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David Mamet remaking 'The Diary of Anne Frank'

August 12, 2009 |  1:42 pm

Pulitzer-winning playwright David Mamet ("Glengarry Glen Ross") is scripting and directing a big-screen version of "The Diary of Anne Frank" for Disney. The true story of a young girl and her family hiding from the Nazis was first adapted as a stage play in 1955 by husband and wife writing team Albert Hackett and Frances Goodrich.

Shelley Winters Diary of Anne Frank Oscars Entertainment News 1357986 The pair won the Pulitzer for their delicate treatment of the story. This original production of "The Diary of Anne Frank" also won the Tony as best play and contended for four other awards including best actress for Susan Strasberg in the title role – she lost to Julie Harris who won the second of her eventual record five Tonys for "The Lark" – and for helmer Garson Kanin

The playwrights handled scripting duties for both the 1959 film version as well as both the 1967 and 1980 TV movies of "The Diary of Anne Frank." They were old hands in Hollywood with four Oscar nods for their work on "The Thin Man" (1934), "After the Thin Man" (1936), "Father of the Bride" (1950) and "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" (1955). While they were not nominated for their screenplay, the film contended for eight Oscars including best picture.

"Anne Frank" helmer George Stevens picked up his fifth and final directing nod, after wins for "A Place in the Sun" (1951) and "Giant" (1956). He was bested by William Wyler who was part of the sweep for "Ben-Hur" which took home a record 11 Oscars including the top prize.

"Anne Frank" did win for both art direction and cinematography in the black and white division as well as the first of two supporting actress Oscars for Shelley Winters for her change-of-pace performance as Mrs. Van Daan. The actress donated this Academy Award to the Anne Frank House museum in Amsterdam in 1975, fulfilling a promise she had made to family patriarch Otto Frank when he visited the set during filming. 

In the 1998 Broadway revival headlined by Natalie Portman, Linda Lavin earned a Tony nod for that same role but lost to Anna Manahan ("The Beauty Queen of Lenanne"). And the show lost the revival race to "A View from the Bridge." Neither TV movie was a major Emmy contender, though the 1980 version – starring Melissa Gilbert – did vie for the Golden Globe losing the TV movie race to "The Shadow Box," the play version of which had won both the Pulitzer and Tony in 1977.

Photo: AMPAS

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