Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA, 1959. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, George Stevens Productions. Screenplay by Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett, based on their play, from the book Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. Cinematography by William C. Mellor. Produced by George Stevens. Music by Alfred Newman. Production Design by George W. Davis, Lyle R. Wheeler. Costume Design by Charles Le Maire, Mary Wills. Film Editing by David Bretherton, William Mace, Robert Swink.
Countless versions of this story, including Broadway revivals, television movies and even an Oscar-winning documentary have been made since this was filmed in 1959. Based on the titular character’s true-life diaries (adapted to the stage before being brought to the screen), it tells of two Jewish families living in Amsterdam, hidden in the attic of a friend’s store after the Nazis invade and start sending people to the infamous concentration camps. Unable to make any noise during the day lest anyone visiting the store hears them, the families succumb to bickering and paranoia as the endless days count towards their unknown fate. At the heart of it all is young, optimistic Anne (Millie Perkins, a poor man’s Audrey Hepburn), who keeps spirits up as best as she can. The drama is creaky with age here and there, but it’s still powerful after all these years, not to mention its importance as the first major Hollywood film concerning the Holocaust.
Academy Awards: Best Supporting Actress (Shelley Winters); Best Cinematography-BW; Best Art Direction-BW;
Nominations: Best Picture; Best Supporting Actor (Ed Wynn); Best Director (George Stevens); Best Costume Design-BW; Best Score of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture
Cannes Film Festival: In Competition
Golden Globe Award: Best Film Promoting International Understanding
Nominations: Best Picture-Drama; Best Actor-Drama (Joseph Schildkraut); Best Supporting Actress (Shelley Winters); Best Director (George Stevens)