Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Diary of Anne Frank–episode 6

All dialog in brown text is taken from the movie script at www.springfieldspringfield.co.uk

Mr. Frank explains the basic rules for life in the attic when suddenly a siren is heard. It seems to be getting closer and everybody is overcome with terror. Mrs. van Daan is convinced somebody has turned them in. But the siren passes them, keeps going, then comes to a screeching halt.

29. the siren gets closer

                                                   The siren gets closer

With a small chuckle everybody realizes they’ve been holding their breath. Peter (Richard Beymer) asks if he may get water for his pet cat, Mouchi. When talk shifts to the sleeping arrangements everyone is satisfied except Mrs. van Daan. Mr. Frank thinks it’s best that he and his wife sleep in the main room. Mrs. van Daan thinks they should have the room above them. Before you know it’s a polite, but well intentioned argument. But an argument is an argument, and her true colors are starting to show.

27. 13 minutes till the workmen come

                               You and your husband will sleep upstairs

Thirteen minutes pass quickly, and everybody becomes very still. Anne and her father choose to read, and to use her fathers shoulder as a pillow while Mr. van Daan stretches out on the bed. Mrs. van Daan looks mournful and sits on the edge of the bed, thinking the police are just around the corner, and they’ll be caught by the end of the day. Peter 43. Anne reads A Tale of Two Cities 42. Mr & Mrs. van Daan at lunchtime

watches over Mouchi who seems quite content with the arrangements as they currently exist. 

45. Mouchi behaves during the day

                                Mouchi lays low, and keeps a low profile

At the end of the first day Anne discovers she has read the entire book in one day and promptly labels it one the saddest books she has ever read. Kraler and Miep come up from the office below to see how everybody is. When Kraler and Miep arrive they are greeted with a level of gusto neither expected. Kraler says “My friends, you are so quiet up here. I thought you'd gone out for a walk”. Unknown to Anne her father has put together a surprise for her. He knows she is a bundle of energy, and their enforced captivity will be hardest on her. Kraler brings the box up from the office below, making sure Anne doesn’t see it.

44. Miep and Kraler appear at the end of the first day

     Kraler and Miep appear at the end of the first day. The box is on the right

44a. Anne Miep and Mrs Frank talk

        Anne, Miep, and Edith Frank – Anne’s mother is played by Gusti Huber

Mouchi, Peters cat, is far from impressed with this particular lifestyle and makes a break for it. Everyone trips over themselves in an attempt to corral the cunning feline. But Margot Frank, Anne's sister, decides to try and figure out where the cat will be instead of chasing after it. Mouchi goes all over but is corralled with Peter in hot pursuit. Diane Baker plays Margot, and is making her film debut.

46. Mouchi makes a break for it

                                          Mouchi makes a not so great escape

48. Mouchi is caught by Margot

                    Mouchi is caught by Margot. Peter is coming down a ladder

After Mouchi is caught Anne is presented with the box her father prepared, and Mr. Kraler delivered. As boxes go it’s a pretty ordinary box, but Anne’s curiosity almost gets the best of her as she tears into it with almost rabid enthusiasm. The box contains photos of her favorite film stars (of which there are dozens), a portrait of the Queen of Holland, Queen Wilhelmina, and a diary which they saw in store front a few days earlier. Anne unlocks the diary and searches for a pen or pencil. Not seeing one she moves towards the door of the hiding place. Her father stops her from proceeding down the stairs. “Don’t ever go beyond that door” he asks her. To quell the torrent of tears that he suspects may soon burst forth Otto Frank relinquishes one his pens. With pen in hand Anne tears into her room, slams the door, and eagerly makes the first entry in the diary.

54. Anne sees her diary for the first time

                                    Anne sees her diary for the first time

57. Otto laws down the law-never go past that door

                                              Don’t ever go past that door

60. Otto gives her one of his pens

                                        Otto gives Anne one of his pens

With the passage of time everyone develops habits or pastimes to ease the pressure on them. Anne has her diary, Mr. van Daan has his war map on which he documents the current state of the war, Mrs. van Daan knits and worries about anything and everything, Peter has his cat and so on. Every so often we see a playfulness in Anne. Sometimes she indulges in mischief by hiding Peters shoes which drives him nuts. Sometimes she imitates one of the others to either release a little energy, or to lighten the mood. Her favorite activity is teasing Peter. In the following screen capture from the DVD Anne performs a parody of Peter who is far from amused. He stomps into his room.

69. Anna does a parody of Peter who is not amused  

When Mrs. van Daan wants her son to come out of his room her request falls on deaf ears. Seeing a challenge Anne performs an imitation of Mrs. van Daan that not only works, but actually gets him to talk a bit.

66. Anna imitates a stern Mrs van Daan

But as shall see in the next episode it doesn’t go quite as planned.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Diary of Anne Frank–Episode 5a

Ok. You may be wondering why this episode is called “5a”. I originally posted a very short review that was called episode 5. For over a month my left wrist was in a splint (I can finally take it off), and I got some most unpleasant news. So episode 5 was pretty negative. Some time has passed and I’ve dealt with the unpleasant news the best way I know how – and that is to simply accept it. But I still felt that I ripped you off so I’ll try my best to give a review of better quality. So last night I deleted that post (July 25), and now, I shall attempt to start again.

All dialog in brown text is taken the movie script at www.springfieldspringfield.co.uk

Otto Frank (Joseph Schildkraut) is alone. His entire family is dead. Dead because a clash of ideologies. He enters the building that hid his family and friends. He opens the door quietly and slowly ascends the stairs. He enters the attic where he and seven others hid from the Green police, and their Nazi

4. He enters5.The attic

oppressors. Some of the people hiding were his family, some were friends, and one person was somewhat like him, a person simply wanting to survive. He looks in the small rooms that housed his family. He finds a small scarf his daughter Anne (Millie Perkins) had knitted him. To honor her memory he puts it on. But as soon as he puts it on he spots a glove that could have belonged to his wife, or any one of his two daughters. It’s too much for him, and the memories come flooding back. And he cries. Soon he he is comforted by Miep (Dodie Heath) and Mr.Kraler (Douglas Spencer). Otto says that he is alone. Miep and Kraler immediately

12. Cries as he picks up a glove

understand that everyone else is dead. They ask Otto to accompany them home, but he states that there are too many memories, and he will leave Amsterdam. He moves about the attic like he is searching for something. “I..I told Anne if I got back here, I’d find her book”. Miep reaches into a piece of furniture and pulls out Anne’s diary which she gently hands to Otto.

15. Miep hands Otto the diary

Otto opens the covers, hoping to find his daughter hiding somewhere inside. “The ninth of July, 1942.” Otto looks at Miep and Kraler astounded that only three years has passed. Anne's voice takes the place of Otto's, and the scene changes to three years previous. “This morning Father woke me at 5:00 and told me to get dressed. We were going into hiding. I was to put on as many clothes as I could. We were going to disappear, vanish into thin air. I’m living a great adventure. Three other people were coming in with us. Father knew them, but we had never met them.”.

16a. Anne

                        Anne enters the building that houses her new home

17. The stairs behind the bookshelf

Her father holds the bookcase that hides the stairs. Edith Frank is at far right

The van Daan family has already arrived. Hermann van Daan (Lou Jacobi), his wife Petronella van Daan (Shelley Winters), and their son Peter (Richard Beymer), are at the top of the staircase that’s hidden by a bookcase. Mrs. van Daan is already moaning and groaning, convinced the Green Police have caught the entire Frank clan. “Something’s happened. They’ve been arrested. I know it”. Mr. van Daan tells her not too worry, and can feel the onset of a headache. Peter politely asks his mother to restrain herself from such gloomy talk. Anne, who is blissfully ignorant of could happen to her should she be caught, goes up the stairs and meets the van Daan family.

20. Anne arrives

                                                   “We’re here

While introductions are being made the bells of the Westertoren Cathedral are heard. Anne goes towards the window. Just as she’s about to move the curtain her father announces that she must never touch a curtain while she is in hiding. Her father explains that if a person sees someone move a curtain their hiding place will be in jeopardy.

24. never touch a curtain

                                     Mr. Frank explains about curtains

Mrs.van Daan asks about an announcement Mr. Kraler made. Mr. Kraler said “You have but 13 minutes to get settled”. Mr. Frank explains that they have 13 minutes till the workmen begin to arrive on the first floor . “Now, while the men are in the building below...we must have complete quiet. Every sound can be heard down there not only in the offices but in the workrooms too. The men come at about 8:30, they leave at about 5:30 so to be perfectly safe, from 8:00 in the morning until 6:00 in the evening we must move about up here only when it is absolutely necessary and then in stocking feet. We must not speak above a whisper. We must not run any water.We cannot use the sink or even--forgive me-- the W.C. The pipes go down through the workrooms”.

For those that don’t know what W.C. stands for water closet. In North America the equivalent to the phrase W.C. is washroom, or bathroom. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Diary of Anne Frank – Episode 4

It Never Fails…

Sometimes, no matter what you do, no matter how long you’ve been doing it, or how good you are, your dad checks up on you. He may be trying to pull your leg, he may even say it’s part of being a parent. But there’s always the chance he may just find out that you’re really good at what ever you do. And that’s what happened to George Stevens Sr. He is seen checking some footage his son shot for him as second unit director. George Jr., looking mildly perturbed, that his father is still checking his work. He’s probably thinking “For heavens sake dad I’m a grown man, and my father still checks my homework !”. George Sr. was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the footage his son sent from Amsterdam. George Jr. went on to become a well known director, and still directing television shows in the 21 century.

924. Father and son

                Always remember son to take the lens cap off

The diary, the film, and historical fact

Anybody who has followed this blog for any length of time will know that I’m a stickler for sticking with what actually happened. I’ve come to realize, albeit extremely slowly, that once Hollywood gets its hands on anything that is based on history, that it can’t help tinkering with the truth. Sometimes the changes are very minor, and that in itself is understandable. But when somebody gets it into their head to create a character that never existed, or have something rather important happen that never happened in reality, well that’s when I get cranky. And like many other films based in fact, The Diary of Ann Frank some details are changed. In the film the van Daan family arrived first, to be followed by the Frank family when in fact the Frank hid in the annex on Monday July 6 1942 to be followed by the van Daan family on July 13 1942. Some bits of dialog from the diary were mildly altered and given to another character in the film. The layout of the actual hiding place differs only in the fact that in reality some rooms were more spread out. The film brings everything closer together creating an aire of claustrophobia.  Below is a photo of the model of the actual hiding place. It’s a very large photo, and if I’ve done my job correctly you can download it to your computer where it will be much, much larger. In watching the extras for this film on the DVD Millie Perkins admits to being uneasy during two sequences – the Hanukkah scenes, and the very last scene she appears in. On the Internet Movie Database trivia page for this film Shelley Winters allegedly gave Millie a glass of Scotch prior to filming of the Hanukkah sequence to calm her nerves. The glass got her calm all right – it also got her drunk as a skunk. After Millie sobered up the entire sequence had to be reshot. I don’t know how much truth, if any, should be assigned to this. But it is interesting.

939. Anne_Frank_House_Model

Beware this is a large download. It is 4608 x 3456 pixels and 3.46 MB in size. Thank you Alexisrael.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Diary of Anne Frank – Episode 3

The set for the film wasn’t the most complicated, but it was certainly one of the more difficult. George Stevens wanted to replicate the hiding place, but he also wanted to replicate the entire building. Getting the plans from the city of Amsterdam was not an easy task. Used to getting his way he ran head on into that roadblock known as red tape. After waiting forever he discovered he would have to make alterations. There had to be room for the crew, a camera, lights, and other miscellaneous equipment.  After studying the problem he found there was a very easy solution. Instead of building a complete building he built a building with only three sides.

925. One sound stage

He had one pet peeve, and that was the way explosions were depicted on film. Usually a boom was heard, and the camera was jostled just a bit. His military experience had taught him that explosions were felt and not simply seen. To achieve this effect he built the entire building on springs. Now the camera would stay steady, and entire set would rock, and sway. When the sequence where Amsterdam was being bombed dust would fall in a straight line, the entire set would shake, and the actors would look genuinely worried.

932. Plans of the house

These are the initial plans George Stevens had to work with. In time he obtained more detailed ones.

935. holding the bookcase

Here he’s showing Millie Perkins, who played Anne Frank, a model of the set. His hand is on a movable model of the bookcase that hid the staircase.

Studio Politics

There were two minor skirmishes during pre-production. Almost all films of the time were done in color. George Stevens was of the opinion that the film should be in black and white. His felt black and white would convey the feeling of claustrophobia. Color film would open up the film, and bring a rather cheery feeling. He was so adamant about it he threatened to withdraw from the film completely. Considering how much the studio had had invested in the film it was a small concession. But then head of 20th Century Fox, Spyros Skouras, informed George that since the studio owned the rights to to Cinemascope, that this film would in Cinemascope. George countered that using this particular aspect ratio would destroy any claustrophobia the black and white film would show. Spyros Skouras would have none of Georges protestations. 3a. Scope copyright The film would be shot in Cinemascope, and that was that. George and the director of photography, William C. Mellor, worked to salvage the damage inflicted by Mr. Skouras. They discovered that by adding a few hardy timbers to the set, and limiting action to the center of the screen, that the effect of claustrophobia could be retained. Light filters were also employed. The original plan called for George to get exterior shots in Amsterdam. But just before shooting began it became obvious that he would have to have a second unit director. He employed his son George Stevens Jr., who had been directing television shows such as Dragnet, and Alfred Hitcock Presents. George Jr. 929. Jr. directs second unit worked in Amsterdam with legendary cameraman Jack Cardiff. Jack played a small prank on George Jr. by telling him had never shot a frame of black and white film. George went into a mild panic, then realized he had been had, and that Jack was joking. George produced small outside scenes that were short in duration, yet crucial to the film as a whole. Some of the scenes undoubtedly unnerved some of the local inhabitants. It’s not everyday you see Nazi soldiers marching down the street. Scenes were the siren is employed caused some people on the set to break into a cold sweat. George Jr. tells the story where a woman fainted when the siren suddenly wailed.

Name, name, which name to use

Ann Frank allowed for pseudonyms to be used for some of the characters in her diary. The names used in the film for her family are factual. However names used for the van Daan family, and Mr. Dussel are fictional. She was concerned how some people might react if she used real names.

Film Name                                      Real Name 

Mr. van Daan                                  Mr. Hermann van Pels

Mrs. Petronella va Daan                   Mrs. Auguste van Pels

Peter van Daan                                Peter van Pels

Albert Dussel                                   Fritz Pfeffer

Mr. Kraler                                       Victor Kugler


Otto Frank edited his daughters diary and removed entries that were highly critical of Anns mother. Other than that most of the diary was published.

In the film Ann is referred to as Annica, and Annelies(her given name). Mrs. van Daan referrs to her as Annica, whereas her father almost always referrs to her as Annelies. If you have the DVD at home it may take several viewings of the film to get used to all the nick names, pet names, and given names used. Peter is pronounced “Payter”, and his name can confusing at times.