Annie (1982)

[Note: The following review is of a non-Guide for the Film Fanatic title; click here to read more.]

“Why any kid would want to be an orphan is beyond me…”

[Note: The following review is of a non-Peary title; click here to read more.]

Annie Poster

Synopsis:
During the Great Depression, a plucky orphan named Annie (Aileen Quinn) is rescued from the clutches of her evil caretaker (Carol Burnett) by the secretary (Ann Reinking) of a crusty billionaire (Albert Finney), who agrees to help her find her long-lost parents — but Annie’s life is put in danger when a pair of con-artists (Tim Curry and Bernadette Peters) collude with Miss Hannigan (Burnett) to nab the $50,000 award offered by Daddy Warbucks (Finney).

Genres:

  • Albert Finney Films
  • Carol Burnett Films
  • Con-Artists
  • Depression Era
  • John Huston Films
  • Millionaires
  • Musicals
  • Orphans

Review:
John Huston’s mega-million-dollar film adaptation of the long-running Broadway musical Annie received decidedly mixed reviews upon its release, with Vincent Canby of the NY Times calling it “a nearly perfect Music Hall picture — big, colorful, slightly vulgar, occasionally boring and full of talent not always used to its limits”, and Roger Ebert noting that “in the abstract, [it’s] fun… but in the particular, it has all sorts of problems”. Even those who adored Annie as children (and can break into any one of its catchy tunes without missing a beat) generally concede that it’s a flawed picture; it’s currently rated at only 36 points on Metacritic, and director John Huston — this was his one and only foray into musicals — was nominated for a Razzie! Perhaps not surprisingly, Annie is missing from Peary’s book — but I’m reviewing it here simply because it’s achieved such a cult status over the years.

Unknown (then and now) Aileen Quinn was selected among thousands of applicants for the lead role, and does a memorable job; her voice is strong and clear, and while she’s no great actress, she projects just the right amount of spunk and vitality. (Note, however, that she won a Razzie as worst supporting actress of the year.) Film fanatics will likely enjoy seeing both bald-pated Albert Finney as the crusty yet malleable Daddy Warbucks, and Carol Burnett’s hilariously over-the-top performance as Miss Hannigan (my favorite moment: Hannigan drunkenly takes a sip of water from a vase full of flowers). And the story itself remains undeniably seductive: what kid — orphan or not — wouldn’t want to be adopted by the wealthiest person in the world?

P.S. Among those considered for the key roles in Annie were Bette Midler as Miss Hannigan, Jack Nicholson as Daddy Warbucks, and Drew Barrymore as Annie herself. Interestingly, any one of these possibilities seems like a plausible choice.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Albert Finney as Daddy Warbucks
    Annie Finney
  • Carol Burnett as Miss Hannigan
    Annie Burnett
  • A catchy roster of tunes

Must See?
Yes, simply as a cult favorite.

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