ANNA TO THE INFINITE POWER
US, 1984, 101 minutes, Colour.
Dina Merrill, Martha Byrne, Mark Patton. Jack Gilford.
Directed by Robert Weimar.
Anna to the Infinite Power is an unusual science fiction film. It concerns cloning, a famous German scientist able to clone images of herself who were to be excellent scientists in the United States. The film focuses on one of these clones, her precociousness, discovery of the truth and her having to cope. The experiment fails and she has the opportunity to be an ordinary girl. Martha Byrne is very good as the precocious Anna. Dina Merrill is her scientist mother who partook of the experiment. Mark Patton is very good as her antagonistic yet sympathetic brother. Jack Gilford is the doctor. The film focuses on human themes and raises the questions of cloning. Easily entertaining - but raising questions.
1. Interesting drama? Science fiction? Family themes?
2. The American city? Suburbs? Technological institutions? The special effects? Musical score? The theme `Reverie'?
3. The title and the references to Anna, the various Annas, the infinity of cloning?
4. Plausibility of the plot? Anna Zimmerman as a scientist? Her skills in developing cloning? The participation of the mothers? The birth of the clones? Their growth? The failure of the experiment with most? One success? The doctors and the ethical issues? Their decisions - and the dilemma at the end?
5. The suggestions of Anna Zimmerman's past: the '30s, Germany, persecution of the Jews, the composition of the music, the concentration camp? Deaths? The indication that an Anna of the '50s disappeared?
6. Anna Hart at school, her stealing, her lies? Tension in class? Her precocity and vanity? Science and maths? mechanical playing of the piano? Her mother excusing her? Her father's exasperation? Rowan and his dislike of his sister? The tensions in the house? Her having to go to the doctor every two months? Her dreams and the plane crashing? The discovery of the survival of Anna Smithson? Persuading Rowan to go to see them? Her confiding the truth? Her discussions with her mother, the discovery of the truth? Her qualities of Anna Zimmerman? No information on the computer? Getting Rowan's help? Michaela and her arrival, coaching her for the piano? Her mother and father's clashes and the father leaving? Rowan and his helping her, gradually loving her? Her going to the institute, his rescuing her? The confrontation of Dr Jeliff?
7. The other Annas, their being placed in the institution, the possibilities of their deaths? The irony of Michaela being a successful clone? The one young successful clone? Michaela's offering of the choices to Dr Jeliff?
8. Moral issues, ethical issues? The identity of the clones? Their own personalities or not? Anna Hart and the others lessening the influence of Anna Zimmerman and becoming individuals? More emotions, enjoyment of life, lesser grades in school?
9. Anna's parents: her father and his musical skills? Her mother and her dedication to science, getting her daughter dedicated? The truth? The clash between the parents? Rowan and his having to cope? Their becoming more of a family? Anna and her becoming more normal? Happily being reunited at the end - and the irony of Dr Jeliff's choice?
10. Rowan, as son and brother, dislike of his sister, yet helping her? The happy scenes together? Her becoming human, his confronting her? His coming to her rescue, giving up his recital?
11. Michaela, her piano skills? Reverie? Helping Anna, trying to humanise her - and her being able to differentiate the other Annas? The only one not spoilt was the one that she had not contacted?
12. The contrast between the worlds of science and the world of music and the arts?
13. Enjoyable family drama? Science fiction? Gently told as a domestic story?