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A lot of money but not much love
on 17 May 2011
NB: As is their wont, Amazon have unhelpfully lumped all the reviews for different versions of this film together. This review refers to the John Huston-Aileen Quinn version.
Annie is watchable enough, but despite the lavish budget - not always apparent onscreen - it never hits the highs. More solid than inspired, and typically anonymous for a later John Huston film, Arlene Sellers characteristically derivative and unimaginative choreography is a problem: all too often at cross-purposes with the plot, the dancers manage to make it look better than it is, but that's not really the idea. Much of the cast are wasted and a couple of the songs thrown away, but at least it's not a disaster of Chorus Line proportions.
The original Region 2 PAL DVD only offered an isolated score (music only), still gallery; filmographies and theatrical trailer as extras, while the subsequent anniversary edition includes a 12-minute interview with Aileen Quinn, music video for Play's version of It's a Hard Knock Life and the trailer. Both have a decent but not outstanding 2.35:1 widescreen transfer. Sony's region-free Blu-ray offers a less than stellar transfer that doesn't look much of an improvement over an upscaled DVD with the same extras as the anniversary edition as well as three TV spots, the full trailer and a teaser trailer that includes much behind the scenes footage, though not the original TV making of documentary from the film's release that included, among other things, footage of an alternate version of Easy Street to the one used in the film.