? I hope so. What are your thoughts? Can the play be updated or is it untouchable? Could it be set in one of the many places where people must hide from horrific regimes?

Here is a scene from the Stratford production.



11 comments:

Todd Mason said...

As the band Human Sexual Response asked. in "Anne Frank Story", "If she's a ghost now, then who are we?"

Todd Mason said...

One wonders how she might written a final form of her memoir, had she had a chance. If she would've wanted to publish one.

I'm reminded of the Romain Gary story, as well.

Margot Kinberg said...

I often wonder what would have happened had she survived. From what I've read about her, she wanted to publish her work was hoping to use the diary as the basis for a novel. I don't think she could've imagined how much impact she really had.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I was surprised at how little the play tells us about what has been going on. You really have to bring some background into the play with you. Which people had when it was first produced in the fifties.

Deb said...

I think a lot of our perception of Anne Frank comes from how her father wished her to be remembered. Otto Frank's entire family perished in the holocaust and I believe he wanted (understandably) his daughter's diary to be seen as a testament to the human spirit, which undoubtedly meant cutting passages where Anne expresses herself as a typical teenager would. I recommend Lawrence Graver's AN OBSESSION WITH ANNE FRANK which is about the long battle (legal and otherwise) between Otto Frank and Meyer Levin (who wrote COMPULSION) when Frank turned down Levin's more "realistic" adaptation of the diaries for the apparently more optimistic version of the story we know today. Interesting stuff.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

At this point, I think it is what it is, a period piece that will only be presented as it always has been. And I don't think that's wrong.

Still, it was an amazing experience going to the actual house in Amsterdam and seeing where it happened.

Jeff M.

Deb said...

When I was working at a junior high school, TDOAF was part of the 8th grade syllabus and it was mind-boggling (and not in a good way) how many students had never heard of the holocaust, in fact many if them only had the vaguest notion of WWII at all. To them, Anne is just a girl who kept a diary--and their concept of a diary was pretty nebulous too.

/I'll say it so no one else has to: Stay off my lawn!

pattinase (abbott) said...

Yes the audience at Stratford was old enough to have context. And school groups have been prepped.

Charles Gramlich said...

I well remember the story from when I was a kid

R.K. Robinson said...

When I finally got around to reading it, I already knew the story, and the context of course, having been born just before the war ended, and I knew she didn't survive and it would be depressing and full of hate and fear. That's not a great way to go into a book, and I didn't like it much, even skimming here and there, as I recall.

I can't see any point in trying to update or modernize it, being so much a product of it's time.

Cap'n Bob said...

An update would be fine. Anne's friends would include a black, an Asian, two gay men, a spunky grandmother, and a clunky-but-lovable boyfriend. The concentration camp would have Colonel Hogan, Sgt. Schultz, and Colonel Klink.