You’re getting Annie (1982) as my comfort movie…
Orphan Annie is invited to stay at a famed billionaire’s house for a week. She tells him her wish to be reunited with her parents.
Annie (1982) – Trailer (HD BD), MistarMuffin and photos from Columbia Pictures
For this feel-good, comfort entertainment post we’re flashbacking to 1982, and to a time when I entered my teenage years. For me, it was a time of Girl Guide camp, sticker collection albums and of course Dallas.
While you sci-fi fans were waiting anxiously for the sixth (and then final) part of the first Star Wars trilogy, we barely teenage girls were singing songs and swapping stickers like crazy, all in the name of our much-loved, musical movie, Annie (1982). TBH I didn’t even know about anything about the story in a galaxy far, far away.
With luck, I rediscovered Annie on that streaming service recently. It was plonked on my to watch list for a night that Darlin’ Husband was out with the dudes and watching a dude orientated movie. One night the men of the house off to see Black Panther (2018) so I seized the opportunity for viewing this childhood favourite.
By chance, a school friend I’d met a couple of years after Annie was visiting us, was also a fan, knew all the lyrics and totally loved the movie, so I could watch it in peace. This without the constant riffing from Darlin Husband.
Annie for those of you in the dark, it’s kind of Oliver (1968) for girls. But Annie arguably is better. This is despite Oliver Reed looking like a kinda sexy Bill Sykes in Oliver (but that’s only now decades later). it’s because.. the songs (as highlighted in italics when I discuss its plot), the cast and the dancing are infectiously fun (if not more) as the first Mamma Mia (2008) movie.
Like this ABBA inspired film, Annie was one of a kind and did not need a sequel. At all. Or a remake.. with Cameron Diaz and an Annie role then meant for a Will Smith kid. Rant over. Please don’t remake Mamma Mia with Zac Efron, Nicholas Hoult and some random Glee (2009-15) star in about 20 years.
For those of you who want more (and to remember those songs as they happen)… Annie is a wee feisty 10-year-old, red-headed orphan who lives in the Hudson Home For Girls. She’s like a big sister to the younger girls in the orphanage, soothing them when they have nightmares and fighting with others.
This orphanage is the place that Annie hopes to escape for good one day. She looks to get away from the constant cleaning, the bullies and her Hard Knock Life (have you the song in your head now? Good). Annie hopes Maybe her parents who left her there 10 years ago, will honour their promise and return for her.
Her arch-nemesis at the orphanage is her guardian Miss Hannigan (Carol Burnett). Hannigan is an alcoholic, spinster who longs for a man and hates little girls. She is frequently conned by brother Rooster (Tim Curry) and his new girlfriend Lily (Bernadette Peters).
One day our wee heroine, Annie escapes the orphanage for an afternoon in a laundry cart. On her trip to New York, she picks up another orphan, a dog called Sandy. Bit of a Dumb Dog (cue song). Both are captured by a cop who marches them back to the orphanage.
On Annie’s return to the orphanage, Hannigan makes eyes at the cop while Annie and the girls smuggle in Sandy. The kids sing and dance some more about the dog. Shortly after, Annie’s condemned to the cupboard for daring to escape, while Hannigan chats to a visitor.
The visitor’s Grace (Ann Reinking), the pretty secretary to the famed millionaire Oliver Warbucks (Albert Finney). Grace tells Hannigan that Warbucks is wanting to adopt a child for the week, as part of a PR exercise. After a few hints from Annie via sign language from the cupboard, she takes Annie.
All goes well, and Annie is loved by all Warbucks employees immediately… cue lots more singing and dancing as Annie proclaims to all I think I’m Going to Like It Here. Apart from Warbucks who wanted a boy.
Then with time, he’s won over by wee Annie so Warbucks decides to adopt her. Telling Grace of his plans leading to all getting super excited… We Got Annie. The trio goes to the movies, in the delightful Let’s Go To The Movies montage. Warbucks even talks to Hannigan about adopting Annie.
On visiting the orphanage, Hannigan flirts with him like crazy in their duet, Sign. Annie refuses to be adopted and tells Warbucks her dream of being reunited with her parents, who left her with half a locket. He vows to find them for her and offers a large cheque for the three of them to start a new life…
However, unbeknownst to Annie, the other half of the locket is in the care of Miss Hannigan, who recently sang about how much she hates
Wee Little Girls. Hannigan tells her conniving brother Rooster, how she received the locket after Annie’s real parents died in a fire.
The Hannigans and Rooster’s girlfriend, Lily think this money will take them to Easy Street. Leading to the three, hoping to fool Warbucks with Rooster and his Moll dressing down for their part in this charade and the con is on. The three little realising Annie’s orphan friends have overheard them. Then the kids are locked up in the cupboard by the evil threesome…
Having not seen this film since 1982, it was so wonderful revisiting this film. Another example of a timeless cast and movie, and one I’d wholeheartedly recommend to wee girls everywhere and their mums. Or anyone who likes a lovely heartwarming movie.
Aileen Quinn is a great wee Annie, and her joy in this role is seen and felt in all her scenes. Her chemistry with Reinking and Finney is sweet – but not icky (like some child stars and their grown-up star co-stars) – and they make a great trio.
Watching Reinking and Finney, there also seemed to be some unspoken attraction between Grace and the billionaire Warbucks as the film progressed. Or maybe it’s just me being a hopeful romantic. This is something I hadn’t spotted the first time around, but there is definitely some chemistry there.
Reinking was fantastic as Grace and her dancing and singing were a winning combination. Albert Finney proved himself as a not bad singer and a nifty wee dancer. I particularly loved his duet with Burnett and was pleased to learn their song Sign was specially written for them. This song was executed memorably, making the roles they were born for. It really would be hard to see others considered for this role here.
Tim Curry and Bernadette Peters were wonderfully hammed up believable performances and it was wonderful seeing them teamed up with Burnett in Easy Street. With Peters fresh from Pennies from Heaven (1981) and Curry an unforgettable Frankenfurter from The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) their performances in this showing them as amongst the 1980s greats in the song and dance genre,
It was also interesting to learn more about this cherished movie. Where I learnt more than a few surprising facts. Firstly, the film was directed by the then 76-year-old John Huston. This director that I remember for Prizzi’s Honor (1985), Escape to Victory / Victory (1981) and The African Queen (1951).
Another shock was the other acting talent considered for this cast. Firstly, regarding the casting of Oliver Warbucks. I read that Sean Connery and Jack Nicholson were also contenders. Both have been known to sing in movies (see HERE) but these are not those roles you usually remember them in. I am so glad these choices didn’t happen on a number of levels, as much as I love Nicholson and Connery.
The biggest surprise was from Darlin’ Husband who not only told me – in our early dating days – of Mike Myers and Verne Troyer’s updated version of Hard Knock Life in Goldmember (2002). But my Darlin’ Husband on hearing the plot was amazed that we hadn’t noticed any of the history referred to in the movie, apart from the inclusion of an American President and his wife.
Regaling how Daddy Warbucks, was a Republican arms dealer. War-bucks. He was involved in dealings with the Bolsheviks and a Democrat, President Roosevelt. But for us girls, this political message all went over our teenage heads, as we then and now we accept it for the fabulous comfort movie it is. One thing is clear and always will be after seeing it once more, that Annie…tomorrow, tomorrow I’ll love ya tomorrow!
Weeper Rating: 😦 😦 😦 😦 😦 😦 😦 😦 😦 😦 /10
Handsqueeze Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂10
Hulk Rating: /10
This movie was added to Classic Film and TV Cafe’s Classic Comfort Movie Blogathon. Other film posts here with these stars include Albert Finney in Murder on the Orient Express. He also stars in his tribute review, in Shoot the Moon. Tim Curry stars in my post of 5 Singing Actors. Carol Burnett starred in the Twilight Zone and Magnum. Bernadette Peters features in my 5 Magical MGM Musical Moments post. Ann Reinking is remembered HERE.