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John Huston directed this screen version of the Broadway musical based on the long-running comic strip 'Little Orphan Annie'. Annie (Aileen Quinn) lives a miserable life in an orphanage run by the cruel Miss Hannigan (Carol Burnett). A chance of escape and happiness comes Annie's way when she meets billionaire 'Daddy' Warbucks (Albert Finney), but Hannigan and her colleagues soon conspire to get Annie back.
Though it's not in the same league as the classic screen musicals, Annie's heartwarming rags-to-riches storyline, social comment (shallow as it may be) and catchy songs make for an entertaining and unpretentious 90 minutes' viewing. Aileen Quinn is the irrepressible titular orphan, by no means as irritating as she looks in the cover picture; Albert Finney is Oliver Warbucks, the tyrannical tycoon (with a hidden heart of gold, of course) who adopts her for a week in the interests of good PR. The real show-stopper, though, is Carol Burnett as the gin-soaked harpy Miss Hannigan, ruling with an iron fist over an orphanage full of unruly girls, flirting with every man in sight and eventually scheming with her unscrupulous brother (Tim Curry) to kidnap Annie and reap a fat Warbucks reward cheque. While the songs--including "Tomorrow", "You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile" and "It's a Hard Knock Life"--are excellent, the kids' voices are shrill and the production pretty low-rent: Annie is very obviously a stage show brought to screen on a low budget. But while it lacks the polish that make the Rodgers and Hammerstein and Lerner and Loewe musicals so special, it's funny and sweet and has a rough charm all its own.
On the DVD: The film is presented in widescreen, preserving its original 2.35:1 aspect, and is enhanced for 16:9 widescreen TVs; the soundtrack is Dolby surround, though as noted above the music score is relatively rough and ready so top-notch sound isn't actually as important as it would be in other musicals. The extras are pretty disappointing--an uninspired interactive menu features only the obligatory multi-language subtitles, (very) short biographies of the key cast members, a few publicity cards and posters, the theatrical trailer and--most interestingly--an isolated musical score. No commentary from director John Huston, no documentaries, nothing about the 1930s cartoon strip that was, apparently, one of the most popular of its day. There's actually more information in the accompanying booklet than there is on the disc. --Rikki Price
- Actors: Aileen Quinn, Albert Finney, Carol Burnett, Ann Reinking, Tim Curry
- Directors: John Huston
- Writers: Carol Sobieski, Harold Gray, Thomas Meehan
- Producers: Carol Sobieski, Joe Layton, Ray Stark
- Format: PAL
- Language: English, French
- Subtitles: English, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Hindi, Portuguese, Turkish, Danish, Icelandic, Bulgarian, Swedish, Hungarian, Polish, Dutch, Arabic, Finnish, Czech, Greek
- Dubbed: German, Italian, Spanish
- Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1
- Number of discs: 1
- Classification: U
- Studio: Columbia Tristar
- DVD Release Date: 11 Dec. 2000
- Run Time: 122 minutes
Annie was a film that I had enjoyed right throughout my young years, to the extent that I had worn out three VHS tapes of the show. I love this film to to this day and always felt it emanated a feeling of warmth and security into a childs heart, with the unknowing contrast of a child who is comfortable in a well off society to that of the lives of little Annie, Molly and Duffy. This production allowed me as a child to see the poorer side of life, not in a frightened manner but one which could be filled with ones own happiness.
A truly delightful film for all to watch, it touched my heart then and continues to. The songs are great too, my favorite being Maybe, the thoughts of an orphans dream of meeting her parents. I love it!!!
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