Reviewed by Glenn Erickson
This documentary production was suggested as a companion piece to George Stevens'
The Diary of Anne Frank, but it
stands by itself. We're given a keenly observed portrait of a mischievous, somewhat troublesome
but adorable little girl struggling to live under terrible circumstances. The true account of
Anne Frank's short life as recalled by her surviving friends and relatives is actually more
I can't imagine a more thorough look at this subject, or one done in better taste. Jon Blair allied
himself with the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, a museum of the girl's life, and there is more than
photo and filmed coverage here to tell the story. What's more, by being told
from many points of view - from Miep Gies, the woman who hid the Franks and their friends, and
a couple of surviving girlfriends, we get a deeper picture of the girl whose diary became a
document of the entire holocaust.
Blair's interviews are shot in Amsterdam and in the various camps that Anne was sent to after her
capture. We get a full picture of her family's past and her father's business dealings and the
sad reasons he thought Holland would be a safe haven from the Nazis. Anne Frank Remembered is
only a little more than half over when the Franks are captured - and the docu continues with the
full account of the family's splitting up in the camps and their terrible fates. There are even
eyewitness interviews with campmates who saw her not long before she died. It's better than just
touching or heart-tugging, it's the compelling truth told clearly and simply.
The narration by Kenneth Branagh is even and free of unnecessary dramatics. Glenn Close reads the
extracts from the famous diary. The photography is excellent and the personalities we meet charming.
It isn't a sob-fest or a testimonial rally - several witnesses are quick to point out that little
Anne was a willful little troublemaker (we only like her more when we hear about this) and that her
diary was probably biased and unfair about the old dentist she had to share a room with. But we
Sony TriStar's DVD of Anne Frank Remembered looks and sounds great and comes off as a
superior docu in every way. English and Spanish subs will aid the hearing-challenged. There
aren't any extras, however.
Director Jon Blair saves his best stroke for the end. When the story wraps up and we're
thinking about the loss to poor Otto Frank, we suddenly see some home movies from 1941, taken at the
apartment building where the Franks lived. Some newlyweds come down the steps, and then the
home movie buff takes a couple of shots up at people looking out of windows and watching the
little scene in the street. That's when we get a brief look at the only known moving-picture
footage of Anne peering out of a window, younger than when she wrote her diaries but just as
curious. It's a great ending.
On a scale of Excellent, Good, Fair, and Poor,
Anne Frank Remembered rates:
Packaging: Keep case
Reviewed: March 8, 2004
DVD Savant Text © Copyright 2004 Glenn Erickson
Go BACK to the Savant Main Page.