One of my favorite movies, Annie, turns 30 this year. Seems like yesterday I was singing along with Albert Finney (Daddy Warbucks), Carol Burnett (Miss Hannigan), Bernadette Peters (Lily), Tim Curry (Rooster), and the freckle faced Aileen Quinn (Annie).
If that was not enough to make me feel old, I can tell you I have this movie on VHS. I know, right! I cannot even watch it anymore because we do not have a VHS player.
The only people I knew in the movie at the time were Carol Burnett, I remember watching her earlier variety show with my favorite aunt, and Bernadette Peters, from The Jerk with Steve Martin — I know she has done a lot TV/movies/Broadway but at the time that is what I knew her for. All the actors have done so much since Annie. When I think of Albert Finney these days I think Erin Brockovich before I think Annie.
If you are not familiar with the Annie story it is about a little girl with bright red curls who lives in an orphanage under the rule of a cranky heavy-drinking den mother. Annie wins the opportunity to spend a few weeks living with one of the richest men in town as part of his PR campaign to improve his image. Of course everyone falls in love with her. Daddy Warbucks decides he wants to help her find her parents and offers a reward which leads to numerous people suddenly claiming the girl as their own long lost daughter.
Annie was loosely based on the Broadway musical, which I have never seen but would love to, and before that there was the comic strip by Harold Gray (Little Orphan Annie, 1924).
The film is one of my favorite musicals with lots of great songs, melodrama, slapstick humor, and sappy tearful moments to entertain a wide range of ages. The biggest message that comes across is that even though our families may not always provide us with the love we are entitled to there is much love to be given by those who are not related to us — families come in more flavors than Skittles.
Here is Annie singing tomorrow for President Roosevelt — still tears me up after all these years — it’s right up there with Hallmark commercials:
I read recently that actor, singer, producer, Will Smith is producing an updated version of Annie that will star his daughter and have updated music. I am not sure how I feel about it. Generally I hate my favorite movies being remade because they are usually horrible. But Smith produced the remake of The Karate Kid starring his son and it was good so the prospect of him in charge of an Annie remake is promising.