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Leapin' lizards! Children and adults will be equally offended by 1982's Annie, a pitiable film version of the play based on Harold Gray's comic strip Little Orphan Annie. This release — starring Aileen Quinn, Albert Finney, Carol Burnett, Bernadette Peters, Tim Curry, and Ann Reinking — is a glossed-over, Depression-era, song-and dance-extravaganza, and it's rife with feel-good lyrics about being an orphan, living with a drunk, and trying to befriend a workaholic. Annie (Quinn) is an orphan who lives with an overly perky assemblage of singing and tap-dancing girls in an orphanage run by the tippling Miss Hannigan (Burnett). While Miss Hannigan terrorizes the tots and throws herself at anything male that comes to the door, the girls live a "hard-knock life" as they scrub and shine and sing — and sing, and sing, and just keep singing. Along comes billionaire Daddy Warbucks (Finney), a stanch capitalist looking to improve his image by taking in an orphan for a week. Annie gets to be the lucky girl who will live in luxury for a few days — apparently so she can go back to the orphanage and tell the others what they are missing. But when Warbucks and his assistant Grace (Reinking) fall for the little tyke and attempt to adopt her, they discover that Annie still holds out hope that her parents will come back for her. As a gesture of his newfound magnanimity, Warbucks offers a large reward to the rightful parents if they will just step forward. Not surprisingly (this is the Depression after all), the publicity stunt brings singing and dancing fortune-seekers from far and wide. As Annie, the young Aileen Quinn could not be more annoying, or more unattractive with her cloying manner and consistent overacting. The rest of the cast is equally lifeless and lacking in charm in what ultimately is a plodding musical mess. Directed by the legendary John Huston (Treasure of Sierra Madre, Maltese Falcon) who should know better. And if you're unfortunate enough to sit through this film, with any luck you will forget about it tomorrow, or tomorrow, or tomorrow.... Columbia TriStar's DVD edition of Annie offers a clean anamorphic transfer (2.35:1) and a full-screen version, with digitally mastered audio in Dolby 2.0 Surround. Talent files, trailers, production notes. Keep-case.
—Kerry Fall

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