Anna to the Infinite Power
|Anna to the Infinite Power|
|Directed by||Robert Wiemer|
|Produced by||Bruce Graham|
|Written by||Robert Wiemer
|Music by||Paul Baillargeon|
|Edited by||Peter Hammer|
|Distributed by||RCA/Columbia Pictures Home Entertainment (video)
Scorpion Releasing (DVD)
Anna to the Infinite Power is a 1982 science-fiction thriller film about a young teenager who learns that she was the product of a cloning experiment. The film was based on the novel of the same name by Mildred Ames. It was produced by Ned Kandell Enterprises and Film Gallery, previously responsible for the American syndicated children's series Big Blue Marble, and many alumni from that program worked on the film. The film was never released theatrically, but premiered on the pay-cable service HBO and later appeared on home video. The film's signature score "Anna's Reverie" was composed by Paul Baillargeon, who wrote the music for the film and has a cameo in which he plays the music teacher of Anna's brother Rowan.
Twelve-year-old Anna Hart of Flemington, New Jersey, a student at a school for gifted children is a genius and a kleptomaniac who insults her teachers, gets headaches when she stares at fires and flickering lights, and suffers from strange prophetic dreams. Simultaneously, several strange things begin to happen. A mysterious neighbor named Michaela Dupont (a piano teacher who has been watching Anna, and has kept photos of her and of another girl taken in 1970 who much resembles Anna) moves in next door. Then Anna sees her exact double on local TV news when a commuter plane makes a forced landing nearby, and learns that her double, Anna Smithson, has the same family setting as hers—the child of a scientist and a musician.
As Anna investigates, she learns about a woman named Anna Zimmerman, who has been dead for 20 years, and that she herself was part of a cloning experiment by Zimmerman who would grow into a duplicate of Zimmerman herself, right down to the traits Anna shares with her. It also turns out that Anna's mother volunteered for the cloning project but the father wanted nothing to do with it. We also learn, through Anna's dreams, of Zimmerman's past; growing up during World War II as a Jew in Nazi-controlled Germany, where she, like the present Anna, was a pianist and child prodigy who would play a part in the Nazis' plans for the genetic engineering of humans.
But, just as the current Anna is beginning to act normal and learn more about her background—thanks in part to her brother Rowan and to secret assistance from Michaela—we also learn of six other Annas, this after her mother told her that they (the people involved with the cloning project) wanted to re-evaluate Anna for a few days at a facility at Albacore Island. While there, Anna becomes suspicious when the phone in her room is blocked. Also, as she snoops around she notices the experiments they are performing. When Rowan has not heard from Anna, he sneaks into the facility to see his sister. Anna and Rowan confront Dr. Henry Jelliff, the person who kept Zimmerman's genetic cloning experiments alive at Albacore Island, who tells her that she is now a 'normal' person and suggests that she should change her name as a way to start a new life. But, after Anna and her brother were free to go, Jelliff reveals to Michaela, whom he suspected was not following her assignments, that he is secretly grooming yet another Anna to grow up to become the future Zimmerman; they plan to kill the remaining five Annas, including Hart and her family, shortly.
Jelliff's plans to eliminate the girls backfire when Michaela reveals herself to him as Anna Parkhurst, the original product of Zimmerman's cloning experiment (she was the other girl that resembled Anna in the 1970 photo from the beginning of the film); and, like her mother/creator, she knows how to create the replicator. Because Jelliff had her parents killed and because she is enraged by the experiments, the adult Anna turns the table on him by offering him the plans for the replicator in return for the safety of all of the Annas. The film ends with Jeliff considering Michaela/Anna's offer.
- Dina Merrill - Sarah Hart
- Martha Byrne - Anna Hart/Anna Smithson/Anna Zimmerman/Eve
- Mark Patton - Rowan Hart
- Donna Mitchell - Michaela Dupont/Anna Parkhurst
- Jack Ryland - Graham Hart
- Loretta Devine - Ms. Benson
- Jack Gilford - Dr. Jelliff
- Gail Weed - Clara
- Virginia Stevens - Nurse Grap
- Marilyn Rockafellow - Mrs. Smithson
- John Wardwell - Farmer
- Susan Lowden - TV Newscaster
- Warren Watson - Dr. Barrett
- James Louis Fleming - Dr. Randall
- Julie Araskog - Nurse
- Kent Cottingham, Marshall Wieme - Furniture movers
- Stuart Cole, Gary Mitchel - Albacore security guards
- Paul Baillargeon - Rowan's music teacher
Calling it "[a]n oddly engrossing cult item — sort of a Brady Bunch episode about cloning," TV Guide critic Frank Lovece, reviewing the VHS release, said that, "While the direction and cinematography are flat and the acting wooden, it's precisely this home-movie quality, this banal ordinariness, that makes the film's sinister, conspiratorial undertones all the more believably compelling" and that it climaxed with "a paranoid-conspiracy sequence that, unlike the rest of the movie, delivers some genuine suspense." Reviewing the DVD release, Mac McEntire of DVD Verdict, agreed that, "The final third of the movie, taking place in the oddball futuristic medical complex, generates a serious sense of paranoia, and has some suspenseful scenes of Anna sneaking around, just a few steps ahead of getting caught," but found "the pacing is off" and the ending "abrupt," and that the film overall "looks and feels just like one of those '70s TV cult shlockers like Bad Ronald and Don't Be Afraid of the Dark." He found Byrne's performance "just low-key enough to be realistic and heartfelt without being cutesy or annoying."
In 1983 or 1984, RCA/Columbia Pictures Home Entertainment released the film on VHS video cassette. In 2010, Scorpion Releasing released the film on DVD with interviews with Martha Byrne and Mark Patton.
The opening credits of the television series Big Blue Marble can also be seen in the film; the show's production company also co-produced this film.
In popular culture
- "Anna to the Infinite Power Cast & Details". TVGuide.com. Retrieved February 9, 2013.
- "Martha Byrne". CBS News. Retrieved February 9, 2013.
- "What's on TV". HBO schedule via The Ponchatoula Times. November 8, 1983. Archived from the original on February 9, 2013. Retrieved February 9, 2013.
- Lovece, Frank. "Anna To The Infinite Power: Review". TVGuide.com. Retrieved February 9, 2013.
- McEntire, Mac (October 15, 2010). "Anna To The Infinite Power". DVD Verdict. Retrieved February 9, 2013.
- "Anna to the Infinite Power". WorldCat (RCA/Columbia 1983 entry). Retrieved February 9, 2013.
- "Anna to the Infinite Power". WorldCat (RCA/Columbia 1984 entry). Retrieved February 9, 2013.
- "Anna to the Infinite Power". WorldCat (Scorpion Releasing entry). Retrieved February 9, 2013.
- "Family Tree > Anna to the Infinite Power". Reluctant Beating. Retrieved February 9, 2013.