The movie was on Starz this weekend and so I watched the entire thing again.
I have the movie on Blu Ray but haven't watched the full movie for a few years. I have posted on this before but I wanted to revisit it since I have just recently re-watched it.
-The songs are actually pitched lower than the stage version.
-While Huston may have hated Tomorrow it is played over the opening and closing credits in addition to the Roosevelt meeting.
-Maybe. Aileen's softer version of Maybe is my favorite. And Toni Ann Gisondi (Molly) is just adorable. I noticed how much Sara Hyland from the 1999 movie resembles her.
-Hard Knock Life is a well staged number. Perhaps the pillow fight sequence took the edge off of it, but overall it shows the kids drudging. Yes there is some playing around, but kids forced to do the same drudge tasks would undoubtedly try to find some fun wherever they could find it. Heck, even Molly's quoting of Miss Hannigan in the stage version is Molly trying to find some fun.
-Dumb Dog. Annie fighting off the boys is straight out of Thomas Meehan's book (minus the Annie working in a diner plot). Bringing Sandy back to the orphanage to reprise the song actually makes a bit more sense than Sandy randomly reappearing throughout the musical. Plus, it gives more screen time to the dog than would be possible in the stage version.
-I didn't remember how closely much of the dialogue sticks to the stage version. My favorite is still
"Annie can we have a man to man talk?".
-Let's Go to the Movies. Very catchy. It's a shame NYC was dropped, but remember this movie was going to go worldwide.NYC would have been harder to film in dirty 1981 New York and wouldn't possibly meant as much outside of a Broadway setting. LGTTM was more generic. Plus it gave a chance to show Radio City Music Hall and the ushers and the orchestra and the Rockettes. RCMH was almost demolished in 1978 and there was a big campaign to save it. It's fitting that it got it's place on the silver screen.
-I had forgotten about the reprise of Maybe sung by the orphans about midway through. Rosanne Sorrentino (Pepper) really has quite a nice voice.
-Little Girls. Well done. Changed some of the lyric order around and a little too much of Carol hitting the glass for that "ding". I remember being really uncomfortable with her parading around in her underwear when I was a kid. Still am as an adult.
-I do have an issue with Warbucks. They made him English. Born in Liverpool, watched his brother die but nothing about him being an orphan. I think the thing that Meehan, Strouse and Charnin objected to the most was that it was Grace's idea to adopt Annie. She begs him and Warbucks fell for Grace and decided to adopt Annie based on that. That is a huge change in character motivation..
-Smile. I had forgotten that Ray Bolger (Scarecrow) was the radio sound effects guy in the studio scene. Missed Annie's reprise of Maybe. The orphans did a good job and I realize that a lot of the foreign production choreography is based on the movie, specifically pounding out the tap dance on the radio instead of tap dancing. Some here have said that the dubbing was off and that the girls on screen were laughing while the singing was going on. I watched for that and realized that while a couple girls were laughing on screen, two or three of the girls on screen would be singing while dancing. So there really isn't an error there.
-Roosevelt scene. Tomorrow is sung in the original key. Roosevelt created the New Deal and tried to convince Warbucks to join in. This is the opposite of the stage version. On stage the grown ups don't know what to do about the depression and Annie sings Tomorrow and the adults learn to be optimistic from her. Not a huge issue but again, as with the adoption, it changes the motivation. Oh and to nitpick; that's not an auto copter. The auto copter had a propeller on the front and the top.
-Easy Street. Hated it when I was a kid and still hate it now. Not because it wasn't well done, but because it was too sexualized. I was uncomfortable as a junior highschooler with Carol in her underwear and garters and with Bernadette hiking up her skirt to right on Tim. Not to mention the other scenes of "sensuality" regarding the beginning of the number. Just never seemed appropriate in a family film and still doesn't.
The ending. I actually think the whole Annie kidnapped and the orphans to the rescue ending works. It puts Annie in actual jeopardy and raises tensions for the audience. It moves from the world of exposition (J Edgar Hoover and the FBI to the rescue) and broadens out the picture. Plus it gives the orphan more to do than just sing a number then go off stage. It makes them more a part of the story so kudos to them. Even though I've seen the movie multiple times I am still moved by the scene of Annie in tears hanging on the bridge. Kudos to Aileen!
I kinda wish I Don't Need Anything But You hadn't been combined with the other numbers at the end, cause I really like I Don't Need Anything But You all by itself. I don't really miss New Deal for Christmas in this film and other than the recent revival (done as an up tempo tap dance number) New Deal often comes across as an anti-climactic number after I Don't Need Anything But You. Usually because it's done too slow.
Final thoughts. Casting. Annie: I really love Aileen, she was good at the cute and the spunky/tough stuff and is a good singer. Warbucks: Finney is good, but he's not a strong singer- hence no Something was Missing. Grace: fine casting for a bland part. Hannigan: Carol, very theatrical and fairly definitive. Rooster and Lilly were fine. The orphans. Probably the best of the 2 movie versions. Talented singers and cute as a button.
Punjab and the Asp were okay to add, but put in there because of fans of the comic strip. Ironically Meehan, Strouse and Charnin put the characters into Annie 2 after specifically avoiding them in the original musical.
Generally, a lot more faithful to the tone, script and sentiment of the stage musical than perhaps most folks give credit.Some fine acting and really emotional performances. Perhaps the stage authors dislike of the movie stems more from bad experiences behind the scenes?
Whatever the issue, this movie was the gateway to the stage musical for millions of people and it continues to influence kids today.
This is a great analysis of the film, Jeff. I have to give you credit for articulating the change in Warbucks' character motivation so well. Hm. I've said before, I was greatly influenced by Finney's brusqueness, tone, and general manner when I played the character in high school, but not by his motivation (not that I gave that possibility a lot of consideration, as the Broadway book doesn't really allow for it - the falling for Grace comes very near the end). Anyway, a valid critique. I don't mind so much that they made him English - I don't know if Finney could've done an American accent (though I suspect he probably could), but having him as an immigrant who came to this country and made it on his own still preserves his reasons for initial antipathy toward the New Deal.
I have always defended the ending, too. Great suspense, very true to the comic strip and, yes, gives the orphans an integral role toward the conclusion.
I think you're right about there being a bit too much "parading around in underwear" in Burnett's Hannigan, although I really do love her performance of the character overall, especially how she plays her finally developing a conscience. As a 10 year old, when I first saw the film, none of the sensuality really made me take notice, though. (Although I guess it contributed to my sense that Rooster and Lily were really bad, bad people - I like how they're really more villainous in the film than on stage.) I do think standards of what's ok for a family film have changed since '82, creeping in both "more" and "less" directions. It looks like Cameron Diaz' Hannigan will not have much resemblance to Burnett's in this regard.
What did you think of "Sign"? It's more of that "sensuality," but it still makes me laugh, and I really do wish Warbucks and Hannigan shared more scenes in the stage version.
I like the July 4 finale more than the Christmas setting. You're right about "New Deal" being an anti-climactic number. Don't tell MTI <g>, but the production I was in 1990 cut the song off after the first two stanzas (i.e., before the bridge where FDR is cracking an invisible whip over the orphan reindeer -- which is kinda weird if you think about it too much) and segued into, basically, the reprise of "Tomorrow" from the Cabinet scene (which we had not had already, because our director cut that scene for time - yikes!)
I mean to add - I am afraid my opinion of the film's staging of "Hard Knock Life" has changed over the years. It is still my favorite arrangement of the number, but, as my wife pointed out when I was showing some of the Blu-ray to our daughter, it does look like they're having entirely too much fun. Your point about the girls finding fun where they can is a valid one; I guess we just differ on how we think the filmmakers struck the balance.
I also really like "Let's Go to the Movies," given, as you point out, the context of this being a film, and reaching a broader audience than a Broadway production. I do think, however, the "film within the film" starring Reinking and Finney is a bit too much and too long.
Mike. after I posted my original thoughts I actually caught a repeat showing on TV.
Upon a repeat viewing this weekend I realized that I had focused mostly on Annie and her actions. What I had missed was all the ancillary stuff in the background (gymnastics in the sewing room). Upon further reflection I think the orphans are just a bit too cheerful. That making of video Lights, Camera; Annie indicates they put all the gymnastic stuff in because it was popular with little girls at the time (this was the era of Nadia Comaneci). I think they also wanted fill up the screen with orphans, something just seven girls don't do.
-There was the scene with the dead mouse down Hannigan's blouse which opens with the orphans in a narrow courtyard marching around in a circle chanting "It's the hard knock life for us". It was clever and cute.
-I did mention Sign. I think it is a fine, funny number. I suspect it was added to give Carol more singing time. Remember, in the stage version Miss Hannigan only gets Little Girls and Easy Street and its' reprise for songs.
-The reason I disliked Carol in her underwear has to do with seeing it in 1982 and it reminding me of accidentally seeing my grandmother in her underwear. Somethings a kid just doesn't forget seeing, nor can they un-see it.
The scene that really bugs me now is that whole Grace begging Warbucks to adopt Annie. How does he go from saying "I don't now nor will I ever like kids!" to a scene with him trying to give her the locket? The screen writer and director botched that part. I suspect they were more interested in playing up a romance between Grace and Warbucks. The conversation between Annie and Warbucks in the pool was all about how Annie says he doesn't notice Grace. It's a fine subplot, but it's a subplot to the Annie and Warbucks relationship.
There was no Grace dance or dream sequence during LGTTM scene. The making of documentary shows it, and I swear I remember it and being bored yet it isn't in the version broadcast on TV.
I think the chase ending works a better than the stage ending. From what we know now, the FBI of that era was fairly incompetent at digging for clues and relied more on beating things out of people. The stage version just makes it easier to tie up clues and that's fine.
I agree with you on New Deal For Christmas. I've never really liked that number, too many logic holes and that creepy bit with little girls pretending to be reindeer bothers me. The recent Broadway revival really made me like it a whole lot more, It was at a faster tempo and a good tap number especially for Emily and her solo- not to mention the bit about her chasing Hannigan across the Warbucks balcony with Hanningan yelling "Get away from me!". The chandelier tree was a bit odd, but overall it was the best version of that song I've seen.
Kinda wish Sony would remake the musical to include the best of the stage and the 1982 movie.
I think you *could* do something with the orphans a little more involved - on Youtube I;ve seen one video of a play - I'd have to search for where - which has Molly still there for some reason, hiding when Miss Hannigan and rooster and Lily discuss their plan. She has to move around Miss Hannigan's desk to avoid being seen, and after they leave she hollers for the others to come quick - that they were going to do something bad to Annie.
The last scene has the orphans running in and revealing it, one of the older ones rips off Rooster's fake mustache, etc.. And then they go to what happens in most plays.
Honestly, the census and hospital birth and death records are where they would go to find birth data, not the FBI, so I can see them learning she's Annie Bennett easily. It's finding out who the Mudges are that might take a bit of detective work; but I think the orphans *could* do it becasue, frankly, we don't know what Miss Hannigan does the day or two between her plot with Rooster and the Mudges showing up.
There could be *lots* of little clues. "Hey, Molly thought she saw a suitcase." "Why's she getting extra food for the kitchen, she never does that?" "Hey, she accidentally blurted out that x, y, and z, which is different than what she said before." "Hey, why's Miss Hannigan suddenly saying Annie might have found her parents - she always taunted her before and said they'd never show up."
Unforunately, you'd need another scene or two just to have the orphans playing Nancy Drew.
Here's the video of the play where Molly is eavesdropping and the orphans show up to reveal the Mudges,as I mentioned. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5liHQ44n7k
It ends with "I Don't Need Anyone But You." Not quite Nancy Drew like I mentioned above would work, but still interesting.
I am a hugo "Wizard of Oz" fan and honestly have never recognized Ray Bolger in this scene, nor had I ever read about his cameo before in the movie "Annie". Thanks for the information. I enjoyed the movie "Annie", but I was disappointed with the song omissions and additions, expecting the movie to be more like the stage version. The Disney movie was okay, especially liked Audra McDonald as Grace. Thought having Miss Hannigan disguise herself to kidnap Annie seemed bizarre, as if Annie would not recognize her, but other aspects were okay. Having the song "Tomorrow" back where it belonged was a highlight. I also enjoyed Kristen Chenowith as Lilly.