Anne Frank (ABC)
2001 | Touchstone Television
Of the millions of Jews murdered during the Holocaust, many were children, and Anne Frank stands out as their voice. In Anne Frank, based on the biography by Melissa Müller, produced by Touchstone Television and presented on ABC, we are given a glimpse of Anne’s life far more complete than previous accounts of her well-known story. Viewers are led through Anne’s carefree childhood before the war with scenes from her school, vacations at the beach, and elaborate birthday parties. The program explores her complex relationship with her parents—always close to her beloved father, but constantly at odds with her mother. We are made to feel her teen-age anxieties, complicated with the German occupation of Amsterdam. When the family is forced to hide from the Nazis in the Secret Annex, viewers begin to discover a deeper, more mature Anne as she expresses her innermost feelings to her diary, and to her confidante Peter Van Pels. During the months in hiding Anne struggles with her feelings about her mother, and begins a tenuous relationship that will only strengthen in the months to come. On August 4, 1944, Anne’s life and hopes are shattered when those in the Secret Annex are arrested by the Gestapo. Anne Frank culminates with the terrible events that befall Anne and her family and friends as they are sent through various concentration camps to their ultimate demise. Of the eight occupants from the Secret Annex, only one person survives—Anne’s father, Otto. Working within meticulously recreated locations is an outstanding cast including fourteen-year-old Hannah Taylor Gordon as Anne, Ben Kingsley as her father, Otto, Tatjana Blacher as her mother, Edith, Brenda Blethyn as Mrs. Van Pels, and Lili Taylor as their trusted friend and protector, Miep. This exceptionally touching and in-depth presentation of Anne Frank’s life also results from the efforts of Executive Producer Hans Proppe, Producer David Kappes, Director Robert Dornhelm, and Co-Producer/Writer Kirk Ellis. For so thoroughly documenting a life we thought we already knew, a Peabody Award goes to Anne Frank.