An Analysis of Filmic Adaptations of The Diary of Anne Frank

Anne Frank is perhaps the best known figure of not only the Holocaust, but World War II in its entirety. Despite the complex emotions and thoughts that she laid out in her diary, her story is frequently reduced to a few trite quotes. The numerous film and stage adaptations of her diary, while bringing her story to a wider audience, also simplify it in an effort to provide a moral and dramatic arc. However, her diary is so much more than a tragic story or an example of a lesson to learn.

This project will examine adaptations of The Diary of Anne Frank and explore what makes a faithful film adaptation of a book or true story. I will watch The Diary of Anne Frank (Stevens, 1959), The Diary of Anne Frank miniseries (Jones, 2009), and Anne Frank: The Whole Story (Dornhelm, 2001). Prior to viewing these films, I will engage in research on two fronts. Mainly, I will study the elements of a well done film adaptation by reading texts and consulting several film professors. I will also do some additional research on the Holocaust in general, Anne Frank’s life, and critical response to the film adaptations. Once I have viewed the films and completed research, I will write a short analysis of both the merits and shortcomings of each film adaptation. As the final stage of the project, I will attempt to write my own screenplay of the diary and Anne Frank’s life, referencing and building upon what I have learned through my viewing, research, and analysis. This screenplay will combine knowledge from Anne Frank with information from external research and film adaptations.

It is vital that both consumers and producers of art and entertainment are constantly evaluating the impact and influence of such art. When art deals with an important and nuanced issue, like the Holocaust, we must be even more careful and considerate. There is no single right way to represent the Holocaust. In this project, I hope to explore the fine line between fact based representation and communication with an audience, especially in the light of such an important event in world history.