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In the depths of the 1930's, Annie is a fiery young orphan girl who must live in a miserable orphanage run by the tyrannical Miss Hannigan. Her seemingly hopeless situation changes dramatically when she is selected to spend a short time at the residence of the wealthy munitions industrialist, Oliver Warbucks. Quickly, she charms the hearts of the household staff and even the seemingly cold-hearted Warbucks cannot help but learn to love this wonderful girl. He decides to help Annie find her long lost parents by offering a reward if they would come to him and prove their identity. However, Miss Hannigan, her evil brother, Rooster, and a female accomplice, plan to impersonate those people to get the reward for themselves which put Annie in great danger. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm <email@example.com>
Though this film of the musical "Annie" has often been criticized for a number of reasons, it is hardly the worst screen adaptation of a stage musical (the utterly grotesque 1974 film of "Mame" takes that dishonor). This film is not nearly as bad as people have said. Though not necessarily a great film, it is a good film with a number of strengths.
The film's strongest asset is definitely its cast, the highlight of which being Carol Burnett, a treat to watch as Miss Hannigan. Newcomer Aileen Quinn plays a charming Annie, Albert Finney makes a wholly convincing Daddy Warbucks, and Ann Reinking gives a winning performance as his assistant, Grace Farrell.
At the film's core is a heartwarming, if somewhat sentimental, story set in the Depression, backed by most of Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin's unforgettable score. Six of the play's songs are dropped, and five new ones have been written. The best of them is the humorous `Sign,' between Burnett and Finney.
The large-scale, Busby Berkeley-esque `Let's Go to the Movies,' though it's a nice song and a spectacular number, it threatens to slow down the picture, and is thus a bit of a weak spot. It is a forgivable one, though.
A song called `Dumb Dog,' whose melody is taken from the one-night wonder "A Broadway Musical," replaces `Tomorrow' in its proper place in the story, which is a loss. The reprise of the song, `Sandy' works better.
The fifth new song, a swinger called `We Got Annie,' is a highly listenable reworking of a song cut from the stage play.
Director John Huston, a choice that confounded many in Hollywood, directs the film with competence, though it's not a personal film for him. Most of the credit for putting the production together goes to producer Ray Stark. He assembles a production crew that works together to create a visually splendid film with beautiful period sets. The film's production is indeed extravagant, even by Hollywood standards, but only once or twice does it go over the top (as in the end of the picture).
The film as a whole is an engagingly old-fashioned musical spectacle with enough wit, charm and genuine warmth to offset its core sentimentality and occasional excess. Though it doesn't follow the stage version to the letter, it still works pretty well.
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