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directed by Robert Wiemer
USA 1983

 

Young Anna Hart (Martha Byrne, currently on TV's GENERAL HOSPITAL) is not your average child, not even among her classmates at a school for the gifted. She is already a genius and plans to be a physicist. She is encouraged in this by her scientist mother Sarah (Dina Merill, THE COURTSHIP OF EDDIE'S FATHER) - who has made a deal with the school to pay for anything her compulsively lying, kleptomaniac daughter steals - although her musician father Graham (Jack Ryland) and others at the school feel that expanding her interests might put her more in touch with her emotions (Graham is downright frightened of his daughter's seeming inhumanity). The arrival of new neighbor Michaela Dupont (Donna Mitchell, SYRIANA) causes Anna to have strange dreams seemingly taking place during World War II in which she hears a certain piece of music. She also dreams of being on a plane during a storm with a strange woman she hears herself addressing as "mother." The next day, she sees a news report about a crash landing in Philadelphia and sees a girl who looks exactly like her named Anna Smithson being interviewed. Her older brother Rowan (Mark Patton, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET PART 2: FREDDY'S REVENGE) does not believe her until he sees an article about the plane crash in the newspaper with a picture of this other Anna. They travel to Philadelphia to see her but her doctor mother claims not to have a daughter. On the way home, they are seemingly attacked by a cropduster (a la NORTH BY NORTHWEST) but escape. Their furious mother reveals to them that she was one of the women selected in a genetic experiment to clone late physicist Anna Zimmerman - who was working on a food replicator to end hunger before her death in a lab fire - from her cells and that Anna is one of the clones. Anna reacts badly to this revelation but, with the help of Rowan, is determined to become her own person.
Anna and Rowan discover more about Anna Zimmerman whose parents died in a Nazi concentration camp and was left in the care of a woman named Clara Muller who composed "Reverie" the music that haunts Anna's dreams (and which Michaela - who tells Anna that "music is the arithmetic of sound" - has a habit of playing on the piano at night and also has a music box which plays the piece). After Anna's latest medical exam, it is recommended that she be taken to a medical facility on Albacore Island for treatment where she makes a startling discovery. Rowan must sneak onto the island to rescue her. A young Loretta Devine (DEATH AT A FUNERAL) appears early on as one of Anna's schoolteachers and Jack Gilford (A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM) plays the sinister Dr. Jelliff. Based on a young adult novel by Mildred Ames, ANNA TO THE INFINITE POWER plays largely like one of those nifty seventies TV movies - the cast comes mainly from television - with a somewhat healthier budget (the more light-hearted THE HIDEAWAYS - the feature adaptation of E.L. Konigsburg's novel "From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler" is the closest equivalent I can think of). Where the film fails is in the family drama part of the plot. Although the strained relationship between siblings Anna and Rowan (who regrets telling his mother that the only reason he loved Anna was because he believed she was his sister) at the core of the film is moving, the parents split up and come back together conveniently for the plot (the husband isn't given much to do while the mother never comes across as entirely sympathetic). The plot is crowded but the film drags in spots with the sinister presence of Michaela disappearing largely from the middle of the film - largely concentrated on Anna and Rowan - with most of the "hospital arc" being pushed into the still-slow last half-hour or so of the 105 minute running time. The moving "Reverie" instrumental and vocal is effectively used throughout.

Eric Cotenas

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DVD Review: Scorpion Releasing - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Distribution

Scorpion Releasing

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:45:04
Video

1.31:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.38 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono)
Subtitles none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Scorpion Releasing

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.31:1

Edition Details:
• Interview with star Martha Byrne (16:9; 38:10)
• Audio Interview with Star Mark Patton (18:31)

DVD Release Date: April 27th, 2010
Amaray

Chapters 12

 

Comments

Scorpion's transfer is open matte and interlaced but the new copyright on the title card suggests the master dates from 1999. To counter these drawbacks, the feature has been given a dual-layer encoding (5.68 GB of the 7.59 GB disc total). The English mono audio is always clear but the digital cleanup makes itself known sometimes.

 

Star Martha Byrne provides a near 40 minute video interview in which she talks in detail about the film (she reveals that director Robert Wiemer was flying the cropduster), her work as a child actress before the film and her subsequent career (she points out that she also plays twins on the soap AS THE WORLD TURNS). She also discusses the differences between the film's and book's ending. Co-star Mark Patton provides an 18 minute phone interview (there is some distortion but his comments are always audible) and covers both the film and some of his other work (including the second NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET film for which he is perhaps best known).

  - Eric Cotenas

 



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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

Distribution

Scorpion Releasing

Region 0 - NTSC

 

 




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