Plot: What’s it about?
Miss Hannigan (Carol Burnett) runs her orphanage with an iron hand, as well as a tipsy sense of balance, but there is one little girl that remains unbroken, Annie (Aileen Quinn). No matter how much Miss Hannigan and others try to break her, Annie still dreams of a better life and inside, she is sure that her future leads outside this orphanage. She dreams of a wonderful new home and family, where she can find love and happiness, along with her dog, Sandy. So when she is chosen for a one week stay with a wealthy man, “Daddy” Warbucks (Albert Finney), everyone but Annie is surprised. She soon charms him and his entire household, which leads Warbucks to want to help Annie, by finding her real parents. So he offers a large reward for their location, but Miss Hannigan has plans to cash in on that reward. She and her relative, Rooster (Tim Curry) have a plan which involves impersonation of Annie’s parents, which would leave Annie in more heartache than ever. Will things work out for Annie, or will she be doomed to remain at Miss Hannigan’s forever?
I know this is a classic in terms of family films, but I’ve never really liked this movie that much. I don’t think it is bad by any means, but I just don’t care for it, perhaps I just don’t like squeaky kids. But since I can see why so many people like the film, I won’t downtalk it and instead, I’ll discuss some general points and close out with my thoughts on this disc. I imagine most of you have seen this film, but if not, it is a very sugary, but humorous film with some memorable musical sequences. The songs like Tomorrow and It’s A Hard Knock Life have become well known thanks to this film, which speaks a lot in terms of the film and music’s staying power. I’ve never been much for musicals or kids, but even I like a few scenes, which still surprises me. In the end, I think the movie has stood well against becoming dated and is still worth a look, even after all these years. This disc is a good value at the basic levels, but lacks the supplements I was expecting. I think Annie deserves some bonus materials, so I think this disc is somewhat of a missed chance. But overall, it looks and sounds good, so the asking price is not unreasonable, which leads me to recommend this release.
The focus of this film is Aileen Quinn as Annie, but she is often outperformed by her more experienced costars. Quinn (The Frog Prince) tries to remain plucky and in control, but she is unable to keep up all the time, though she is solid in her role. She has the charms needed for the role and uses them well, so I think she gets a passing grade here. But the real spotlight goes to her supporting cast, all of whom seem in fine order and more than earned their paychecks. Albert Finney (Miller’s Crossing, Erin Brockovich) is excellent as Daddy Warbucks, while Tim Curry (The Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Shadow) turns in his usual effective and amusing performance as well. I think the real showstopper here however, is Carol Burnett (Moon Over Broadway), who lights up the screen as the often intoxicated mistress of the orphanage. I think she injects a much needed comedic jolt into the film and even though she’s somewhat of a villain, I like her character a lot. Annie was directed by John Huston, who also helmed such films as Prizzi’s Honor, Beat The Devil, Key Largo, The Maltese Falcon, and The Treasure Of The Sierre Madre.
Video: How does it look?
Annie is presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, with a full frame edition also included on this dual layered disc. The image shows some signs of age, but not too bad in the end and by no means unwatchable. Some scenes show more grain and debris than I would like, but again, most seem pretty clean and well cared for. The colors seem natural and smooth, as well as bright when needed and flesh tones seem warm also. No contrast issues to report, as detail is high and no real shadow layer issues surface. In the end, this transfer could have been much worse, but it also could have been better.
Audio: How does it sound?
The included 2.0 surround track works well, but some the musical numbers seem like they could use a full 5.1 surround option. Even still, the music and lyrics come off well here, very rich and effective overall. The dialogue also comes across in fine form, no real complaints to be made with this track. As I said, I think the track could have been fuller in some places, but in the end, this one gets the job done and that’s what counts. The disc also houses a French language track and subtitles in English & French.
Supplements: What are the extras?
The disc includes a brief selection of advertising materials, some talent files, and the film’s theatrical trailer.