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Annie Movie Review

Annie Movie Review

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Finally for today, then, we move onto 1982, for John Huston’s musical comedy-drama ‘Annie’. It’s based on a 1977 Broadway musical of the same name, which itself in turn was based on the Little Orphan Annie comic strip created by Harold Grey.

So in essence, we actually have a comic-character adaptation here, and, rather like ‘Oliver’, our protagonist is once again a rather hapless orphan. And though they share that plot backbone and a musical DNA, The films ‘Oliver!’ and ‘Annie’ really couldn’t be more different.

The dark, dank corners of Oliver’s olden-day London street life are, in Annie, replaced with bright Manhattan mansions, illustrious theaters and expansive boulevards. Despite being set almost 100 years ago (and filmed some 40 years ago), this film still somehow feels dazzlingly modern.

Our eponymous little heroine this time takes to the streets of 1933 depression-era New York city, making new friends, but also encountering a plethora of nasty, duplicitous characters in her search for a home to call her own.

Well it’s hard to overstate the touching sincerity of this story, anchored by a brave and sweet central performance, by child actress Ayleen Quinn, as little Annie.

But she’s ably supported here by several strong adult performances, including the late, great Albert Finney, who takes on a brave singing role as the initially heartless business tycoon Daddy Warbucks.

Really, this is some of Albert Finney’s finest work, from his already amazing filmography. Perhaps even more memorable, though, is Caroll Burnett’s superb role as the eternally tipsy Miss Hannigan, the bitter old spinster who runs the orphanage where Annie and her friends are trapped.

Really, this is breathtaking comedy acting by Burnett. Sensationally fun stuff. Another name making a strong show here is Tim Curry as Rooster. You might recognise Curry’s name, he’s performed in a long list of TV and film productions over the years, including as the creepy clown Pennywise in the 1990 TV Series adapted from Stephen King’s book ‘It’ (not to be confused with the 2017 feature film of the same name). But here in Annie, Tim Curry is on delightful form:

Well, Annie was remade in a 2014 version, starring Jamie Foxx and Cameron Diaz, which it has to be said, received somewhat lukewarm reviews. So I heartily recommend that you begin with the original 1982 film version. Thematically about the plight of young people seeking a home in a heartless world, it’s a blazingly large-scale production with several huge film sets. ‘Annie’ will warm the cockles of your heart, and then some. And once again, you’ll be hard-pressed to go the distance in this movie with a dry eye.

Movie Rating: 4 / 5

This Annie Movie Review was part of an episode of our movie podcast. Show Notes for this episode:

In this episode of More Than A Movie, we start by interviewing our guest, actress Steffi Thake. We next review ‘Popeye‘, Robert Altman’s (in)famous musical fantasy film from 1980, that was shot here in Malta. [jump to 10:28 above].

We then review our three main Classic Musicals to Break your Heart, for this week’s episode:

West Side Story (1961) – [jump to 14:12 above]

Oliver! (1968) – [jump to 18:28 above]

Annie Movie Review (1982) – [jump to 21:31 above]

More Than A Movie is written and presented by Andrew Bonello. It was originally recorded and aired on Campus FM Radio, at the University of Malta.

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