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DVD Review: Anna Nicole Smith – Her Final Hours

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There are so many opinions about Anna Nicole Smith and so many of them are negative. Anyone who has picked up a gossip magazine can tell you something about her, and some will tell you at great length. I always liked Anna Nicole, in the way one can like someone from afar. She reminded me of a little girl lost who somehow got found in a very beneficial way. I sympathized when her son died, and enjoyed the news of her daughter’s birth. I suppose what I really liked about Anna Nicole was the bigger-than-life, damn-you-all-it’s-my-business way she had of conducting her affairs. She had also reinvented herself, creating a fabulously glamorous and beautiful persona.

The news on February 7, 2007, about her passing was sad. Anna Nicole was someone who, like Paris Hilton and the Kardashians, was famous because she was famous. She’d been a very successful model, but it was her personal life and affiliations that made her known. In some ways reminiscent of the socialite of days gone by, Anna Nicole embodied a special classification of “celebrity.” Her fame—or notoriety—became a burden that opened up every sad moment in the last years of her life to public scrutiny, thereby multiplying the personal pain.

Final 24, the series for which Anna Nicole Smith – Her Final Hours was originally produced, bills itself as “a fresh and revealing alternative biography series that unlocks the hidden secrets, psychological flaws and trigger events that led to the tragic deaths of eight global icons.” Incorporating archival material and re-enactments, it examines birth-to-death biographies, with the emphasis on death. In cases where death was due to a violent event (e.g. Gianni Versace) or dramatic accident (JFK, Jr.), the last 24 hours may be just another day in the life, until the life-taking event occurs.

During Anna Nicole Smith’s last 24 hours she was ill, and did not leave her hotel room. She had gone to Florida to buy a yacht, but was too sick with flu to follow through on that plan. She was also suffering from an “intestinal infection” and blood poisoning which was the result of abscesses caused by frequent, self-administered injections of human growth hormone used to help maintain her looks. She had fallen in the bathtub and was weak with illness. She could not even walk to the bathroom by herself; she lacked the strength and needed assistance to get there. If all that weren’t enough, her autopsy revealed the presence of nine prescription drugs at therapeutic levels. Certainly the combination of illness and medication led to cardiac arrest.

Instead of a normal day in the life of a celebrity (that happens to end in death), the last day of Anna Nicole Smith’s life was a sick day. Detailing the various comings and goings of her entourage does nothing to lessen the impression that the viewer is seeing things that were not meant to be seen by the public (even though they are only a dramatization). There is a creepy, "peeping Tom" atmosphere that pervades the viewing experience. There is also a sense that the production fails to make something that is essentially not interesting (Anna sleeping, Anna watching television, more sleeping) into something riveting. Really, Anna Nicole’s last 24 hours boil down to this: “She was sick and she died.”

Interviews with Anna Nicole’s family, friends, bodyguard, and associates provide details of her meteoric rise and her appetite for more of everything. The emphasis seems to be on the negative aspects of her life, despite the fact that she was enormously successful. Excessive partying, outrageous appetites, and poor judgment are areas on which Anna Nicole Smith – Her Final Hours concentrates its attention, drawing a somewhat uneven picture of the girl who just wanted attention. (And money. Lots of both.)

In the end, one learns what one originally suspected about Anna Nicole Smith. She was a lost soul—someone who craved love and attention but was never certain she was getting it, and was never satisfied with what she got. The wonderful times of her life—her spotlight moments—were overshadowed by her insecurity. This sad little girl was dependent on drugs, alcohol, and fame to make her life tolerable. Though loved by many, she was lost to all. Anna Nicole Smith was one of the most dramatically beautiful women of her generation which is why she is remembered as a dead crush.

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About Miss Bob Etier

  • noodlemonkey

    First of all, I find the premise of the show a little bit disturbing. Of course, I found almost everything about her life–and those with whom she spent her life–a little bit disturbing…

  • Geek Grrrrrl

    God, I loved her so much. And she died way too soon. I once wrote an article about her when she died. It seems like all the glamour girls just burned too bright and too fast.

  • tom

    Very beautiful and well written review.