In these times, nothing is more refreshing than songs of brighter tomorrows. It's also pleasant to watch a plucky survivor come into good fortune by a twist of fate that she didn't plan or struggle for. Both ingredients are present in Annie, the screen adaptation of the very successful 1977 Broadway musical. Here is a family film sure to prove entertaining for both children and adults. It is an old-fashioned spectacle and a spunky tribute to youthful optimism.
Aileen Quinn is frolicsome, cheery, and resourceful as Annie, the 1930s waif who lives along with other orphans at the Hudson Street Home for Girls in New York City. She dreams of being reunited with her missing parents one day. Carol Burnett has the juiciest role in the film as Miss Hannigan, the boozy, sex-starved head of the orphanage. She tyrannizes her wards and sarcastically quips, "Why any kid would want to be an orphan is beyond me."
Spirited Annie and her scruffy companion, Sandy, get a new lease on life when they are chosen by Grace (Ann Reinking), the secretary for Daddy Warbucks (Albert Finney), to be guests at his 5th Avenue mansion for the Christmas holidays. The world's richest man caves into the little girl's sweet exuberance and sets out to help locate her parents. In two of the film's magic moments, he goes on the radio with a reward and then to the White House to enlist FDR's (Edward Herrmann) assistance in the search. During this scene, Annie lifts all their spirits with a rousing rendition of "Tomorrow."