Always remember this Anna, there are no walls, no bolts, no locks that anyone can put on your mind.

I vividly recall those words of Anne Frank’s father being rivited to the family television set as a young child watching this iconic film and feeling the tensions build as a group of people hid from the bad guys (the German Gestapo). It was my first glimpse into World War II and it wouldn’t be for years that I came to understand, or at least as much as anyone can understand, the horrors of the Holocaust.

The Diary of Anne Frank posterBased on the now famous journal kept by a young teenager, and youngest sibling in a Jewish family in 1940’s Amsterdam, 1959 Academy Award winner, The Diary of Anne Frank, is a testament to the human spirit and will to survive. Focusing mostly on Anne, whose inspirational wisdom culled from her diary now permeates the Internet, and her interactions with her patient, wise father, Otto Frank, the nearly 3-hour black and white film puts us right in the cramped attic space where eight Jews hide from the Nazis. Tip-toeing during the day to avoid detection, intricately detailed scenes keep us mesmerized as tension and anxiety builds within the small confines as the Gestapo close in. Otto’s sense of heroism and spirituality, and Anne’s always-returning-to-optimism, act as glue for the former well-to-do residents.

Adeptly chronicled by director George Stevens, then new-to-the-screen Millie Perkins’ portrayal of Anne falls short in some critics’s eyes (I tend to agree in my older age) but the remainder of the cast – namely Joseph Schildkraut (otto), Gusti Huber (Mrs. Frank), Lou Jacobi (Van Daan), Ed Wynn (Mr. Dussell) and Shelley Winters (who won Best Supporting Actress for her role) – give solid performances.

Betrayal eventually leads to the arrest and deportation of the Frank’s and friends just shy of Anne’s 15th birthday, and although beyond the scope of the film, all but Otto perish in the concentration camps. Anne Frank died of typhus fever in the Bergen-Belson concentration camp in March, 1945, shortly after her sister’s death.

After the war, Otto Frank was quoted as saying, “When the Gestapo came in with their guns, that was the end of everything.”

As it did for me, The Diary of Anne Frank served as an eye-opener to many, and watching this classic with your family will be time well spent.

Inspirational movie review by Rick Beneteau

Rick Beneteau
Rick Beneteau is co-founder of Modern Day Mastery.
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