Refusing to Suspend My Disbelief: Annie

Though based on both a comic strip and a musical–serious mediums, our subject this week is not expected to represent a realistic, documentary-like depiction of depression-era America.  But some of its asinine details and choices are depressing none-the-less.

 

Refusing to Suspend My Disbelief: Annie

 

1) Annie’s Bad Attitude–Yes, perhaps she seems cute and feisty with that curly red hair, but otherwise she’s an arrogant and manipulative little bitch.  Right off the bat, as she’s pulling away from the orphanage with Miss Farrell, she shouts up to her friends that she’ll bring them all presents.  Uh, excuse me, Annie? Think maybe you’re acting a bit presumptuous? You just met Miss Farrell minutes ago, what makes you think you’re getting anything? In fact, later when she arrives at the mansion she thinks she’s been brought to clean.

 

She also uses disgusting tactics to pressure Miss Farrell to accept the dog she’s just met and fallen in love with.  “Then…I’m not coming.” Some threat.  Farrell, who had just selected her a second before and didn’t even know her, should have said, “Well then the hell with you little girl. Give me another.”

 

 

Annie uses guilt to pressure Warbucks into letting her stay with him. Then more guilt so that she may meet the president, and see a film completely inappropriate for a child. Finally, anguish so that Warbucks might help find her parents. Ingrate. (By the way, shouldn’t Warbucks’ influential friends [J. Edgar] immediately have discovered her parents were dead?) She also bullies the orphans then puts them all at risk with escape attempts, and by trying to shelter a dangerous and probably disease-ridden stray dog.

 

2) “I Think I’m Gonna Like It Here”

 

One of the catchiest and most enjoyable numbers in the film is also one of its sloppiest and most illogical scenes.  Why would Annie think she’s there to clean the house?  Yeah, a mansion clearly filled with servants usually hires little girls from the local orphanage to do the windows.  Some absurd moments:  How does Farrell know who will be doing everything for Annie, (“Ceceil will pick up all your clothes…your bath is drawn by Mrs. Greer…), if they’ve “never had a little girl.”  It doesn’t seem like they planned it ahead of time, as the entire household is stunned like a Yeti walked in, when Annie arrives.  And what does Farrell mean when she makes that face and says “I’m glad, she’s glad to volunteer”?  Grace, it took you one visit and an hour to get Annie, why are you so relieved? How taxing was this search for you?  And c’mon, is Ceceil really able to get a proper measurement of Annie when the girl is held aloft, and measured around the middle of her body in a completely random and rushed fashion?

 

3) A Few Things About Punjab–Is director John Huston really trying to say that this guy can magically levitate things like the airplane, (with clearly visible wire), that Annie’s playing with?  Then why not save her that way in the end instead of using the turban?  And would even a mystical, turban-wearing black man be spouting Buddist (?) truths as Annie hangs so perilously close to a sure death?  Is he Buddist, Hindu, Sikh, or just an African-American? His accent is Caribbean. Voodoo? Where did Warbucks find this powerful bodyguard?

 

annie-punjab

 

4) Miss Hannigan’s Redemption–Why in God’s name is Miss Hannigan riding an
elephant, and not in jail as the move ends?  The movie either indicates or implies that she is guilty of the following offenses: Locking the orphans in the closet, physical abuse (it is called the paddle closet after all), providing improper food for her wards, inappropriate sexual conduct with local men, alcoholism and the illegal production of alcohol per the Volstead Act, kidnapping, and fraud.

 

Speaking of the fraud, did a small fake mustache really trick Hannigan into not recognizing her brother? Oh yes. If you look at the photos below, you will see that the mustache makes Tim Curry look like two totally different people.  Remember, he already has a small pencil-thin mustache.

 

rooster

 

I guess Hannigan’s redeeming act is to change her mind about killing Annie–chasing Rooster as he pursues our wayward orphan.  She needn’t bother.  Rooster clearly isn’t strong enough to even peel a ten year old girl’s fingers from the beam with which she is desperately hanging.  I guess Miss Hannigan’s punishment for all the crimes is a knockout punch from her brother.  This hardly seems fair.  But then again since “no one cares for you a smidge when your in an orphanage,” why should the law come down on Miss Hannigan? And is that Punjab trying to get with her at the end?

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