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Savannah Smiles (1982)
Succeeds despite its' flaws
Savannah Smiles suffers a bit from seemingly being a kind of indie production. Mark Miller writes, produces and stars in it so the movie sometimes wants to be all about Alvie even if there's not enough for that to really work completely. Like the weird final (fantasy?) flashback image is an odd note to end the movie on. It could have used another rewrite. The editing is weird, and definitely feels like the movie was longer and cut down for time. Like Savannah is taken to a doctor even though we've had no indication she's even sick. Despite it's unpolished flaws though, it's often charming and Bridgette Andersen is adorable in it. It's a good concept for a movie (it's basically the Olsen Twins movie To Grandmother's House We Go in some ways). I did enjoy it; I just wonder if there's a longer cut floating around somewhere because some of the edits are just awkward.
I like when she tells the story of Brer Rabbit, which is almost word for word the Disney "Song of the South" treatment. I wonder if this was all ad-libbed by Bridgette. She definitely seems to have seen that movie, which to me is a great argument for getting it properly re-released.
It's not the most well-made movie, but the Savannah scenes are lively. I wonder why she stopped acting. I notice they had to throw in a line about stranger danger; don't want kids running away and hopping in the first car they find! I'd probably be a bit less critical had I seen it when I was five or six.
All in All, worth checking out.