Annie

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In 1933, during the Great Depression, Annie (Aileen Quinn) lives in the Hudson Street Orphanage in New York City. Though the others living in the orphanage know for a fact that they are orphans, Annie believes that her parents simply left her there (Maybe). The orphanage is run by Miss Hannigan (Carol Burnett) a drunk, cruel, hopelessly romantic tyrant whom all the girls fear. Among the orphans are Annie, Molly (Toni Ann Gisondi), Pepper (Rosanne Sorrentino), Tessie (Lara Berk), Kate (April Lerman), Duffy (Robin Ignico), and July (Lucie Stewart). After Annie is caught trying to escape by Miss Hannigan, Hannigan orders the girls to clean up the orphanage (Hard-Knock Life).

Later, while trying to escape again, in a laundry truck run by Mr. Bundles (Irving Metzman), Annie happens upon a dog who takes an instant liking to her (Dumb Dog). She later names him Sandy after convincing the dogcatcher that it’s hers. Unfortunately, both Sandy and Annie are taken to the orphanage, where Annie awaits punishment and Sandy a one-way trip to the sausage factory (Sandy). However, they are saved by Miss Grace Farrell (Ann Reinking), a secretary to billionaire Oliver Warbucks (Albert Finney) who wants to have an orphan stay at his mansion for a week to help his image. Grace instantly picks Annie and manages to save Sandy, having to resort to threatening Miss Hannigan’s job when she protests.

Upon arrival, Annie, Sandy, and Grace are greeted by Warbucks’ bodyguards Punjab (Geoffrey Holder) and The Asp (Roger Minami) among the other butlers, maids, and servants including Colette (Colleen Zenk Pinter), Drake (I. M. Hobson), Mrs. Pugh (Lu Leonard), Mrs. Greer (Mavis Ray), Annette (Pamela Blair), and Saunders (Victor Griffin). During her stay at the mansion, Annie has the time of her life, quickly endearing herself to everyone in the mansion (I Think I’m Going To Like It Here). The only person not immediately charmed by her is Warbucks, who wanted a boy orphan.

Meanwhile, Miss Hannigan, drunk and depressed (Little Girls), receives a surprise visit by her brother Rooster (Tim Curry) and his girlfriend Lily St. Regis (Bernadette Peters). Rooster tells Miss Hannigan that he was released from imprisonment on good behavior.

Annie eventually gains “Daddy” Warbucks’ trust. When Sandy detects an assassin who tries to kill Warbucks with a bomb, it is thwarted by Sandy, Punjab, and The Asp. Grace explains to Annie that the Bolsheviks are displeased that Warbucks is living proof that the American system actually works. After an evening at the movies (Let’s Go To The Movies), Warbucks and Grace tucks Annie in together. Grace eventually convinces Warbucks to adopt Annie and he goes to the orphanage to get the adoption papers signed. Though Miss Hannigan is uncooperative at first, and attempts to seduce Warbucks, he blackmails her into signing (Sign). However, when he goes to tell Annie and is about to give a Tiffany’s locket to her, Annie says she wants to find her parents. Deciding to help, Warbucks makes an announcement on a radio show hosted by Bert Healy (Peter Marshall) offering a $50,000 reward to Annie’s parents.

Several couples appear at Warbucks’s doorstep. Oliver and Punjab take Annie in the autocopter to visit President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (Edward Herrmann) in Washington D.C., where Annie charms the president and his wife (Tomorrow (White House Version)). When Annie realizes that the couples are fake, Warbucks convinces her not to give up. Meanwhile, Miss Hannigan is approached by two people who claim to be Annie’s parents, but are revealed to be Rooster and Lily in disguise. The three make plans to use the disguises to collect the reward, drown Annie (suggested by Rooster), and split the take three ways (Easy Street). On hearing this, the other orphans escape and run to Warbucks’s mansion only to be locked up by Miss Hannigan, Rooster, and Lily. The orphans escape, but arrive too late to prevent Rooster and Lily from collecting Annie and the money.

After the orphans’ warning, Warbucks puts out an APB on the felons, and he and Grace search for them while Punjab and another servant search from the autocopter. The search ends at a railway drawbridge that is in the upright position. When Annie destroys the check, Rooster pursues her to the B&O Bridge despite Miss Hannigan’s objections. As the police, firefighters, and ambulance arrive with Warbucks, Punjab saves Annie by kicking Rooster off the bridge to a firefighter’s net.

With Rooster and Lily in jail, Annie finally gets her wish of a good family at a party where President Roosevelt and the First Lady along with Annie’s orphan friends and the servants are enjoying themselves (I Don’t Need Anything But You). Miss Hannigan, now a changed woman, is also shown amongst the guests. A new development in Grace and Warbuck’s relationship is also shown, as they kiss twice. The film ends with a fireworks display spelling Annie’s name.

REVIEW:

In the pantheon of musicals, Annie is in my top 10. With this being said, what has taken me so long to review it? Well, I had it on VHS, but no working VCR, so it was next to impossible to watch, but thanks to the wonders of Netflix streaming, I was able to view it this evening.

You all know the plot of this, right? Annie is an orphan living in an all-girl’s orphanage during the Great Depression. By chance, she gets chosen to spend a day with Oliver Warbucks in his orphan for a day program. During the day, he falls in love with her and by some prodding by his assistant wants to adopt her, but Miss Hannigan doesn’t want to allow it, so her brother and his girlfriend devise a scheme to collect the reward after she runs away.

With such a heart warming story, it is hard to not like this film, but there are some flaws. First off, let’s talk about the songs. Sure, there are many memorable ones, such as “Tomorrow”, “Hard Knock Life”, “I Think I’m Going to Like It Here”, amongst others, but there are also a few forgettable ones. This wouldn’t so bad, except for these forgettable songs are the same songs that were specifically added for the film version, explicitly.

The film culminates in a grand battle/rescue on the B & O Bridge. Whenever I think of this film, this is one of the scenes that sticks out in my head, which tells you that they did some great cinematography with that scene.

The acting is great, but the show is stolen by Carol Burnett in an over the top performance as Miss Hannigan which is reminiscent of Madame Medusa from The Rescuers. Now, I’m not sure if this was on purpose or if they’re just that similar, but it is entertaining to see, that’s for sure.

There really isn’t much to say in a disparaging way about this film. It is one of the best musicals I’ve seen and has withstood the test of time (we will not acknowledge that crappy remake). It works as a musical, family film, and a little bit as a comedy. If you haven’t seen it yet, you are most definitely missing out and need to rush out and see it ASAP!!!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

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One Response to “Annie”

  1. […] Ugh! I need to stop thinking/talking about that and get to this week’s trailer, Annie! […]

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