This is a blog which primarily gives some attention to movies that I find were overlooked (for whatever reason) or are simply underrated. I also comment on other, mainly movie-related issues as well. I welcome any suggestions for films to be added to this distinguished list.

One word of warning: The films listed below contain spoilers, so caution during reading is required.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Diary of Anne Frank (1980)

"For the past two years, we lived in fear. Now we can live in hope!"
-Otto Frank.

Of all the literature written about the Holocaust (and this is not even mentioning the global conflict that surrounded it), the most famous is probably The Diary of Anne Frank, published in 1947 by the title character's father, Otto. This may be the most famous of all stories related to the Holocaust because many (myself included) first read it in grade school.

The Frank family and four others, because they were Jewish, hid in the attic of an office building in their native Holland to evade Nazi capture from 1942 until they were discovered in 1944. Sadly, seven of the eight died in concentration camps. Otto was the only survivor and, after the war, he came across his daughter's diary, which he published in her honor, as she had dreams of being a writer.

The diary itself, like many diaries, tells of the author's hopes and dreams. Anne even mentions D-Day at one point.

The story was adapted for the stage and the screen numerous times. Perhaps the most famous film version is the 1959 movie directed by George Stevens and for which Shelley Winters won an Oscar for her performance as Mrs. Van Daan.

One of my favorite versions of the story, though, is this one, which aired on NBC and stars Melissa Gilbert (in the midst of her run as Laura Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie) as Anne.

The film begins in 1945 Amsterdam, where Otto (Maximilian Schell) returns to the attic he and his family hid in and tells his friends to get rid of everything. But when he discovers Anne's diary, he sits down to read it.

The flashback then begins with him, Anne, his wife (Joan Plowright), and his other daughter Margot (Melora Marshall) go into the office building with the Van Daans (James Coco and Doris Roberts) and their son Peter (Scott Jacoby). They are later joined by Mr. Dussel (Clive Revill).

Appropriately, the film then never goes outside the attic the eight on in, which adds to the feeling of isolation they occasionally display frustration at.

But the magic of this film lies in its wonderful cast. There isn't a single false note in the characterization here, which makes the ending especially poignant.

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