The Diary of Anne Frank (film)

The Diary of Anne Frank ( The Diary of Anne Frank ) is a film American of 1959 genre drama directed by George Stevens , with screenplay by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett based on the homonymous play winning a Pulitzer Prize in 1959 . The play was based in turn on the diary of Anne Frank .

The film featured Millie Perkins , Richard Beymer , Joseph Schildkraut , Lou Jacobi , Shelley Winters and Diane Baker in the lead roles. She was the winner of three Óscar Awards .


Otto Frank ( Joseph Schildkraut ), a former prisoner of a Nazi concentration camp , returns to where he and his family were hiding. There he receives his daughter’s diary. In the diary there is a story of how Otto hid his family in an attic; his wife Edith Frank ( Gusti Huber ) and their two daughters Anne Frank ( Millie Perkins ) and Margot Frank ( Diane Baker ) and three members of the van Daan family (called Van Pels actually), Hans van Daan ( Lou Jacobi ), Petronella van Daan ( Shelley Winters ) and Peter van Daan ( Richard Beymer ), and dentist Albert Dussel ( Ed Wynn ), from the persecution of the Gestapo . Through a flashback , the story shows the group’s growing tensions, food shortages and Anne’s falling in love with Peter van Daan, against the background of the Second World War in Amsterdam . After two years in that situation, they are discovered and the building is assaulted by the Nazis, all being sent to concentration camps.

From theater to cinema

The staging by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett of the adaptation of the hit Anne Frank Journal , in which the film is based, premiered in 1955 , had good reviews and made the public very impressed. The critic Kenneth Tynan, who attended the premiere in Berlin in 1956, described it as the most dramatic emotional experience that theater has ever given me. It does not have much of an artistic and it is not a great work, but the impression of the Berlin of that moment of the history, surpasses anything that the art could have obtained. He managed to move the whole audience . European spectators who remembered the Nazi occupation were forced to face the reality suffered by many of their countrymen: persecution, expulsion, deportation and death. Some critics noted that the Anne of the play had little resemblance to the description she made of herself in her diary, but in general the audience identified the theatrical Anne with the author of the book and flocked to see the play. This success made think quickly in a adaptation to the cinema and the 20 of May of 1957 the father of Anne, Otto Frank, (the unique survivor of its immediate family) signed a contract with 20th Century Fox in which it gave its approval, with That filming began in spring with a budget of 3 million dollars.

It was intended that the actors in the film were the same as those in the play, and Joseph Schildkraut and Gusti Huber repeated their roles, but Susan Strasberg , who had played the role of Anne in the play, rejected the offer, and Seeking an actress to take her place began. The paper was offered to Natalie Wood who also rejected it. Otto Frank’s first choice was that of Audrey Hepburn , who had been born the same year as Anne Frank, had lived the war during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, and had read the book in Dutch shortly after it was published in 1947. This was something that had desolated and despite his personal interview with Otto Frank, finally also rejected the paper. She thought she was too old to play a teenager and that the experience of reviving the war could traumatize her. Hepburn continued to be friends with Otto Frank until his death in 1980 , and was honorary president of the Anne Frank Educational Trust UK . After much searching, the lead role fell to teenage model Millie Perkins.

George Stevens filmed the exteriors in Amsterdam, around the real home where the family had been hidden, but the interior was recreated in a Hollywood studio. There was great care to make the film look as real as possible. Otto Frank and one of the men who had helped conceal the family, Johannes Kleiman, were taken as technical helpers to the set, so that the premises could be reconstructed according to their memories. Some scenes were more real than expected, one of them shows Hendrik van Hoeve, the fruit vendor who supplied vegetables from the black market to hiding places, making himself. A final scene depicting Millie Perkins as Anne at Auschwitz was filmed, but cut from the footage because of the unfavorable response from the audience. Although Anne Frank actually died after writing page number 2.5. Who finished the work was his friend Kitty, which is mentioned many times in the newspaper. Stevens replaced her for a more spirited take on the sky, with a voice-over of Perkins. Although the film was not a commercial success and the criticisms were varied it was nominated to 8 Oscars of which it gained three.


  • Millie Perkins as Anne Frank
  • Joseph Schildkraut as Otto Frank
  • Shelley Winters as ” Petronella van Daan “
  • Richard Beymer as ” Peter van Daan
  • Gusti Huber as Edith Frank
  • Lou Jacobi as Hans van Daan
  • Diane Baker as ” Margot Frank “
  • Douglas Spencer as Kraler
  • Dodie Heath as ” Miep Gies “
  • Ed Wynn as ” Albert Dussell “

Otto Frank personally wrote to Audrey Hepburn asking if he would like to play the role of his daughter Anna. Frank told Hepburn that it would have been an honor for his daughter that a famous Hollywood actress played her in the film. He also mentioned the striking resemblance between Anna and Hepburn as a teenager. Hepburn responded by rejecting the offer, explaining that he felt too old, and lacked the skills to represent Anna. She said she was very grateful that she had been given the opportunity and commented on the similarity between her own war experience and that of the Frank and others in the annex.

Awards and nominations

The film won three Oscars:

  • Oscar for Best Supporting Actress – Shelley Winters (currently on display at the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam)
  • Oscar to the best artistic direction. – George W. Davis, Stuart A. Reiss, Walter M. Scott, and Lyle R. Wheeler.
  • Oscar for the best photography – William C. Mellor

In addition, she was a candidate for these awards:

  • Oscar for Best Picture – George Stevens Jr., Producer
  • Oscar for Best Supporting Actor – Ed Wynn
  • Oscar for best costume design – Charles Le Maire, and Mary Wills
  • Oscar to the best director – George Stevens
  • Oscar to the best music – Alfred Newman


Anne Frank’s diary was first made public on DVD on February 3, 2004. The fifth anniversary of the film also came out on DVD and Blu-ray on June 16, 2009, three months after the original date Of throwing the film in commemoration of what could have been the eightieth birthday of Anne Frank. It included seven new features: three interviews with supporting actors, a behind-the-scenes visit, two short films about George Stevens’ memoirs of the war and the history of the diary, and a work on the legacy of the film by Thomas Rothman.

The Blu-ray was released just a month before Tony van Renterghem’s death on July 19. Renterghem, cinematographer and German scriptwriter, worked for many years with Stevens and was consulted for the work and for the film. While his work was done behind the scenes, his knowledge certainly helped enormously.