Disney's Anne Frank is annote imaginary animated film released by Disney in the spring of 1989. It is very, very loosely based on The Diary of Anne Frank, but takes a lot of liberties with the source material, adding three talking animal sidekicks, a Nazi necromancer Femme Fatale, and a Happily Ever After ending.
Despite Disney's assurances that they understood the sensitivity of the source material, it was critically panned for its handling of the Holocaust, particularly the ending, where Anne liberates Auschwitz. It was a Box Office Bomb and was largely buried by Disney. There are reports that they would rather release Song of the South again before this movie.
This film has a rather fascinating behind the scenes history, though.note Basically, this movie was never actually made or conceived by Disney. The premise and poster were a joke used by Lindsay Ellis (The Nostalgia Chick) in her 5 Least Awful Disney Animated Sequels video to parody the Disneyfication of real events (such as Pocahontas), and serious-toned stories (such as The Hunchback of Notre Dame). All the names of real people associated with this movie are only used as satire. In short, there is no actual Disney's Anne Frank movie, and this page is Just for Fun. Please keep the sensitive nature of this topic in mind.note Feel free to add whatever you'd like, but the tone should be that of a sincere, but extremely misguided, effort by a studio that didn't think too hard about the Unfortunate Implications. And the number of characters, songs, etc, should be within the limits of an animated film. Otherwise, anything goes. Remember, this whole thing's just for fun — the film itself doesn't even exist. It was meant as a joke on the part of The Nostalgia Chick. We just took it and ran with it.
Compare other such unfortunate films as Titanic: The Legend Goes On, and The Legend of the Titanic.note These movies are real, though. So yeah, this page is a joke, but this sort of thing does happen. Also see Der Fuehrers Face, another WWII-themed Disney short that actually played before this movie during its brief theatrical run.
In late 2013, Israeli director Ari Folman, best known for his animated film Waltz with Bashir about the 1982 Lebanon War, announced his next project would be a more faithful adaptation of Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl, though it would still be a family-driven animated one.
Adaptation Dye-Job: Some of the promotional materials show that in the film's early stages, Anne was blonde. An animator, whose name still has not been revealed, said this should have been the moment when they realized this wasn't going to work.
Alan Smithee: The movie went through several directors during development and filming with all of them ultimately deciding to abandon the project which explains the film's uneven pacing and tones at points. Among the directors that worked on this project were Tim Burton (who left to work on Batman), Jerry Lewis, and Mel Brooks.
All Germans Are Nazis: Played straight, especially during the musical number "Life is Heil-arious!", which shows uniformed SS soldiers serving as policemen, train operators, even bakers. It actually has callbacks to Disney's propaganda cartoons Der Fuehrers Face and Education for Death.
Aluminum Christmas Trees: Sgt. Olga mentions that she's a member of the Thule Society, a real Nazi organization that investigated the occult. Of course, in real life, they didn't have actual magic powers.
America Wins the War: Surprisingly averted, in this version of the story the Jews just save themselves. The army that parades through Amsterdam in the final scene is American, though.
Lorenz and Marie-Rose Blanche are a very eighties couple, modeled after Real-Life Eighties Couple Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis, so they particularly fall into this trap. The two sing Mickey and Silvia's "Love Is Strange", a song that won't be released until fifteen years after the events of the film take place. Which in turn is referencing a movie about the Sixties that won't be released until forty-five years later.
Anthropomorphic Personification: Anne's diary, Kitty, is personified as a small girl with cat ears and fangs. An odd case, as she goes back and forth between being a person and being a book, oftentimes with no regard for context. For example, when Sgt. Olga takes her away, she's a book — but just a few frames prior, she'd been a human. Even more damning, we later see her locked up in a cage... as a human.
Arc Words: "Deep down, I believe everyone is good at heart."
"Living Free (Until the Nazis Find Us Again)" Even though, as pointed out in the Nostalgia Chick/Todd in the Shadows crossover "Top Ten Award Bait Disney Songs", "Living Free (Until the Nazis Find Us Again)" sounds suspiciously similar to Belinda Carlisle's "Heaven is a Place on Earth"...
Also, Marie-Rose Blanche's Chariots of Fire-style song "Endurance", which she sings as motivation during Anne's seize on Auschwitz.
The ending pop song was actually a top 40 hit, although has no official connection to this movie. The singer allegedly punched a reporter for even asking about it.
Some fans would argue that "The World I See (from My Secret Window)" as the preferred award-grabbing ballad.
Babies Ever After: While she lays dying, Marie-Rose Blanche tells Lorenz that she "left you something to remember me by". At the end of the film, before Anne and Petr leave for London, Anne and Petr bid Lorenz and Marie-Rose's mixed-species clutch of nestlings farewell. We also see Anne and Petr, along with what appears to be a human version of Lorenz and Marie-Rose, as beatnik-type married couples with children, during the '80s-music video-esque Disney Acid Sequence for "Leibchen."
Back-to-Back Badasses: When Sgt. Olga is forced to give Anne a gun to fight off the Zombies that eat her squad.
Badass Bookworm: Anne Frank. Lorenz the Stork qualifies, especially after the (apparent) fall of Marie-Rose Blanche.
Be Careful What You Wish For: Anne yells at her mother that she wishes that she would never see her again. Then she and Peter get captured...
Beam Me Up, Scotty!: Several lines which were supposed to be taken directly from Anne Frank's diary were misquoted.
Beta Couple: Lorenz and Marie-Rose Blanche. One of the rare Disney cases in which one of them dies (even though she does get better).
Big Lipped Alligator Moment: When Miep tries to cheer up Anne when her birthday turned out to be very disappointing, she leads into a big band musical number with a Disney Acid Sequence going on in the background. The whole thing is loud and bombastic to make Anne happy and flies directly into the face of the fact that at the start of the movie, Anne's father clearly stated that they had to try to be as quiet as possible.invoked
Busby Berkeley Number: The shower scene. Many have thought the number invokes Lyrical Dissonance, but listen carefully and you'll find that the backing vocals are actually a jazzed-up nursery rhyme about personal hygiene. Apparently the vocalists were never told they were singing as prisoners of war!
But Wait, There's More!: Disney, prior to the film's release, developed a plan for a sequel that would focus on Anne's fictional daughter Anya as she searches for her lost younger brother Claus in Cold War-era Berlin, while Stalin's right-hand man Colonel Polov Vlagavich tries to catch her. However, due to the severly disappointing reaction to the film by critics and audience members, production was quickly ended and the animated sequences that were completed were retrofitted into other Disney works.
There are, however, plans by a group of internet animators, musicians, and voice actors to make an unofficial fan production.
Paul McCartney has a very brief and uncredited one as Oskar Schindler. It's also rumored that he helped write and compose many of the movie's musical numbers, going uncredited to avoid potential backlash.
In traditional Disney fashion, there is a scene during the opening credits sweep of Anne Frank's home town where an orange tabby cat is visible that looks almost identical to Oliver. There's even an allude to a (then) future Disney film, Beauty and the Beast, where a clock in the background of Olga's office looks a lot like Cogsworth.
One of the rabbis in the scene where the zombies break into the synagogue looks an awful lot like Ichabod Crane with a mustache.
Michael Eisner in a split second cameo at the end as an unamed character in the background saying "somebody ought to make a movie about this".
Canon Discontinuity: Not listed in the official films by Disney. Reportedly, they even asked that this site not list it on our own Disney Animated Canon page. In fact, when Disney included the original trailer of The Little Mermaid among that movie's laserdisc bonus features, they had Mark Elliot redub part of it, so that it would refer to The Little Mermaid as movie #28, instead of #29. Nowadays that seems like the only version of the trailer they'll let the public see.
Cartoon Bomb: Thrown by Sgt. Olga to take out Anne and Peter at their second encounter; Miep jumps in front of Anne at the last second and throws it back to Olga, giving her and Ludvig Ash Faces, and allowing Anne and Peter to escape into a nearby building for more hijinx (see Paper Thin Disguise).
Catch Phrase: "Allright men, this is it... TIME TO CLEAN OUT THE ATTIC!"
Cats Are Mean: Petr's cat, Mouschi, tries to eat Miep, until Anne convinces them they should learn to get along.
Chekhov's Gag: In the scene where Sgt. Olga first threatens Anne, Miep can be seen burrowing into her sandwich.
Chekhov's Gun: An Auschiwtz guard literally named Chekov is shown to often forget his gun at the guard common room. In the climax, Chekov forgets his gun once again, allowing him and his commanding officer to get eaten as well as letting Anne obtain a weapon to fight off the zombies.
Chekhov's Skill: Early in the film, Anne is seen playing ping-pong with Margot and winning. Her skills come in handy later when the zombies start throwing grenades at her.
Anne's trip through the concentration camp, when bleeding to death. The music becomes minimal, the imagery becomes trippy all for it to suddenly become lighter and lighter when a hideous winged figure dances around Anne. The sequence ends with the beautiful, angel-like spirit of the fallen Marie-Rose appears to encourage Anne to live (and vice versa; see Crowning Moment of Heartwarming).
Josef Mengele's "Dance of the Grateful Flesh" is brief, but the psychodelic lights and the singing deformed victims must definitely invoke this.
Disney Princess: Although not even considered for that line, Urban Legends still persist that one can see Anne's outline in some of The Merch. She is however seen in a princess-like dress during the liberation from Auschwitz made from the blue striped pajamas.
Disney Villain Death: Subverted. The scene where Ludvig pushes Olga off the tower is shot like one, but Olga survives it. However, see Dragged Off to Hell below. Josef Mengele, on the other hand, is shot while flying 2,000 meters in the sky, so you can imagine how his demise was.
Does Not Like Shoes: Anne. Her father says that everyone must go barefoot in the attic so no-one will hear them. Not only does Anne gleefully take her shoes off and leave them off for the rest of the film, she also holds her bare foot up toward the camera and wiggles her toes. Rumor has it that scene was traced over for Ariel's discovery of her feet in The Little Mermaid.
Even Evil Has Standards: Josef Mengele actually hates Nazi dogma and was only using them to gather resources and power to ascend and unite all of mankind under his rule. Likewise, Olga and the other nazis are visibly repulsed by his ideals, although it's an extreme case of Blue and Orange Morality because they hate the fact that he will treat everyone equally.
Everything's Better with Princesses: Disney has stated that they are considering adding Anne to the lineup of Disney Princesses. Several recent preliminary sketches show Anne in a blue-and-silver striped satin gown (modeled on concentration camp attire) with gold star-of-David earrings and a matching gold pendant. However, Disney has said that if they go through with this (and really, they're having enough problems with perceptions of their accepted princesses) they will not have her holding a realistic weapon. One Disney cartoonist says that the company is considering having her hold a sparkly pink scroll with Hebrew lettering on it and calling it her Magical Mezuzah.
The Faceless: Adolf Hitler's face is kept off-screen Blofeld-style during his one small scene with Sgt. Olga. The song "I Used to be Ze Bad Guy" contains several references to his signature mustache, though.
Freudian Excuse: Sgt. Olga's hatred of the Jews stems from her early childhood, where her once wealthy family was ruined by her father's unscrupulous business partner. Her mother subsequently died of pneumonia and her father became a shell of his former self. Olga's older siblings claimed it was because the business partner was Jewish that he was evil, which warped the fragile young child into the monster Olga became. The business partner later became Olga's first experiment in necromancy.
Josef Mengele's implied mutilations and experiments.
One of the prisoners is heavily implied to be one of the many homosexual victims of the Nazi Regime.
Ghost Amnesia: Originally, Ludvig can't remember anything about his previous life, except his mother's face. Later, he is able to remember that Olga Hündin killed him and his mom, prompting his Heel-Face Turn.
A God Am I: Josef Mengele plans to become the "Great Archangel of Humanity", essentially becoming this as he would be worshiped by everyone.
Go Karting with Bowser: The Nazi top brass, Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin all attend a bar mitzvah together. They even sing together ("It's Tough at the Top", a song with one of the most lamentable hip-hop verses of all time).
Private Ludvig, right before he helps Anne and Peter break down the walls of Auschwitz. This is somewhat foreshadowed by Ludvig's often-overlooked, mournful solo acapella early in the film titled "Step by Stumbling Step (I Still Can't Find Mein Mutter)" where his characteristic mumbling is temporarily comically changed into an excellent singing voice. It also echoes the descent into racist fascism of the German state, not just in lyrics, moving from a cabaret style song into a grand marching rhythm.
Mr. Goebbels makes a more humorous but consequential turn late in the film.
Historical Beauty Update: Anne Frank. She certainly wasn't unattractive, but here she looks like one of the Disney Princesses.
In Name Only: In Real Life, Fritz Pfeffer was in his fifties when he hid out with the Franks and van Pels. Here, he's made into a teenager, apparently for no other reason than to Pair the Spares with Margot. Oy.
"I Want" Song: Anne sings about being free from the suffering her family experiences in a song called "Living Free".
Kick the Dog: When the chips go down, Olga attempts to sacrifice her own dog, Mr. Goebbels, to gain a last shred of necromantic power. The Dog Bites Back: Mr. Goebbels gets revenge by piddling on her ritual circle, culminating in Olga getting dragged down to Hell.
Mood Whiplash: Anne and Sgt. Olga's first encounter is expository; their second encounter is slapsticky and played for laughs; their third and subsequent encounters are played for serious drama (especially when Anne is shot).
Montage: Anne and her family clean up the attic to the song "Life Up Above".
MST3K Mantra: Invoked by then Disney CEO Michael Eisner after early criticisms of the movie; sadly, the re-branding to Touchstone Pictures did little to help.
Must Have Caffeine: The captured American fighter pilot that Anne and Klaus the rooster rescue from Mengele's dungeon spends most of his on-screen time complaining about the lack of coffee, and wondering why Anne can't produce some for him. In the end, he is finally seen with his coffee.
And his villainous counterpart Mr. Goebbels the dachshund for Sgt. Olga.
Petr has Mouschi the cat.
No Swastikas: All swastikas are replaced by black X's, including the one on Sgt. Olga's sleeve. The word "Nazi" is absent, except (weirdly) in the song numbers — most notably "Free Again". The X's may be a reference to The Great Dictator, another movie that treats the holocaust in a humorous fashion, albeit much more successfully.
Off Model: All over the place, especially on Anne's parents during the song "Block Party."
Our Angels Are Different: A common theory is that that it was an angel that saved Anne from death. The angel is very very biblical. Josef Mengele turns out to be an angel as well. Strangely enough, he adheres to the original Eldritch Abomination depictions of angels, being a swan with seven wings completely covered with blue eyes.
Pimped-Out Dress: Not in the film, but seen in the leaked promotional materials. Apparently, they just never found a good justification to have her wear it, with even a Dream Ballet sequence being scrapped.
A mouse as a sidekick may be a nod to the graphic novel Maus, also dealing with World War II oppression. A few scenes seem to pay homage to the work too, for the attentive comic fan.
During the flashback of how Ludvig was reborn, the scientists both have "Herr Dr. MD" on the backs of their uniforms, as an homage to how Mel Brooks (the lyricist of this film) always wore the same thing whenever he played a scientist!
Spell My Name with an S: Several German names are butchered, so as not to confuse the poor English speakers. Most commonly replacing w's with v's (such as in Ludvig, native German Ludwig) but the most weird change has got to be "Harry" which is spelled "Flavius" in native German.
One of Mel Brooks' contributions was a version of the trope namer being sung by various townspeople in the opening credits, concluding with the Frank family themselves.
Rumor has it Molly Ringwald knew what kind of movie she was getting involved in, and decided to make her performance intentionally hammy. It didn't work out as she anticipated, and there was even talk of a Razzie nomination for Worst Actress of the Decade.
Villainous Breakdown: A short scene near the end, of Sgt. Olga ranting at those under her command, has some uncanny similarity to the famous "Hitler Reacts" scene from Downfall (so far, no parody videos have shown up).