The new, updated Annie musical starring Quvenzhane Wallis, Jamie Foxx, and Cameron Diaz opens December 19th. I've seen the trailers, I've watched the cast on Ellen and Good Morning America , I've got the soundtrack...and I am stoked! The more I see, the more I like, and I'm excited to see what changes have been put into effect.
And contrary to what I've been reading online, I'm proof that you can be BOTH a fan of the 1982 film AND look forward to an update. I went through this in the 70s with fans of The Wizard of OZ losing their minds over the prospect of The Wiz...yet here we are in 2014 and the world as we know it hasn't come to an end. There are kids who grew up watching and loving the 1978 film version of The Wiz, considering it a classic. And, surprise - a great many of the same kids harbor a similar affection for the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz. No precious childhood' memories were destroyed, no child suffered trauma in having to confront different Dorothys, and, as the success of the musical Wicked proved, children's myths and stories can be expanded upon and reconfigured with no adverse effects to the original source material. Some like it, some don't...that's life.
The world is big enough, subjective tastes are varied enough, and in the end, pop culture is expansive enough to accommodate remakes, adaptations, re-imaginings of properties without any real harm coming to the original. The propriety protectiveness one feels towards a favored film matters not when there's a chance for a valid artistic reinterpretation. I just had to read one online post from a little African-American girl who was thrilled beyond containment that she was going to see a big-scale movie musical where a little girl who looked like her was at the center; not the sassy best friend of the lead or subordinate extra, but the focus of the plot. Every little kid should get to feel like that.
After seeing so many billboards, bus shelters, and mega-posters around town heralding the forthcoming release of the latest screen incarnation of Annie – that pint-sized, ginger juggernaut of Broadway 1977 (and for those keeping score, this marks adaptation # 3) – I figure I’d better get around to covering John Huston’s 1982 mega-budget, mega-hyped, mega-merchandised movie version before public reaction to the remake (pro or con) influence my memories.
The 1982 movie version of Annie took a while to grow on people. Regarded as a beloved classic by many today, Annie on its release was greeted with a mixed critical reception (nominated for 5 Razzie awards, winning one for Aileen Quinn as Worst Supporting Actress); was trashed in the press by the show's lyricist and the play's original diretor, Martin Charnin ("Terrible, terrible, it distorted everything."); and though it emerged one of the top ten moneymakers of the year, its steep budget ($40 to $50 million), hefty marketing campaign ($10 million), and the record $9.5 spent on acquiring the rights, meant it wouldn't come anywhere near breaking even or showing a profit for many years.
While I wouldn't go so far as to call Annie a classic, neither would I label it the out and out flop its detractors make it out to be. Sure, at times the script is uneven to the point of feeling erratic (Hannigan's 11th hour character redemption will give you whiplash), but I still find its changes to be a marked improvement over the theatrical production. And, thanks to its bouncy score, boundless - if unharnessed - energy, and capable, hardworking cast, Annie manages to be entertaining in spite of never really gelling into the kind of touchstone movie musical event its Broadway success (and producer Ray Stark's investment) augured.
As every living human must by now know, Annie is the significantly retooled movie version of the Tony Award-winning musical phenomenon based on Harold Gray’s comic strip, “Little Orphan Annie.” Set in the Depression-era New York of 1933, Annie is the story of a spunky, unflaggingly optimistic little orphan who, while dreaming
of finding her parents, manages to rescue and adopt a bullied, stray mutt; win the heart of a billionaire industrialist; play cupid for his devoted secretary; thwart a bilko scheme cooked up by the villainous orphanage
matron, Miss Hannigan and her partners in crime, Rooster and Lily; and by fade-out, appears poised, with the help of FDR, to take on the Great Depression itself.
To read the rest of this article, click here: Dreams Are What Le Cinema is For - Annie (1982)