Released May 21, 1982
Annie was one of the few movie musicals of its time, the early 1980s. It is based on the Broadway musical which in turn was based on the comic strip Little Orphan Annie. The movie was a crowd pleaser and a box office success.
The subject is one pertinent to the Depression but is given a popular working over. Little orphan Annie gets the chance to spend a week with a billionaire tycoon in his lavish mansion in New York, where he lives as a single older man. Some have said the story does not deal with the realities of orphan kids at the time and may be in an insult to them, as Daddy Warbucks merely sees a week with Annie as a publicity opportunity. Annie does work her way into Warbuck’s heart, and the week is prolonged. Mere fantasy, speculation on the possibilities of helping the poorer folk, or is Annie just sheer entertainment that has a very subtle intelligence about the issues an orphan faces?
On watching this, I am won over. I enjoyed every minute. It is good entertainment. I was surprised how much I liked, as before viewing it was not a film where my instincts laid. I found a film of colourful performance.
As Annie, the ability Aileen Quinn has for audiences to come on her side including this viewer is an endearing gift. This sparkly red headed girl is so tough and resilient she can stand up to the taller ones in the orphanage she’s been in for ten years.
Business obsessed Daddy Warbucks is tough, but tender and loveable, who gets to sing and do a bit of dancing, with Albert Finney morphing into the role. The shady ‘matron’ (read: villain) of the orphanage – where less than half of the film is set – is played so down in the dumps she goes to the bottle, ‘collects’ jewellery, and picks up males for cheap flings (which are hinted at), while longing for real love. Carol Burnett is completely convincing in this role which is played with just the right amount of light.
Annie is a big song and dance movie. “Hard Knock Life” and “Tomorrow” are memorable tunes. The rest of the songs are palatable and the dancing without a wrong foot put forward. All-together, this musical comes together well, ably directed by John Huston. The film’s emotional cues are all together healthy (although there is a little mild profanity) and the film is uplifting and feel-good.
Reviewed by Peter Veugelaers.