September 22 is Dear Diary Day. Whether you call it a diary or journal or blog or vlog or just plain old Dear Log as Lisa Simpson does (an address that never fails to spark vocal laughter on my part much to the wonder of my family who have never shared my appreciation for the humor inherent in Lisa calling her diary Dear Log) , this is the day to observe, celebrate and commemorate your commitment to preserving your past. Join the ranks of such esteemed peers as the very Samuel Pepys (whose name sounds nothing at all like how it’s spelled) and the slightly less real Bridge Jones in making sure that you never forget a single moment of your life. And at the end of September 22, be sure to add a note that you caught one or more of these movies about other chronographers.
The Diary of Anne Frank
Arguably the most famous movie based on the entries in a real life diary ever made. “The Diary of Anne Frank” is remarkable for several reasons including its portrait of Anne as a rather annoying child. Perhaps the fact that Anne Frank as presented in the movie based on her dear diary as something far less than saintly is the point. Imagine all the tiny little daily irritations that came to mean so very little as your days are spent in cramped confinement just trying not to be discovered by Nazis all around you.
It may not contain or even reference the word diary in its title, but don’t be mistaken: “Dracula” is a movie made up of a pages from various written accounts of its characters. What we know of Dracula’s castles and his ravenous brides we known only on account of Jonathan Harker’s diary. Any version of “Dracula” will do since they all depend on the feeding of a journal by a diligent writer to allow us to know what took place.
The Crime Doctor’s Diary
At the opposite end from “Dracula” are those movies with diary in the title but precious little reference to any journaling taking place within the narrative. I include “The Crime Doctor’s Diary” primarily because this is a fascinating little movie series from the 1940s that has been overlooked in just about all writings on film series from that studio age of Hollywood. What I really like about the “Crime Doctor” series is its playful sense of subversiveness in how characters at the mercy of the law view actual members of the police.
Diary of a Mad Housewife
Here’s another example of a movie that is appropriate for Dear Diary Day for reasons other than that it illuminates the process of daily logging in what happened during the previous 24 hours. You won’t much of an actual diary in “Diary of a Mad Housewife” but this movie that made a much greater impact on the world during its initial release than you might suspect from its relatively unseen status today has gone on to make an even greater impact upon a generation of moviegoers who have absolutely no familiarity with it. The real legacy of “Diary of a Mad Housewife” is the way that its title has been co-opted to provide later filmmakers with easy accessibility to their own movie diaries of mad black women, mad old men, mad black men and mad independent filmmakers.
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