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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

May 2, 2021



ANNE FRANK is a Jewish teenager who left a lasting legacy with the diary she kept while hiding from the Nazis in occupied Amsterdam during World War II. 

The diary was published after the war as “Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl” and became a best seller. In 1955, it was made into a Broadway play that won the Pulitzer Prize, written by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett. 

In 1959, the same team wrote the screenplay for the film version, directed George Stevens, who earlier won the Oscar for “A Place in the Sun”. The film starts in 1945. 

The war has just ended and Otto Frank (Joseph Schildkraut) returns to the attic where he, his wife Edith (Gusti Huber) and two daughters, Margot (Diane Baker) and Anne (Millie Perkins) hid, along with another family, Hans and Petronella Van Daan (Lou Jacobi and Shelley Winters) and their teenage son, Peter (Richard Beymer.) 

The attic is on top of a spice factory and they were hidden there with the help of two sympathetic workers Mr. Kraler (Douglas Spencer) and Miep (Dody Heath.) 

Otto searches for the diary left by Anne and when he finds it, their story is told in flashbacks. It starts on the day they moved to the attic to avoid persecution by the Nazis. 

They are warned not to make any noise during the day so that the other factory workers won’t hear them. Miep and Kraler deliver their food in secret. 

Anne gets the diary from her dad as a gift and she starts making entries on it, sharing their everyday life and how sad she feels that they are all isolated from the outside world, never even allowed to go out for some fresh air.

Anne is the typical “makulit” teener and delights in teasing Peter who is more attached to his pet cat. She is quite headstrong and often gets into conflict with her conservative mom. 

They get relief from their boredom when Kraler gives them a radio and they get to listen to good music and news programs that inform them about what’s happening in the war front.

Kraler also asks them to accept another boarder, Dr. Dussell (Ed Wynn), a Jewish dentist who is made to sleep in Anne’s tiny room. From him, they learn that Jews are summarily arrested and sent to concentration camps, including Anne’s best friend, Sanne de Vries. 

As days pass by, the tediousness wears them out as the bombing of Amsterdam continues. Tension also mounts as they get into each other’s nerves and quarrel about their sharing of their meager food ration.

Eventually, we all know how this will all end. They will be discovered and taken to concentrations camps, the men separated from the women, as recounted by Otto when the movie returns to 1945. 

The film is a testament to what the Jews encountered during the Holocaust. We were able to visit the building right in front of the canals where Anne hid when we went on trip to Amsterdam.

Today’s young generation who have no idea about the ordeal and torment the Jews (6 million of them perished in the Holocaust) went through then will find this film historical and educational. 

It helps foster faith and courage, even if friction among the refugees cannot be avoided. As what Anne wrote in her diary says: “In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.” 

The film has many poignant moments, like that scene where an intruder terrorizes them all while they’re having dinner and it ends optimistically with everyone singing the Jewish Hanukkah song. 

The film runs for three hours and this is the scene where its first half ended for the intermission.

The film succeeds in capturing the real life experiences and ordeal of a Jewish girl, her family and their friends as they hide from the Nazis during the war.  

It shows endurance and compassion while they’re confined in their cramped and claustrophobic quarters for more than two years, while sirens and bombings go on and the Nazis are policing the streets.

The acting is quite fine, although critics then were very harsh to Millie Perkins, saying she’s an ineffective Anne. 

We read the role was first offered to Audrey Hepburn, who declined as she felt she’s too old to be Anne. So they got someone who somewhat looks like her, but without her palpable vulnerability. 

A great asset of the movie is the soaring musical score by Alfred Newman and its haunting theme.  

The film was nominated for eight Oscars and won three: best costume design, best cinematography and best supporting actress for Shelley Winters as Mrs. Van Daan. 

Most of the Oscars that year were won by “Ben Hur”.