Now, for all intents and purposes, I really should like Annie. Heck, I should love it-- I'm a big fan of musicals, Carol Burnett, Bernadette Peters, and Tim Curry--heck, who doesn't love Tim Curry?--but oh, Annie terrified me.
Annie tells the story of the tiny orphan victim of an abusive alcoholic sadist. Cheery, right? Along the way, there's animal abuse (the threat of Sandy getting sent off to the sausage factory?), pervasive Orientalist racism (his name is "Punjab?" Really?), a terrorist bomb plot (drat those Bolsheviks!), and the revelation that Annie's parents were killed in a fire (Aaugh! Fire!).
I remember when I cowered during the "Little Girls" musical number, as Miss Hannigan vowed to "step on their freckles," my mother comforted me by assuring me that "in real life, Carol Burnett was actually a very nice, very funny lady." This led to my (erroneous) years-long belief that my mother was somehow BFFs with the Queen of Television Comedy.
I will say, in Annie's defense, that I'm sure it's hard to make an uplifting musical comedy about the Great Depression. That, and I'm eternally grateful that the eponymous little red-mopped ragamuffin on film didn't have the same soulless, blank-eyed stare as her comic strip counterpart.
No one cares for you a smidge when you're in an orphanage.
Annie. Dir. John Huston. Perf. Carol Burnett, Albert Finney, Ann Reinking. Columbia, 1982.
Annie (Special Anniversary Edition)