Anne Frank's Diary (1959)

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German title Anne Frank's diary
Original title The Diary of Anne Frank
Country of production United States
original language English ,
Publishing year 1959
length 156-170 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
Director George Stevens
script Frances Goodrich ,
Albert Hackett
production George Stevens
music Alfred Newman
camera William C. Mellor
cut David Bretherton ,
William Mace ,
Robert E. Swink

The Diary of Anne Frank (original title The Diary of Anne Frank ) is an American literary film adaptation by George Stevens from 1959. The film follows the fate of Anne Frank , played here by Millie Perkins , and her family. Joseph Schildkraut , Shelley Winters , Richard Beymer and Gusti Huber can be seen in leading roles .

Based on the play of the same name by Albert Hackett and Frances Goodrich , which is based on the diary of Anne Frank , a moving drama was created that is still one of the classics of the film and has won three Oscars . The piece, written for the stage by Goodrich and Hackett, had won the Pulitzer Prize .


The Second World War is over. Otto Frank visits the house in Amsterdam where he hid in a confined space with his family for two years. The memories that weigh heavily on him catch up with him, especially when he holds Anne's diary in his hands. As he reads it, he feels transported back in time, beginning with the day when he and his family, daughters Anne and Margot and his wife Edith, and the befriended family Van Daan (in reality Van Pels) as well as the Dentist Dussell (in reality Pfeffer) kept hidden in the house of the businessman Kraler in the attic of a spice factory. His then 13-year-old daughter Anne experienced her first love for Peter, the son of the Van Daans, and she recorded everything that preoccupied her in her diary, supported by the hope that everything would be fine, “because the people in their hearts but good ”. The time was filled with tight quarters, panic fear and also with tensions and conflicts that inevitably arise between people who have no way of evading the other. And above it all hung the agony of a discovery by the Gestapo .

Eight of them stayed in the oppressive confines of their hiding place for two years until, on August 4, 1944, shortly after the Allies landed in Normandy, the hiding place was discovered and they were all deported to the extermination camps . At that time Miep Gies was on the way to organize food etc. for her protégés and Kraler was in the hospital due to an operation. When the Gestapo broke through the bookshelf behind which the Achterhuis was hidden, Otto tried to console Frank by saying: “For the past two years we have lived in fear; now we can live in hope, "while Anne reads the last entry in her diary in a voiceover:" And so it seems that our time here is over. They gave us a moment to get our things. We can all take a bag and put clothes in it ... nothing else. So, dear diary, it seems like I have to leave you behind. Goodbye. PS: Please, please ... If you should find this diary, please keep it for me. I hope that …"

Otto Frank tells Miep Gies and Harry Kraler that they are all dead: his wife, Van Daans, Dussell and Margot and he only found out yesterday that Anne did not survive either. He opens his daughter's diary and quotes her sentence that she believes that the people in her heart are good after all, and says: "She shames me."


Film rights

According to a message in the Daily Variety , Garson Kanin , who directed Broadway production of the play, and Milton Sperling of Warner Bros. also wanted to acquire the film rights, but were outbid by Buddy Adler of 20th Century Fox . According to the film industry's magazine The Hollywood Reporter, Adler is said to have negotiated a film with William Wyler . In February 1957, however, a contract with George Stevens was concluded.

Production notes, filming

The film was produced between March 5 and August 11, 1958 by George Stevens Productions and distributed by 20th Century Fox . Further scenes were shot on November 24, 1958. The film was shot in Amsterdam in the province of North Holland in the Netherlands and in the 20th Century Fox Studios in Los Angeles. Stevens didn't actually want to shoot the film in Cinemascope because he feared the widescreen recording would undermine the claustrophobia that had to be created for the film. Since Spyros Skouras , the head of the studio, insisted on this procedure, Stevens and cameraman William Mellor decided to limit the space to the center of the frame. To do this, Mellor developed a lighting system that used fluorescent tubes, filters and gauze to create a more natural, room-like light instead of using high-intensity studio lighting. In addition, Stevens had vertical beams installed, which were supposed to represent the roof brackets. This presented the visual image of a tighter space that was more appropriate to the proportions that had to be observed for the film.

The film had an estimated budget of $ 3 million.

Even if the set that was created in the Fox studios is not considered to be very similar to the Secret Annex from 1941 to 1944, as it was presented as just one room and not as several rooms, an exact replica of the spice factory was created on the studio premises, with three the four rooms were built on top of each other. However, the outdoor shots were taken at the original locations in Amsterdam . In the scene at the beginning, when “Otto Frank” (Joseph Schildkraut) enters Prinsengracht 263 of the film, he walks into the Anne Frank House , which still exists today and was later rededicated into a museum . In the opening credits of the film it says: "The filming of scenes in the house in which Anne Frank wrote her diary was made possible through cooperation with the City of Amsterdam."

Shelley Winters had to gain 25 pounds to play Van Daan, of which she lost 15 during the filming. In this role, the then 30-year-old actress also had to age by around 20 years. She was rewarded with one of three Oscars that the film received.


In the film, the people in hiding are only protected and cared for by Miep Gies and Harry Kraler; in reality, Bep Voskuijl and Johannes Kleiman, whom Anne liked very much, were also involved. In March 1944, Anne Frank heard the Dutch government request that the people who wrote war diaries save them for publication after the war. She then decided to rewrite her diary entries as a novel and gave her roommates and helpers pseudonyms. The family left the diary in the Secret Annex when they were arrested in August 1944. It was Miep Gies who collected and hid the documents and later handed them over to Otto Frank. In order to fulfill his daughter's wish to become a writer, Otto Frank decided to publish it. In June 1947 a Dutch publisher published an edited version of Anne's diary under the title Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl . About 30% of Anne's original entries were left out. Otto Frank had decided that the diaries should be sent to the Netherlands Institute for War Documentation (NIOD) after his death . There the dating of the documents was carried out and Anne Frank's handwriting was checked for authenticity. In 1986 NIOD published a complete edition of the diary under the title The Diary of Anne Frank: The Critical Edition . This work also contains the parts that were omitted from the 1947 version, as well as historical background and facts about the life of Anne Frank.


Audrey Hepburn was originally intended to portray Anne Frank, but she declined for several reasons. On the one hand, she was involved in another film project, and on the other, she had lived as a child in occupied Holland and seen the atrocities of the Nazis for herself. To be confronted with it again indirectly was too much for her. Hepburn, who was born a month before Anne Frank, also felt too old at the age of 30 to credibly portray a teenager.

Since many people have a certain image in mind when they think of Anne Frank, they had to find someone who matched their appearance as much as possible but could also embody their elusive spirit. Talent scouts watched 10,000+ girls around the world before Stevens settled on Millie Perkins, a 19-year-old model with no acting experience. Janet Margolin and Tuesday Weld are said to have been among the girls tested . Nina Foch is said to have been considered for the role of Miep Gies, Maureen Stapleton for the role of Mrs. Van Daan. Richard Trask, Eric Berne and Joseph Yardin were interviewed for the role of Peter Van Daan. Joseph Schildkraut, Gusti Huber and Lou Jacobi took on the roles they had already played on stage during 717 performances. Millie Perkins made her debut in the film. Susan Strasberg , who played the role of Anne Frank on Broadway, didn't want Stevens to appear in the film version.



The German dubbing was created in 1959 in the studio of Ultra Film Synchron GmbH Munich. The dubbing was directed by Josef Wolf , who also wrote the dialogue book.

role actor Voice actor
Anne Frank Millie Perkins Gertrud Kückelmann
Otto Frank Joseph Schildkraut Paul Klinger
Auguste van Daan Shelley Winters Eleanor Noelle
Peter van Daan Richard Beymer Dieter Klein
Edith Frank Gusti Huber Ruth Hellberg
Mr. van Daan Lou Jacobi Benno Sterzenbach
Margot Frank Diane Baker Renate Danz
Harry Kraler Douglas Spencer Siegfried Schürenberg
Mynher Albert Dussell Ed Wynn Alfred Balthoff

Duration, publication

During the first release of the film, the screenings included opening and exit music as well as a pause, resulting in nearly three hours of running time. The behavior at the box office forced those responsible to cut the film by about 20 minutes. The shortened version was then also shown on later television broadcasts. In the late 1990s, the original length was restored. DVD releases also contain the unabridged film.

The film was released in the United Kingdom in 1959 and in New York on March 18, 1959. In the same year it was shown in theaters in the following countries: the Netherlands, Greece, Denmark, Finland, France, Japan, Sweden, Spain (Madrid) and Portugal. It premiered in the Federal Republic of Germany on August 28, 1959. In this version, the ending in which the fate of the family is told after the arrest has been removed.

It was published in Argentina in 1960, Turkey in 1964 and Hungary in 1965. It was also published in Bulgaria, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, Italy, Mexico, Norway, Poland, Portugal, the Soviet Union, Venezuela and Yugoslavia.

DVDs, Blu-ray

  • 2004: Anne Frank's diary . Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
  • 2006: The Diary of Anne Frank , published by 20th Century Fox as part of the "Great Film Classics" series
  • 2007: The Diary of Anne Frank , published by 20th Century Fox as part of the "Award-Winning Films" series
  • On July 20, 2009, 20th Century Fox released the film in a Blu-ray version.



“The laconic, matter-of-fact, restrained style of the girl's well-known diary notes is subject to a largely conventional theatrical dramatization, but the convincing actors and the seriousness of the staging force you to grapple with the authentic model, which is one of the most shocking testimonies from the Nazi era . " spoke of a “moving film adaptation of the now famous diary based on a theater version made for Broadway”. Stevens had resorted to "actors from the stage version" for "some roles," but "entrusted the main role to the unspent Millie Perkins", who made "her acting debut" here. This was "the best of the film adaptations of the diary made so far" by Anne Frank, it said.

Alex Burnharm, member of the American band of the same name, said: “As a film, 'The Diary of Anne Frank' has many good moments. But for those who don't know the diary itself and the play, the film will have been extremely poignant. "

On the page Martin Liebman wrote about The Diary of Anne Frank that it was a film that awakened the soul and spoke to the mind, certainly not a typical war film, its approach was, the emotions, the terror and the to convey the confined everyday life of imprisoned people. This is also a film that, despite its limited locations and camera movements, can be completely overwhelming. Anne Frank's diary is a wonderful film achievement, even more than 50 years after it was first published.

Derek Winnert spoke of a harrowing war drama, a sincere and influential film that treated the subject with due awe and respect. He attested Schildkraut a first-class performance, Winters and Jacobi as Petronella and Hans Van Daan were impressive. Oscar-nominated Ed Wynn as Albert Dussell is also excellent.

David Krauss of wrote that Anne Frank's Diary was one of the most important war films ever made. A first-hand account of the fear and humiliation suffered by European Jews in the hands of the Nazis. It was also said that few directors had been able to adequately capture the claustrophobia, tension and oppression of life in the attic in the extended CinemaScope format, but Stevens had succeeded in doing so with the brilliance he was used to. Known for his masterly treatment of actors, the director also has great actors in his ensemble. Schildkraut, Huber and Jacobi as well as Winters, Beymer and Ed Wynn are perfect. Perkins is a bit artificial at times, overall, but impresses her too. In conclusion, Krauss found that Anne Frank's diary was not perfect, but it was close.

Colin Jacobson, DVD Movie Guide , above all did not like the cast of Millie Perkins in the title role, in the first half of the film she played 13-year-old Anne as too young, giving her the character of a five-year-old in the second Halfway she goes too far in the other direction and gives Anne a character that doesn't suit her and especially not the girl you saw in the first half. Most of the other actors don't do very well either. Ultimately, this is an inconsistent film.

Mike Sutton of The Digital Fix Film saw it similar for some cast members. Joseph Schildkraut was granted a wonderfully restrained performance, which he made believable, especially in contrast to the hysterical people around him. Gusti Huber as Mrs. Frank is also very touching, as is Diane Baker as Anne's sister Margot. Shelley Winters, on the other hand, who won an Academy Award for her role as Mrs. Van Daan, is terrible because she whines and screams for fear of being discovered. Her attempt to be a heartwarming Jewish mother is also embarrassing. The director simply gave her too much freedom here. The verdict on Ed Wynn in his role as Albert Dussell was similarly devastating. Wynn was a wonderful comedian, but as an actor he rarely finds the right tone between comic and serious. Here he tries to make Dussell quirky and uncomfortable, but is just plain annoying. This also applies to Lou Jacobi as Mr Van Daan, but even more so to Richard Beymer as Peter Van Daan. Millie Perkins is an even bigger problem than Anne Frank, who is hard to believe that no one else could have been found to play this role convincingly. Perkins is neither particularly sympathetic nor believable nor innocent.

Bosley Crowther wrote in the New York Times that Stevens did an excellent job showing human heroism in a simple, unpretentious way and the persistence that humans are capable of, so that compassion is inevitable for each of the eight people. The successive, extremely detailed scenes would convey the overcrowded, claustrophobic nature of this hideaway in Amsterdam well, as well as the mental agony of the people living there before impending discovery. Crowther also praised the great performance of Joseph Schildkraut, who had already played the role on stage. It is deeply regrettable that Millie Perkins, a new and untested girl, could not shine in the role of Anne Frank. Although she is pretty and charming, her frail person does not bubble with the strength of indestructible life, of innocence and a trust that even shadows cannot touch, and of an immortal spirit. The achievements of the other actors were apostrophized with "strongly played". Alfred Newman's music deserves respectful applause.

Awards (selection)

Anne Frank's Diary , which was nominated for eight Oscars in 1960 , received three of the awards in the following categories:

There were nominations in the following categories:

Golden Globe Award

  • 1960: Winner of the trophy in the category "Best film to promote international understanding"

Nominations in the categories:

  • "Best Dramatic Film"
  • "Best Director": George Stevens
  • "Best Actor in a Drama": Joseph Schildkraut
  • "Best Supporting Actress": Shelley Winters
  • “Most Promising Beginner”: Diane Baker

Cannes International Film Festival

David di Donatello

  • 1960: Gold plate for 20th Century Fox for this production

Directors Guild of America

  • 1960: Nomination for George Stevens for the DGA Award in the category "Outstanding Director"

Laurel Award

  • 1960: Golden Laurel for Shelley Winters in the category "Top performance in a supporting role"
  • 1960: Nomination for Alfred Newman for the Golden Laurel in the category "Top Music"

Writers Guild of America

  • 1960: WGA Award winners (screen) Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett in the "Best American Drama" category


The film was a great success, even if some historians criticized the fact that the depiction of time in the Secret Annex was played down and that it was suggested that those in hiding had fun in hiding. Today we also know that Anne started her diary before she went into hiding. The love affair with Peter was misrepresented in the film. In schools, the film is often shown parallel to reading the diary.

On May 23, 1963, the Dutch television station NTS broadcast a Dutch version of the play. The various American television versions include a version of Alex Segal with Max von Sydow , Lilli Palmer and Theodore Bikel, broadcast by ABC on November 29, 1967, and an NBC film from 1980 directed by Boris Sagal with Maximilian Schell , Joan Plowright and Melissa Gilbert .


  • Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett : The Diary of Anne Frank. One piece. Based on the book of the same name (original title: The Diary of Anne Frank ). German by Robert Schnorr . S. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 1976, 190 pp.
  • Anne Frank : Anne Frank diary (original title: Het achterhuis ). Version by Otto H. Frank and Mirjam Pressler (also translation). Only authorized and amended version. S. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 2002, 315 pages, ISBN 3-10-076713-6
  • Marion Siems (ed.): Anne Frank, diary . Reclam's Universal Library No. 16039: Explanations and Documents. Reclam, Stuttgart 2003, 131 pages, ISBN 3-15-016039-1
  • Katja Heimsath: "Despite everything I believe in the good in people": Anne Frank's diary and its reception in the Federal Republic of Germany . Hamburg: Hamburg Univ. Press, 2013 ISBN 978-3-943423-00-6 . Pp. 273–338, also a (translated) film transcript pp. 465–565

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. The Diary of Anne Frank see Alternate Versions at TCM - Turner Classic Movies (English)
  2. ^ The diary of Anne Frank (1959) sS
  3. a b c The Diary of Anne Frank (1959) sS (English). Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  4. a b c d e f The Diary of Anne Frank notes at TCM - Turner Classic Movies (English)
  5. a b c d The Diary of Anne Frank (1959) Articles at TCM (English)
  6. a b The diary of Anne Frank. Moving film adaptation of the famous testimony by George Stevens. sS (including 9 film images). Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  7. The History of the Academy Awards: Best Picture - 1959, see chap. "The Diary of Anne Frank" s. S. (English)
  8. Thomas Bräutigam : Lexicon of film and television synchronization. More than 2000 films and series with their German voice actors etc. Schwarzkopf & Schwarzkopf, Berlin 2001, ISBN 3-89602-289-X , p. 351
  9. ^ The diary of Anne Frank in the German dubbing index
  10. F.-B. Habel: Cut up films. Censorship in the film . Gustav Kiepenheuer Verlag, Leipzig 2003, ISBN 3-37801069-X , p. 101
  11. The Diary of Anne Frank Fig. DVD cover (in the picture: Millie Perkins)
  12. The diary of Anne Frank Fig. DVD cover "Great film classics"
  13. The diary of Anne Frank Fig. DVD case "Award-winning films"
  14. ^ The diary of Anne Frank. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed October 11, 2016 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 
  15. ^ The diary of Anne Frank sS (including timeline). Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  16. ^ The Diary of Anne Frank sS (English). Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  17. ^ The Diary of Anne Frank Classic Movie Review sS (English). Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  18. ^ The Diary of Anne Frank: Studio Classics (1959) see (English). Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  19. ^ Diary of Anne Frank Review see (English). Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  20. ^ Bosley Crowther : An Eloquent 'Diary of Anne Frank'; Stevens Is Director of Film at Palace In: The New York Times , March 19, 1959. Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  21. The Diary of Anne Frank see Misc Notes at TCM (English)
  22. Anne Frank House sS