It might be the worst film adaptation of a pretty good Broadway musical ever.
I understand that John Huston hated the song "Tomorrow" and would only allow it sung over the credits. But why did he and the producers take so many of the show's other good songs (like "NYC" and the title song) out and replace them with such shit like "We Got Annie" and "Let's Go to the Movies" and "Dumb Dog"? Why did they film the Warbucks mansion in what looked to be a giant mausoleum? Why were the choreographed numbers so chaotic and filmed with so many zillions of children?
In case you've forgotten the horror, here's "We Got Annie."
[quote]It might be the worst film adaptation of a pretty good Broadway musical ever.
John Huston directed it; he knew NOTHING about how to do a movie musical. I think that was the main reason it was so bad; he didn't know what the hell he was doing.
Favorite movie as a child and still is to this day, but then again I was who they were marketing the movie to.
Director John Houston had no idea how to use the camera to film a musical number. Like in "Let's Go To The Movies" the characters sit in an empty theater, all you see is empty space. And at the finale, Annie and Daddy Warbucks dance a bit, while a huge crowd around them stands still. Everything else sucks, too.
Really, all Houston seemed to care about was getting the camera up Ann Reinking's skirt.
Well as the current Broadway revival shows, Annie is not exactly a great musical. Huston had little feel for the material or a musical. Still Finney, Burnett, Peters and Curry have some good moments.
I wasn't aware that Annie had much critical acclaim, I thought it was just popular. Many people hate "Tomorrow" with a passion, it's generally considered to be very cheesy.
Who said it had much critical acclaim?
R6, be that as it may, "Tomorrow" was the ONE memorable song from the score. Annie being lost and alone on the streets of NYC and singing it to the stray mutt she just found is the DEFINITIVE moment from the show. And that jackass director CUT IT OUT of the movie!
"a pretty good Broadway musical"
I've watched it more than once, fast-forwarding through everything but Carol Burnett. I never tire of her Miss Hannigan.
[quote]"a pretty good Broadway musical"
That's "so much critical acclaim"???
Now whenever I hear "Tomorrow", the first thing I think of is Beverly Sutphin clubbing a woman to death with a leg of lamb.
The blonde orphan who sings "Rover, why don't you think it over?" steals the whole entire movie.
Dad used to sit in the screening room by himself, cackling while rubbing one out during Anne's scenes.
I spent a week working on the movie as a rehearsal pianist...I remember that John Huston wasn't in over his head, so much as utterly disinterested. He was at the end of a long incredible career, and he just wanted the pay check.
I hate the movie myself, but whenever I meet a twink in their twenties, it's one of their favorites. A lot of people spent their childhoods watching it over and over on dvd.
Ironic, considering Huston played a paedophile in Chinatown.
It's like Richard Attenborough's "A Chorus Line" in that you don't know QUITE how bad it is until you see a good production of the original musical.
Every adult female, R15? Watch again. Those little orphan girls show more panty than the cast of an '80s teen sex comedy. And Aileen Quinn twirls like she's Shirley McClaine at Meryl Streep's birthday party. It's genuinely creepy.
I remember Pauline Kael's review made mention of this.
The original Annie got rave reviews. It won the Tony for best musical (1977). And it ran for 6 years. The book by the way is actually very well written.
Not many musicals were spinning off hit songs after the 1960's but "Tommorow" ....as annoying as the song is....did well. Grace Jones had a disco verision that was popular at the time, Streisand recorded it, Elaine Page recorded it.
The orphans and the dog were a publicists dream. They were all over the place.
Reid Shelton the original Daddy Warbucks would often go to a nearby porn place on 8th Ave to get sucked off before the show.
Ah... NY in the 1970's.
Everything was off about it. Ann Reinking'S jazz dancing was hilariously anachronistic. Carol Burnett gave such a dreadful performance it would have killed her movie career if she ever had one.
Nazi Michael Medved loved it. Nuff said.
Dare we ask "WHET" Aileen Quinn?
And I forgot to mention the incomparable Dorothy Loudon, a much loved showbiz pro.
If you want to see how Miss Hannigan was meant to be played watch the video posted below. She appears at around 5.00 min.
I loved this movie ss a kid, too. I had the record andI'd listen to it over and over and over and over and over again and make huge messes in the kitchen so I could clean them up while singing and dancing to It's A Hard Knock Life.
I never got Little Orphan Annie at all. Neither the comic strip or any of the musical productions hold the slightest interest for me. Ugly character.
R23 is spot on. I saw the original 3 times, in SF, on tour, and on Bway a couple years later. The late great Keene Curtis on tour; Dorothy Loudon, thank God!; Harve Presnell on Bway (replacing Reid Shelton eventually); perhaps - what's her name, the original "Gooch" in Mame - as Hannigan. It is in many ways - book, lyrics, songs - an almost "perfect" musical. I put "perfect" in quotes 'cause I can't quite describe what I mean- I KNOW it's not literally perfect; maybe compleat is a better word. A shame that both the film and the sequel (on Bway) sucked.
Yes I'm old, and for these memories: GLAD!
And why in the play does Annie not get the frizz hairdo until the end and in the movie, the kid has it All the time. That always bothered me.
Reid Shelton was a hottie.
R23 is right, at least it's been rectified with a loving retelling back in 1999. Just like Midler's 'Gypsy' and Glen Close's 'South Pacific' have redeemed very poor film versions of those musicals.
If RENT could be filmed as both a regular movie and a capture of the stage production, it's surprising ANNIE has never received the same treatment.
"My son will come out tomorrow, bet you're bottom dollar that tomorrow my son's gay." Never mind.
[quote] Not many musicals were spinning off hit songs after the 1960's but "Tommorow" ....as annoying as the song is....did well. Grace Jones had a disco verision that was popular at the time, Streisand recorded it, Elaine Page recorded it.
What do you mean it "did well", either some version of it charted or it didn't. A bunch of people recording it doesn't mean shit, people record songs from musicals all the time. The Grace Jones version was embarrassing. It wasn't even released as a single, let alone a hit.
She was at the Chiller autograph convention just last month in New Jersey. For having only one big credit, she always had people at her table. She was with her Mother and they were both really sweet.
[quote]And why in the play does Annie not get the frizz hairdo until the end and in the movie, the kid has it All the time.
Well, for one thing it's not a flattering look on most little girls. The only reason they put her in the red dress and give her the perm in the stage musical is because it's Christmas and Mr. Warbucks and Grace want to do something special for her; and at the time the musical was first produced (1977), many people had strong memories of the original cartoon in the newspapers where Little Orphan Annie always had curly orange hair and wore the red dress, and they wanted to connect to those.
John Huston only wanted to do the film because he had such happy memories of the original newspaper comic. So he insisted they write the screenplay to include his two favorite supporting characters from the newspaper strip, Punjab and the Asp. he also arranged to cast a little girl to play Annie who genuinely had curly red hair in real life.
Nowadays almost no one remembers the original cartoon strip except by name. I've seen some productions where they've not even put Annie in the curly wig and the red dress at the end.
You do not know what you are talking about.
And learn to read.
I wrote: "Not many musicals were spinning off hit songs after the 1960's but "Tommorow" ....as annoying as the song is....did well. "
In fact: Broadway was a huge source of hit songs from the 1920s through the 1960s.
After "Hair" and "Promises Promises" in 1968, B'way as a source of hit songs (or even popular songs) began to dry up.
From 1968 to 1977 I can only think of the following songs from B'way musicals that had any impact nationally at the time:
" I Don't Know How to Love Him" (Jesus Christ Superstar),"Send in the Clowns" (Night Music) "Day By Day" (Godspell), "Ease on Down the Road" (the Wiz), "What I did for Love" (Chorus Line), "All that Jazz" (Chicago).
And that's pretty much it (If you can add any others, please do).
And of those songs maybe only 2 "charted" as bonafide hits.
But notice in my post I say nothing about charting... I simply mention that the song did well. In fact, while it may not have been covered into a hit, it was indeed a song that had an impact nationally ...EVERYONE in the country knew the song "Tomorrow" in 1977. And in time, the song has become rather iconic.
And the fact that Streisand and Page both chose to record it, does say something about the song.
[quote] And the fact that Streisand and Page both chose to record it, does say something about the song.
Yeah, that they had lapses in taste or have bad taste, just like you do.
I'll help you out by posting my original comment again ...and using caps:
"Not many musicals were spinning off hit songs after the 1960's but "Tommorow" ....AS ANNOYING AS THE SONG IS....did well. "
Except for SJP has any former Annie had Any career afterward?
Allison Smith played Annie and was on Kate and Allie as a teen and had a recurring role on West Wing (Leo's daughter).
Neither filmed version has the Hooverville scene and that's one of my favorite songs.
I loved the 82 movie when it came out (I was gay and 10) but now I see it as clunky and sloppy. The dubbed over sound effects in the "Easy Street" number are unfortunate because Burnett, Peters and Curry are so good- although Burnett seems like she wants her brother to bone her.
A a musical, it began the careers of quite a few television actresses, Alyssa Milano was one of the orphans. In terms of the Annies having long careers that's less the case than for the orphans in general. Have you ever seen the documentary Life After Tomorrow, you might want to check into renting it. 20/20 did a piece on it when it was released.
EASY STREET was intended to be a large scale production number on the street. It was filmed but then shelved for some reason.
Burnett is quite good in the movie. As is Ann Reinking.
[quote]As is Ann Reinking.
Look at the link at the OP again. You're misremembering. She was awful.
You should see the documentary "Life After 'Tomorrow'". Its about all the girls who played in various productions of "Annie" and their lives after. Very good movie.
R48 Her role wasn't much, but she made the most of it. And Reinking's dancing is sublime as always. Kael compared her to Barrie Chase who danced with Astaire in those legendary television specials.
Reinking was made for the silver screen. It's a shame she wasn't bigger in that area.
R34 As opposed to the the horrible Jason Alexander "Bye Bye Birdie" and the even worse Matthew Broderick "Music Man," both of which were far worse than their original movie adaptations.
John Huston wanted Lucille Ball in the title role (she had the red hair already) but Gary Morton talked her out of it.
It was released before I was born, but my sister made me watch it on what seemed like every other evening for the first 6 years of my childhood. It kind of traumatized me and I don't have good feelings toward anything related to the production or the character of Little Orphan Annie. I would have nightmares that the orphans would all come over to our house, tie me up, and force me to eat broccoli while they sang "embarrassing secrets" about me to an orchestra track (it was really scary at the time).
R46, Alyssa Milano wasn't in the movie, but I believe she did get inspired to child-act from seeing an Annie stage production...and then possibly was in one?
It was awful but it was crack for little girls in the '80's. My older sister was obsessed with this movie and watched it over & over on video. Our mother got thoroughly fed up with "GOOD MORNING MISS HANNIGAN" at the breakfast table and I was forced into service as Punjab and various servants when my sister wanted a dance partner.
These kids recreate "We got Annie" with more skill than my sister & I ever managed.
R55, Thanks for sharing. I don't feel so alone now.
Whoa, R55 and I are comment twins!
Sister: "I'm Annie and you're all the other orphans!"
OP, for that matter, why was Huston hired to direct the movie of ANNIE if he hated the song "Tomorrow?" Talk about a perverse choice.
I think those of you consider "Tomorrow" an "annoying" song feel that way only because (1) it was so overexposed at one time that it became a joke, and (2) a lot of little girls don't perform it well.
P.S I hope the person who praised the TV versions of GYPSY and SOUTH PACIFIC had tongue in check. GYPSY is quite good in many ways but is ultimately ruined by Midler's monstrous mugging in several scenes, while SP with Glennie is pretty much horrid through and through except for Harry Connick's body and a few other bright spots.
It's amazing to think they got away with that embarrassing dance break for the Asian guy. Seriously? Was the rest of,y childhood this casually racist.
One of the odder things about this movie is how brilliantly almost everyone is cast: Burnett, Curry, Peters, etc. And yet the one person you'd assume had no business in a musical (Albert Finney) is the best thing in it.
Here's "NYC" which is a nice catchy song, if unspectacular on the stage, and which was absolutely begging for a splashy, energetic, musical montage featuring the characters out in New York City. Plus a cast of thousands, or hundreds, as well as some authentic locations. It could have been a total showstopper, in the right hands.
Houston replaced it with "Let's Go to the Movies", in which the characters sit in an empty theater. They watch a sad movie, and Annie fall asleep. It's fifteen minutes of nothing, where there could have been a showstopper. I totally believe Houston just wanted the paycheck.
[quote] A lot of people spent their childhoods watching it over and over on dvd.
We didn't have DVDs, gramps.
[quote]The blonde orphan who sings "Rover, why don't you think it over?" steals the whole entire movie.
That's Amanda Peterson - later made famous by her role as Cindy in the classic film 'Can't Buy Me Love'.
[quote]And that's pretty much it (If you can add any others, please do).
"Being Alive" was known outside of COMPANY in the 1970s.
R40 Would "And I Am Telling You" from "Dreamgirls" qualify?
Didn't Amanda Peterson die very young or something? She had a lot of potential.
R61, that NYC idea sounds ghastly, like something out of the movie version of Hello, Dolly!
They did NYC in the TV remake with a cameo from original Annie Andrea McCardle
They shot a whole outdoor street version of "Easy Street" that hat scrapped and replaced with the one withn Burnett, Tim Curry and Bernadette Peters never leave the orphange. You can see parts here at about 1:30.
R40 No, "And I Am Telling You" would not apply in the context of my post. Reread it.
R67 An argument could be made for "Being Alive". Also "Corner of the Sky" from Pippin. But I don't think they were anywhere near as well known as those I listed.
Amanda Peterson is still alive, but no longer acts. Now lives in Colorado, where she was born.
I agree with you, R75, about "Being Alive" not being as popular as the songs you mentioned, although it was something of a cabaret standard in the 70s. I don't think "Corner of the Sky" was that well-known until after the original run of Pippin had ended. I think it's more of an "audition song" than a beloved standard.
The Jackson 5's "Corner of the Sky" made the top 10 on both the Hot 100 and the R&B charts.
R75 I reread your post and still don't understand why "And I Am Telling You" wouldn't qualify. It charted for both Jennifers, and is certainly a mainstream pop standard that is regularly performed.
R79, he set the boundaries between 1968 and 1977, years before Dreamgirls opened, that's why. Thank you, R78, I had no idea the Jackson Five recorded that song.
I loved the 1999 TV remake. This version of "Tomorrow" always breaks my heart:
Something which hasn't been pointed out here yet is that the stage version of Annie is set during the Christmas period-hence the song "New Deal For Christmas.". The movie version was set in the summertiime and ended with a 4th of July fireworks display. A really dumb idea which was probably Huston's. Annie should definitely have been set at Christmas and released at Christmas.
From 1968 to 1977 I can only think of the following songs from B'way musicals that had any impact nationally at the time:" I Don't Know How to Love Him" (Jesus Christ Superstar),"Send in the Clowns" (Night Music) "Day By Day" (Godspell), "Ease on Down the Road" (the Wiz), "What I did for Love" (Chorus Line), "All that Jazz" (Chicago). And that's pretty much it (If you can add any others, please do).
A few more:
From "Hair" (1969): "Aquarius," "Good Morning Starshine," the title song
From "Promises, Promises" (1969): "I'll Never Fall in Love Again" and the title number
From "The Wiz" (1975) : In addition to "Ease on Down the Road," also "Everybody Rejoice! (Brand New Day)"
From "A Chorus Line" (1976): In addition to "What I Did for Love," also "One"
Watching that clip of "NYC" from the 1999 "Annie" reminds me of what an amazing voice Andrea McArdle had. It's almost freakish it's so powerful and pure.
HAHA, R77. "Corner of the Sky" was MY audition song of choice.
[quote]steals the whole entire movie
[quote]I hate the movie myself
So was the Kathy Bates' movie more faithful to the stage version?
Don't forget Grease which produced, "Summer Nights." The other hit songs "Grease," "You're The One That I Want" (both #1) and "Hopelessly Devoted To You," (#4) were written for the film.
***steels the whole entire movie.
I personally don't see anything erroneously wrong with the other sentence.
Kathy Bates's version of "Little Girls," to contrast with Carol Burnett's, posted earlier:
I agree R90. It's wrong, perhaps, but certainly not erroneously wrong.
"Hair" and "Promises" were both from 1968. Not 1969.
As I mentioned in my post: "After "Hair" and "Promises Promises" in 1968, B'way as a source of hit songs (or even popular songs) began to dry up."
You do have a point with "One" (although I can't think of anyone who has recorded it)... and "Brand New Day".
I forgot "Summer Nights" but I really don't know of any recordings of it until the film. Were there?
Here's a long forgotten song from a long forgotten OFF-B'way show (that had Bette Midler in the cast). It hit the top 10 in 1970... and was sung by the guy who sang it in the show. A rarity.
I loved this movie, and I think for kids, it served it's purpose.
"My name is Grace Farrell."
"Grace? Aptly named."
"Mr Warbucks likes redheaded children."
"10 year old redhead, huh? Nope, sorry. Ain't got it."
"Well how about this child?"
"Annie? You don't want Annie."
"Because she------ sh------ she's a drunk."
"Chess" had "One Night In Bangkok".
I grew up watching this movie as a kid.
I just recently rewatched it and a lot of the commentary here is spot on, it IS very sleazy.
According to Charles Strouse's very sparse bio the original team wasn't really included in the production (which I guess isn't a suprise) and the producer thought he had all the kids in the bag, so he was aiming to make it more sexy. I think they failed in that respect.
Question: In the show is Hannigan as slutty? The way Burnett throws herself at every male in the film is really disturbing.
Also, why did they replace NYC with Let's Go to the Movies? I've only seen some regional productions, but NYC could really have been a big old fashioned show stopping number in the film. It's very odd that they wanted Easy Street to be that, it just makes no sense.
And BTW the "black guy" that has been referenced here is Geoffrey Holder who is sort of a dance legend, although not sure what he was doing in this film.
Any why is Hannigan riding an elephant at the end?
"One Night In Bangkok" was a hit in 1985 and came from the concept recording which evolved into the London stage version. CHESS didn't come to Broadway (and quickly flop) until 1988.
Was George Benson's "On Broadway" (a huge hit) done specifically for "All That Jazz" or was it recorded before the film and they got permission to use it?
"On Broadway" was a hit for the Drifters in 1963. It wasn't written for a Broadway show.
I mean George Benson's version, sorry I should have been more specific. Did George do the cover of "On Broadway" for the movie or did he do it beforehand, the producers of All That Jazz liked it, and asked to use it?
[quote]"One Night In Bangkok" was a hit in 1985 and came from the concept recording which evolved into the London stage version. CHESS didn't come to Broadway (and quickly flop) until 1988.
"Jesus Christ Superstar", "Evita", "Les Miz", "Tommy" & "Jekyll & Hyde" were all concept albums too so by your reasoning, all there hits are disqualified.
I remember seeing it when it first opened witha a friend who was DYING to see it (being a huge theater queen) and we were laughing so much at all the inappropriate panty shots of Aileen Quinn. Now it just seems hugely sleazy.
I was mainly pointing out that the song came way after the 1977 cutoff point the earlier poster specified.