2 July 2006 | moonspinner55
Hugely disappointing movie-version of Patty/Anna's autobiography...
Actress Patty Duke wrote an insightful, funny, rough-hewn book about her career as an actress, her crazy-quilt love-life, and her manic depressive episodes and suicide attempts which almost put her away for good. With this rich material to draw from (and Patty playing herself in the final act), one would think a crack TV-director like Gilbert Cates could bring it all together on film, but "Call Me Anna" is a pale shadow of Duke's autobiography. For those who haven't read the book, the sketchy narrative (leaping forward in time) isn't absorbing, we are never allowed to get our bearings with what's happening, and the production seems stunted by a low budget. The actors are miscast, and the value of having Duke herself finally appear does not pay off--the film's phony reality is so thick at this point that Patty can't bring stability to the scenario. It appears as if the producers were sincere enough (and consciousness-minded) to anxiously steer the film towards Duke's ultimate diagnosis and mental freedom, but they left out many dramatic opportunities in the process.