New Movie of Anne Frank

In her forthcoming book about Anne Frank, Francine Prose makes the case that neither the 1959 Broadway play nor the subsequent movie of The Diary of a Young Girl, come close to accurately portraying the Anne of the book.

David Mamet is set to take a new shot at it. Variety reports that Disney has acquired the rights for a new version of the The Diary, with David Mamet writing and producing. Variety says the film will be based on both the diary and the 1959 stage play. Co-producer Andrew Braunsberg spent a year getting rights from the various estates involved.

What will be different? Variety says “Mamet brings his own original take on the material that could reframe the story as a young girls rite of passage.” One of Prose’s objections to the earlier versions is that they don’t show Anne’s growth as either a person or an artist; “On the pages, she is brilliant, on the stage, she is a nitwit.” She also points out that they attempted to “universalize” the story to broaden it’s appeal; few mentions are made of the family’s Jewishness and Anne was made to seem more hopeful. Says Prose about the movie, “She sounds like an American girl. And why not? It’s an American movie.”

Mamet has written about anti-Semitism in his book The Wicked Son: Anti-Semitism, Self-hatred and the Jews, Schocken, 2006. He also criticized the movie Schindler’s List for exploiting the Jews (Salon, Oct 24, 1997), so it’s very likely that he will bring a new view of The Diary.

When we will see the results is another question; Mamet is directing his new play, Race, which opens on Broadway in November.

Meanwhile Francine Prose’s book, one of the librarians’ picks of BEA, is a passionate fan’s analysis of the book and how it has been perceived through the years.

Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife
Francine Prose
Retail Price: $24.99
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Harper – (2009-10-01)
ISBN / EAN: 006143079X / 9780061430794

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