It’s showtime, revisiting Ann Reinking in her short and sweet movie career…
Looking at a few of the films with the Broadway star who danced, sang and starred in some fabulous double acts.
I was sad to learn of the passing of Ann Reinking. Ann Reinking only starred in less than a handful of movies from the late 1970s to mid-1980s, but her luminous, transfixing presence on screen as she danced and sang made for timeless performances.
Off-screen, this actress was also famous as a dancer, collaborator and choreographer who won many Tony Awards for her Broadway shows. Her career on the Broadway stage was much more prolific as she made her Broadway debut aged 19 in Cabaret. More recently she played the lead role, Roxie Hart in Chicago (the film is reviewed HERE) and in Broadway musicals which included Fiddler on the Roof, A Chorus Line and Sweet Charity.
All that Jazz (1979)
Everything Old Is New Again, Anne Reinking and Erzsebet Foldi, hardballget
This nine times Oscar-nominated (and four times winning) film was directed by Bob Fosse in a semi autobiographical dance, fantasy and musical drama. Reinking starred alongside The Russia House (1990) and Jaws (1975) actor, Roy Scheider playing the lead based on Fosse, as philandering and chain-smoking Joe Gideon. It starred Ann Reinking as Katie Jagger, this character based on Reinking herself, who in reality was Fosse’s girlfriend at the time of filming. Reinking had to audition for this role.
The film was based on a time in Fosse’s life when he was not only juggling editing a movie and putting the musical Chicago on stage but also had serious health issues. It tells of Gideon’s relationship with the then three women in his life, his then ex-wife Audrey, girlfriend Katie and his young daughter, Michelle.
Gideon reflects on his life with the Angel of Death (Jessica Lange). This part of their lives and Reinking and Fosse’s relationship was also the subject of a television drama with Margaret Qualley (from Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019)) as Reinking and Sam Rockwell as Fosse.
ANNIE (1982): “Let’s Go To The Movies” Full Clip | Sony Pictures Kids Zone #WithMe, Sony Pictures KIDS ZONE
She also starred in the film version of the musical Annie (1982). This was a much loved children’s film from the 1980s (but also for adults of a certain age). This was one of the first (but sadly not the last) but arguably the best film musical version about that plucky red headed orphan, Annie.
Annie was left at an orphanage as a baby during the Great Depression. Later she won both America and Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks, a billionaire’s heart. Reinking had a supporting role as Grace Farrell, Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks’ secretary and (eventual hinted at) love interest.
After Grace Farrell (Reinking) visits the orphanage, Annie stays with her and the billionaire, Warbucks (Albert Finney) for a week as a PR exercise at his palatial mansion. Inevitably, Warbucks grows to love Annie and then hopes to adopt her. But she wants to find her parents who promised to return to the orphanage for her.
Warbucks offers a reward on their return… Unknown to Annie and Warbucks, her parents passed away. But Annie’s nemesis Miss Hannigan (Carol Burnett) and her brother (Tim Curry) have an evil plan to get the loot…
I adored watching Reinking in this movie and she was captivating in this singing and dancing role. On watching an interview with Reinking, she told how the romantic chemistry between Grace and Warbucks was developed for this film version. I feel this romance was very subtly played as any potential romance went over my head as a kid, yet I felt it more as an adult.
Micki + Maude (1984)
MICKI & MAUDE RCA Columbia, precert
This was Ann Reinking’s final movie role and her only on-screen role without dancing. Here she has a leading role with early 1980s sex thimble Dudley Moore. The film is a Blake Edwards’ directed comedy movie. It tells of Micki (Reinking) who is happily married to Rob Salinger (Moore). She doesn’t want kids due to a previous miscarriage and she wants to concentrate on her legal career. Then Rob meets Maude (Amy Irving) who does want kids…
Rob and Maude start an affair and soon after Maude finds out she is pregnant. Rob decides to divorce Micki, but when he’s about to ask her for a divorce she reveals that she is pregnant too. After marrying Maude he becomes a bigamist, with both women not knowing about each other. Cue complications, slapstick and 1981’s SOB‘s Richard Mulligan as Leo, Rob’s best friend and confidante. Things become even more complicated when the two Mrs Salingers go into labour at the same time, in the same maternity clinic.
Roger Ebert tells that despite his character’s bigamy, Moore made him a likeable character who made you believe he loved both his wives. Vincent Canby from the New York Times described Reinking as:
The patricianly beautiful Miss Reinking, who has legs to make the incomparable Cyd Charisse’s look runty, has been in other movies, including Stanley Donen’s ”Movie Movie,” but she’s still best known as the dancing star of Broadway’s ”Chorus Line” and ”Dancin’.”
This was the final role for Ann Reinking as a film actress, as she only appeared in four movies altogether. Yet her performances seem as memorable as her on-stage roles. However, I’ll always remember Ann Reinking, as Grace Farrell in Annie, in her enthusiastic, energetic and infectious performance on screen as she took Annie and us to the movies…