The Diary of Anne Frank (1959)

The girl who believed that “in spite of everything, people are really good at heart” still moves audiences in director George Stevens acclaimed adaptation of her diaries, and the Broadway hit they inspired. Although he needed the largest sound stage at Twentieth Century-Fox to hold the attic rooms in which Anne’s family and friends hid from the Nazis in World War II Amsterdam, Stevens insisted on shooting in black-and-white to capture the reality of their situation. When the studio forced him to work in CinemaScope, he had the set built with beams that blocked the far edges of the image so he could create the proper claustrophobic feel and, in his hands, the film becomes an intimate epic. Anne’s father, Otto Frank, served as a technical consultant, which included coaching young actresses Millie Perkins and Diane Baker, who played Anne and Margot Frank, respectively. He also met with the rest of the cast, which featured Joseph Schildkraut and Lou Jacobi from the Broadway production, and Ed Wynn and Shelley Winters. Winters had to gain 30 pounds to play a woman 10 years older than she, then had to lose most of it as the characters starved in hiding. When she won the Oscar® for Best Supporting Actress, she donated it to the Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam.

(d. George Stevens, 180m, 35mm)

In attendance: Diane Baker, Millie Perkins