Directed by: John Huston | 127 minutes | comedy, drama, family, musical | Actors: Aileen Quinn, Albert Finney, Carol Burnett, Ann Reinking, Tim Curry, Bernadette Peters, Geoffrey Holder, Roger Minami, Toni Ann Gisondi, Rosanne Sorrentino, Lara Berk, April Lerman, Robin Ignico, Lucie Stewart, Edward Herrmann, Lois De Banzie, Peter Marshall
Aileen Quinn… Anyone who has consciously experienced the eighties will recognize her name. Aileen was the red-haired curly-haired Annie in the Broadway hit film of the same name. Annie conquered all hearts worldwide, little girls also wanted such a red and white dress and everyone sang ‘Tomorrow’ loudly. Director John Huston chose Aileen from over 8,000 girls, all eager to dance, sing and act for him. In ‘My Hollywood Adventure with Aileen Quinn’, which is an extra on the 30th Anniversary Blu-ray edition of ‘Annie’, the dark-haired now forty-something tells what participating in this great musical meant to her. After ‘Annie’, the star hasn’t done much more in the acting field, but she still harbors warm feelings for this period in her life that is so characteristic for her. Similar to the feelings of the public that saw the film open-mouthed in the cinema at the time, probably has.
‘Annie’ is based on a daily comic strip by Harold Gray (Little Orphan Annie), which first appeared in 1924. The musical by John Huston is not the first film adaptation, the story of the young orphaned girl was brought to the silver screen in 1932 and 1938. But the 1982 film is the most successful, although the success of this version was not matched (the musical Annie was good for seven Tony Awards). ‘Annie’ was nominated for Oscars in the categories ‘Best Art Direction’ and ‘Best Music’, but didn’t cash in any. Aileen Quinn did receive a Razzie for worst supporting actress…, with which the organization actually invalidated its right to exist in the third year that the prize existed, because there are worse child actors…
‘Annie’ has a simple story, but it’s the charismatic cast, the (million dollar) set and of course some (not all!) unforgettable songs that make it such a must. Main character Annie easily wraps everyone around her fingers and it is thanks to Carol Burnett that you care so much about the fate that befalls Annie (and that of the other girls) in the orphanage. Burnett portrays a convincing shrew who, in addition to her lust for drink and male attention, has no greater pleasure than taunting the orphans she is responsible for. As over-the-top as her role is, you just feel for the poor girls. The plot is by no means credible, but ‘Annie’ is more fairytale than a slice of life. Despite this, the New York street scene in the 1930s seems authentic, a lot of attention has been paid to the atmosphere and locations. Of the songs ‘Let’s Go to the Movies’, ‘We Got Annie’ and ‘Easy Street’ are the least impressive, they are too stretched – especially the former. But ‘Maybe’, ‘It’s the Hard-Knock Life’ and ‘Tomorrow’ will stay in your head for a long time. The energy that radiates from the screen in these scenes is infectious.
‘Annie’ is not a classic like other John Huston films, but the director also pretends to offer nothing more than entertainment. It is definitely a musical that has earned its place in cinema history and not only because of the huge commercial success of the film. Lovers of musicals and sentimental ‘Oliver Twist’-like stories should not miss ‘Annie’ and for those who have young children and want to introduce them to the genre, this is also a suitable title. And using the Sing-Along option, singing along to the grayed out songs is a cinch. Leaping Lizards!