George Stevens' life-altering experience of witnessing the death camps after WWII was doubtless responsible for his desire to adapt the famed diary of the teenaged Jewish girl, played by Millie Perkins. With the feared 'Green Police' or Dutch Gestapo combing Amsterdam in search of Jews, Anne, her parents, Otto (Joseph Schildkraut) and Edith (Anna Huber) another Jewish family, the Van Daans, and a dentist Albert Dussell (Ed Wynn) take refuge for two years in a small attic provided by Gentile shop owners Kraler (Douglas Spencer) and Miep (Dody Heath). Despite their precarious situation, and the sense of claustrophobia created by having to live together in such crowded conditions, covering the windows during the day, and keeping as quiet as possible at all times, the families carry on as best they can. For Anne, her platonic romance with Peter Van Daan (Richard Beymer), the attractive son of often voluble parents, makes the experience more bearable than it is for the adults, whose sense of foreboding is palpable. By surrounding the inexperienced Perkins with a talented cast of veteran performers, which also includes Shelley Winters and Lou Jacobi, Stevens achieves a moving portrait of Frank's innocent precocity, with her ultimate fate the tragic subtext of this intensely compelling film.
Academy Awards Best Art Direction - Set Decoration (b&w) 1959
Academy Awards Best Supporting Actress 1959 Shelley Winters Oscar winning actress, THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK (1959)
Academy Awards Best Art Direction - Set Decoration (b&w) 1959 Lyle Wheeler Art Director
Academy Awards Best Cinematography 1959 William C. Mellor American Director of Photography