On Second Thought: “Annie (1982)”

The musical is a genre of film that’s existed since studios began making films. Some are good, some are bad, some are just around and you’ve somehow missed them. After awhile, it became a thing to do film versions of musicals that started out on Broadway, and were massive hits.

The film “Annie”, is no exception. While it started as a comic strip, then became a successful Broadway musical, it became something for the whole family. And thus, has managed to stick around and find a place in people’s hearts.

This classic musical stars Albert Finney (“Skyfall”, “The Bourne Legacy”), Carol Burnett (“Post Grad”, “Horton Hears a Who!”), Ann Reinking (“Micki + Maude”, “All That Jazz”), Tim Curry (“Alice”It”), Bernadette Peters (“Smash”,”It Runs in the Family”), and Aileen Quinn (“Multiple Sarcasms”, “The Frog Prince”).

The film was directed by John Huston (“The African Queen”, “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre”) and written by Carol Sobieski (“Money for Nothing”, “Fried Green Tomatoes”).

The film was originally released by Columbia Pictures on June 18, 1982.

The film did go on to receive three Golden Globe nominations and two Academy Award nominations for Set Decoration and Best Music, Original Song Score and its Adaptation or Best Adaptation Score. Interestingly, this film also received five Razzie Award nominations and won one for Worst Supporting Actress.

It’s been so long since I’ve since this movie and it’s not hard to see why. I just thought maybe I had no interest in seeing it again. However, when I finally got the opportunity to watch it again, I jumped at the opportunity! I just had to see what the appeal of this film was and why people still adore the musical itself.

Now having done that I must say I’m… speechless. What did I just sit through? Something quite bad is what. I guess it’s because this film has become such a classic, with memorable songs, and a cute little red headed girl, who’s so lovable you ignore everything else and just accept this as something great, but it’s a far cry from that. It wasn’t that the film was unbearable, it just wasn’t good.

When the film began with the well known song, “Maybe”, I was surprised. The song sounded like nails on a chalk board or a kitten being strangled. Is it fair to blame the kids singing, and probably lack of training? No, but I’m surprised the producers of this film considered that good. The rest of the child actors had this same issue, but I won’t heap too much blame upon them. They were just kids after all.

The upside of the bad singing from the kids, is that the lyrics for the songs were good enough and catchy. After awhile you did start to forget that they couldn’t sing their way out of a paper bag.

When it came to the adults, the singing was considerably better. Not everyone sounded good, sorry Finney, but still managed to make the scenes they appear in fun. Of all the adult singers, I think I enjoyed Reinking’s vocals the most. They were smoother and more elegant than even that of the little you’d hear from Peters. For the adults, what made me fully enjoy each song, was probably the fact that the songs were enjoyable, fun, and written well, not to mention the way they were choreographed wasn’t bad. However, that didn’t stop them from looking a little silly as these musical numbers kept going and were pretty elaborate.

A notable thing was that the acting, from everyone, was just, meh. Not too bad, but certainly not worth getting excited about. The kids, as they’re young and unexperienced, were dreadful, but still managed to look adorable, so the bad acting can be somewhat forgiven. Of all the adult cast member, Burnett was probably the most fascinating and fun to watch. Being the boozy, anti-kids, caretaker was comical and helped give something to the film, other than catchy musical numbers.

I may dislike remakes, and I barely remember the first remake, a television adaptation in 1999 starring Kathy Bates, but I wouldn’t mind watching it again for comparison purposes. As far as the newest remake, starring Jamie Foxx and Quvenzhane Wallis, due out in December, I’m interested primarily as far as the filming aspects go, also the vocal quality of the songs.


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