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John Huston
Aileen Quinn, Albert Finney, Carol Burnett
Writing Credits:
Carol Sobieski

The movie of "Tomorrow".

A spunky young orphan is taken in by a rich eccentric, much to the chagrin of the cantankerous woman who runs the orphanage.

Box Office:
$50 million.
Opening Weekend:
$5,312,062 on 1102 screens.
Domestic Gross:

Rated PG.

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Dolby Vision
English Dolby Atmos
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English DTS-HD MA 2.0
Spanish Stereo 2.0
French Dolby 2.0
German Dolby 2.0
Korean Dolby 5.1
Italian DTS-HD MA 4.0
Polish Dolby 5.1
Portuguese Dolby 1.0
Castillian Dolby 2.0
Spanish Dolby 1.0
Chinese Simplified
Chinese Traditional
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 127 min.
Price: $164.99
Release Date: 10/25/2022
Available Only As Part of 6-Film “Columbia Classics Collection Volume 3”

Little Orphan Annie 1932 Feature Film
• Audio Commentary with Actors Aileen Quinn, Carol Burnette, Ann Reinking, Tim Curry and Rosanne Sorrentino
• “Revisiting Annie” Featurette
• “Behind the Music” Featurette
• “Looking Back” Featurettes
• “It’s a Hard-Knock Life” Music Video
• “The Age of Annie” Trivia Game
• “Sing Along with Annie” Subtitle Feature
• “My Hollywood Adventure with Aileen Quinn” Featurette
• Trailers and TV Spots
• Blu-ray Copy


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Sony UBP-X700 4K Ultra HD Dolby Vision Blu-ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Annie [4K UHD] (1982)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (February 21, 2023)

As a kid in the 1970s, I enjoyed stage shows. Annie - the musical adaptation of the Little Orphan Annie comic - was among my favorites.

It’s hard to remember what an odd project this seemed to be at the time. Nowadays everything is adapted into something or other, but I think a stage musical version of a comic strip was pretty unique when Annie appeared in 1977.

The show clearly became a huge success and talk soon turned to the inevitable film version of the stage production. I’m sure this rendition seemed like a sure-fire hit, one that received a then-massive $50 million budget.

Annie started its journey to film and finally appeared in the summer of 1982. With legendary director John Huston at the reins and boasting a solid cast of professionals like Albert Finney, Carol Burnett, Bernadette Peters, Tim Curry, Ann Reinking and others, plus 10-year-old newcomer Aileen Quinn - the winner of a massive talent search - in the title role, how could it fail?

Pretty easily. The movie wasn’t a financial flop but it didn’t generate as much “buzz” as the producers hoped, and its $57 million gross was nothing to cause much excitement.

In a busy summer - with much more successful films like ET the Extra-Terrestrial, Star Trek II and Poltergeist on screens - Annie came and went without much fuss.

40 years later, Annie seems just as limp and silly as it did in 1982. As is the case with many musicals, the storyline barely exists.

We find Little Orphan Annie (Quinn) stuck in a New York City orphanage with a group of other cute young girls. Despite their bleak lives - they’re constantly hounded by nasty house mother Miss Hannigan (Burnett) - Annie maintains a consistently-cheery disposition and always feels certain that better times are right around the corner, as she just knows that her parents will soon come and retrieve her from that nasty orphanage.

Some sunshine eventually enters her life when billionaire Oliver Warbucks (Finney) decides to host an orphan for a week as a PR stunt. His assistant Grace Farrell (Reinking) picks the irrepressible Annie, and she inevitably wins over gruff “Daddy” Warbucks and all of his staff - which apparently includes President Franklin Roosevelt (Edward Herrmann).

Warbucks decides to help Annie find her birth parents, but inevitably, scam artists arrive on the scene in the form of Hannigan, her brother Rooster (Curry), and his girlfriend Lily (Peters). Also inevitably, all ends well as the baddies are punished and Warbucks decides to adopt Annie.

While I generally try to avoid too much plot information because I hate to reveal “spoilers”, I took the chance here because - well, c’mon!

It’s Annie! It’s not like I’m spilling the beans about The Crying Game or The Sixth Sense. The film features a simplistic plot that exists solely as an excuse to showcase some musical numbers.

And that it does, though I couldn’t stand a single tune heard in the movie. Bizarrely, the stage version’s most popular number - the dreadful and ubiquitous “Tomorrow” - loses its solo performance by Annie and is transformed into a sing-along for Annie, Warbucks, FDR and Eleanor.

Huh? At least the filmmakers had the good taste to keep the president in his chair. It wouldn’t have surprised me to see them make FDR dance.

“Good taste” is a commodity in short supply through this nauseating film. I frequently had to fight the urge to slap myself, though actually, I wanted to slap Quinn due to her disgustingly forced chipper and cute presence, but since that would be impossible, I wanted to hit myself instead.

Easily the least palatable scenes in the film are those in the orphanage, as there we must confront a slew of precocious and “adorable” youngsters, not just one with a bad perm. I like kids a lot, but not these kinds of artificial show-biz creations who couldn’t take a breath without permission from their stage mothers.

One might think that the remainder of the cast would save the project, but they’re rendered impotent in the horrible face of it all. Nothing can negate a) the saccharine-sweet tunes, and b) those damned kids!

None of the adults are bad, really - Finney even manages a couple of minor laughs - but they can’t overcome the untalented terror that is Aileen Quinn. They auditioned 8000 kids and she was the best they could do?!

Perhaps, and I have to admit that Annie would have been a tough sell for me in any case. However, in my defense, I should relate that I’ve developed some grudging admiration for a few movie musicals. After all, I gave My Fair Lady and Chicago positive reviews, and I even liked parts of West Side Story and The Sound Of Music.

Unfortunately, Annie never remotely approaches that level. John Huston isn’t exactly a name I associate with musicals, so how he got wrapped up in this clunker is anybody’s guess. Whatever the case, Annie is a perfectly dreadful dud.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio B/ Bonus B

Annie appears in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. This was a largely positive Dolby Vision presentation.

Sharpness seemed very good for the most part, but it varied. Most shots looked acceptably concise and distinctive, but more than a few moderately soft images appeared.

I suspect these issues stemmed from the source photography, but I couldn’t explain why the movie was so up and down. Still, a lot of the image looked pretty terrific.

I noticed no jagged edges or moiré effects, and edge haloes were absent. No print flaws materialized, as the movie stayed clean, and grain felt natural.

Colors were often strong. The movie favored a fairly natural palette, and most of the hues were lively and full. HDR added range and impact to the tones.

Blacks seemed deep and tight, while shadows appeared smooth. HDR brought impact to whites and contrast. Despite all the inconsistencies, the presentation was generally good and deserved a “B”.

Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, the film’s Dolby Atmos soundfield stuck largely to the forward channels for most of the movie. Not surprisingly, music dominated the mix, and the songs and score displayed positive stereo imaging throughout the film.

I also heard a lot of good usage of effects from the side channels, as these made the track more lively and engaging, and the sounds panned nicely from speaker to speaker. The surrounds largely restricted themselves to general support of the music, but they boosted the soundscape in an appealing manner.

Sound quality seemed good for its era. Dialogue came across as reasonably natural and concise, though occasional instances of edginess arose.

Effects seemed acceptably accurate and clean, with only minor distortion. Music tended to be peppy and bright, with nice range. This wasn’t a killer mix but it worked fine for the movie.

How did this 4K UHD compare to the Blu-ray version? The Atmos track opened up a bit more than the prior disc’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 version and also felt a little tighter, though it didn’t offer a notable step up in quality.

The 4K’s Dolby Vision image came across as better defined, cleaner, brighter and more natural than the Blu-ray. Even with its ups and downs, expect an upgrade here.

This set mixes old and new extras, and on the 4K itself, we find a 1932 film called Little Orphan Annie. It lasts one hour, 26 minutes and shows Annie (Mitzi Green) on her own after Daddy Warbucks (Edgar Kennedy) pursues a fortune.

Annie meets crying recently orphaned boy Mickey (Buster Phelps) and bonds with him. She attempts to benefit the little lad and keep him safe.

Wait – Daddy Warbucks is so poor he has to hop railcars like a hobo? Apparently this Daddy lost his money in the stock market crash, which I guess felt timely.

Surprising character choices aside, the movie becomes a chore to watch. It lacks enough actual story to fill even its modest one-hour running time, and the actors don’t help.

Green looks like she’s 12 going on 40 and seems far too old for the role. Phelps whines a lot and lacks any other personality.

The “plot” just goes nowhere and provides virtually no entertainment value. The movie offers intrigue as a period piece but that’s all I can say for it.

At least the 4K presents it well, as the print held up well over the last 90 years. It shows little wear and looks surprisingly good given its age and origins. Inevitable anomalies occur but the end result still works fine overall.

Audio also feels more than competent for its era. I’ve seen better reproduced movies from the early 1930s, hut this one nonetheless fares nicely.

From there we go to the included Blu-ray copy. Hosted by actor Aileen Quinn, we get an audio commentary from actors Carol Burnett, Ann Reinking, Tim Curry and Rosanne Sorrentino. All offer remarks from individual interviews edited together to accompany the film on a semi-screen-specific basis.

Through this commentary, we get notes about changes made from the stage show to the film as well as cast/crew and aspects of the production. At times, we find some useful insights about Annie, most of which come from Sorrentino due to her status as a veteran of both stage and film versions.

The others provide sporadic nuggets as well, but they can veer off-topic a lot of the time. For instance, a good chunk of Burnett’s involvement looks at her early career. Though these non-Annie topics can seem interesting, they occupy too much of the track and can run too long.

Also, it seems odd that Quinn acts solely as host but never offers her own remarks. It feels like a waste to recruit the movie’s lead and not allow her to chat about the flick. All of this leads to an erratic commentary.

We get more from the MIA actor via Revisiting Annie. In this 12-minute, four-second piece, Quinn discusses her experiences with the stage production and the movie.

Don’t expect a hard-hitting chat from Quinn, as she remains sunny and perky. Still, she adds some good notes about her experiences.

Behind the Music runs 10 minutes, two seconds and offers notes from composer Charles Strouse. He gives us thoughts about his work and makes this a fairly informative discussion.

Next comes Looking Back, a domain that splits into four sections. Made back in 1982, “Annie’s Journey to the Screen” fills 17 minutes and features Burnett, Quinn, Sorrentino, Curry, Reinking, producer Ray Stark, director of photography Richard Moore, assistant director Jerry Ziesmer, choreographer Arlene Phillips, production designer Dale Hennesey, and actors Albert Finney, Lara Berk, Toni Ann Gisondi, April Lerman, Bernadette Peters, and Geoffrey Holder.

“Back” offers various notes about the production. It lacks much depth and feels largely promotional, but the glimpses of the shoot add value.

“’Easy Street’” lasts five minutes, 50 seconds and features Burnett, Curry, Peters, and Stark. As implied by the title, this program covers elements related to the “Easy Street” song. It brings another good look behind the scenes.

Next comes “’I Don’t Need Anything But You”, a seven-minute, six-second reel with Finney, Phillips, Henessey, Moore, Ziesmer, and actor Robin Ignico. Like its predecessor, it evaluates one particular production number, and it delivers another effective piece.

“Looking Back” finishes with “Making a Finale”, a silent 17-minute, 49-second piece that shows the creation of the movie’s final production number. Unlike the prior feaurettes, it lacks comments, so it becomes a piece purely made up of shots from the production.

Which means it comes with some value. However, the absence of any audio strips away a lot of the worth.

After this comes a music video from the teen pop group Play as they do their update on “It’s the Hard-Knock Life”. They do a dance pop rendition of the tune. The video alternates their dancing and lip-synching with movie clips.

It’s a lifeless take on the song and a dull video. Too bad the disc didn’t include Jay Z’s “Hard Knock”, since it famously and creatively sampled the Annie track.

A retrospective featurette, My Hollywood Adventure with Aileen Quinn lasts 12 minutes, four seconds. We see and hear from an adult Quinn as she chats about her Annie experiences.

She gets into her early interest in performing, her tests for the film and her casting, the production, and publicity stints. Some interesting archival bits pop up along the way, as we see parts of Quinn’s screen test and her initial press conference.

Quinn divulges a few decent notes about the production as well, but mostly she just gives us a glossy and puffy chat about the flick. It’s not a terrible featurette, but it doesn’t seem terribly useful or informative.

Sing Along with Annie! provides a Karaoke feature. It allows you to select any of the movies songs individually or you can watch the whole movie with subtitles. If that sounds like fun, go for it.

Ads finish the set. We get four Trailers for Annie as well as three TV Spots.

Note that the Blu-ray included here differs from the earlier release linked above. As of February 2023, this Blu-ray remains exclusive to the “Columbia Classics” 4K package. A solo release may ensue someday but that’s just a guess.

Annie remains a dud because the movie itself is an insufferably cute and cloying concoction. How so much talent wasted itself on this mess is a mystery to me. The 4K UHD lacks substantial supplements but delivers fairly good picture and audio. I find this to be a pretty unwatchable flick, but I can’t complain about this satisfying Blu-ray.

Note that as of January 2023, the 4K UHD disc of Annie can be purchased only as part of a six-movie “Columbia Classics Collection Volume 3”. This set also includes 4K UHD versions of It Happened One Night, From Here to Eternity, To Sir, with Love, The Last Picture Show, and As Good As It Gets.

To rate this film visit the Special Anniversary Edition review of ANNIE

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main