Today I watched Annie (1982): yes, the musical. I’m not sure what prompted me. Curiosity, perhaps. I have an unfocused childhood memory of the film, and I figured since John Huston directed the film, and it featured a strong cast, it was worth a second glance.
It had its moments, but I felt rather discomforted by the weird undertones about race and class in the film. Annie (Aileen Quinn – of course she’s of Irish descent with that carrot-top) had that slightly shrieky voice and dimply face that I associate with precocious child stage actors. Still, it’s a tough role to play. Annie is optimistic in the face of rejection and poverty, which makes her a rather saintly heroine.
It would be hard to imagine any starving orphan kid taking her “I love ya, Tomorrow” line. Wasn’t that Scarlet O’Hara’s philosophy? Those two characters are as far apart in temperament as possible, and yet they think the same: life might be crap now, but you could turn it around tomorrow. And both of Irish descent. Maybe it’s the “we’re eating grass because the potatoes rotted in the soil, but we’ll go to America and conquer the world through chance encounters with rich billionaires or marry and scheme our way into money no matter what the cost” approach to life.
The villains were the most interesting characters in Annie. I enjoyed Miss Hannigan (Carol Burnett in fine form), and of course Tim Curry was fun as her snake-oil charmer brother. The good guys are rather too good, and the bad guys are not really that awful, so they show more complexity.
Annie is not a film I need to see again, and I’ve no desire to attend the stage production. Although, ‘It’s a Hard Knock Life’ is a great number.
I would re-watch Singin’ in the Rain (1952) or West Side Story (1961) in a heartbeat, however.