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Film / Annie (1999)

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It's a hard-knock life all over again for Annie.
In 1999, Disney and Columbia-Tristar Television co-produced a Made-for-TV Movie version of Annie that aired on ABC. It made its own share of changes to the stage show, though it was considerably more faithful than the 1982 rendition; reinstating the songs "NYC" and "Something Was Missing" from the stage version, adding no new songs, and revealing the names of Annie's real parents. It starred newcomer Alicia Morton as the title character, with Kathy Bates as Miss Hannigan, Victor Garber as Oliver Warbucks, Audra McDonald as Grace, Alan Cumming as Rooster, and Kristin Chenoweth as Lily.

The film was followed by a third adaptation of the musical in 2014 and a fourth adaptation of the musical entitled Annie Live! that was a live NBC production of the musical in 2021.

This film has examples of:

  • Adaptational Context Change: In the stage version, the Star-to-Be is (as her name implies) an aspiring star who sings about her dream of making it big in New York. In this version, she's the main character of a Broadway show that Warbucks, Annie, and Grace attend.
  • Adaptational Dye-Job: Downplayed in that Annie is still portrayed as a redhead here (as per tradition), but the shade is noticeably darker than usual.
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: Sort of. Lily is replaced with Miss Hannigan for the role of Annie's fake mom, with a Paper-Thin Disguise and Bad "Bad Acting" to boot. Annie buys it.
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing: "Miss Hannigan's gone forever!"
  • Aren't You Forgetting Someone?: Rooster and Miss Hannigan are so anxious to take the money they're after that they almost forget to kidnap Annie.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": Rooster and Miss Hannigan pretending to be Annie's parents slip into this when Warbucks gives them the check for $50,000.
  • Beginner's Luck: Subverted. While Rooster and Miss Hannigan are posing as Annie's parents in an attempt to get the reward money, Lily is stuck babysitting the orphans, who proceed to wipe the floor with her while playing poker. When Lily asks them how they're so good at this game, Pepper smugly replies with this verbatim, but it's heavily implied that they've played poker before. It helps that Lily is Too Dumb to Live.
  • Bowdlerize: Disney went with a more family-friendly angle, so Miss Hannigan's Lady Drunk tendencies were channeled into making her a Cloudcuckoolander. The use of mild profanities, as heard in the original musical, its novelization, and the 1982 film, was minced even further.
  • …But He Sounds Handsome:
    Miss Hannigan as Mrs. Mudge: And the very nice and very attractive lady at the orphanage said we'd find Annie here.
  • Conflict Killer: The film opens with Annie breaking up a fight between July and Pepper.note 
    Annie: Lay off July! If Hannigan wakes up, she'll get sore!
  • Dark Reprise:
    • The second time "Easy Street" plays, it is right after Rooster pulls out a knife and says he'll "make Annie disappear" after they pose as her parents to get the reward money.
    • Hannigan belts out one more frantic reprise of "Little Girls" before she's wheeled off to "the nuthouse".
      I'm headed straight for the nuthouse
      With all the nuts and the squirrels!
      There I'll stay, tucked away, 'til the prohibition of
      Little girls!
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • Bert Healy and the Boylan Sisters never appear physically, and are instead heard over the radio during "Never Fully Dressed".
    • President Roosevelt had more of a presence in the stage version and 1982 film. Here, two of the numbers that feature him (the "Tomorrow" reprise and "A New Deal For Christmas") are cut, and he doesn't show up until the climax.
  • Denied Food as Punishment: Right after "You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile":
    Kate: What about our dinner?
    Miss Hannigan: What about it?
    Kate: You didn't give us any.
    Miss Hannigan: 'Cause I knew you was gonna be bad, so I punished you ahead of time. Now scatter!
  • Deus ex Machina: The Hannigans nearly escape the mansion with the $50,000 check... that is, until one Franklin D. Roosevelt intervenes.
  • Dirty Coward: When Lily and Rooster are found out and Miss Hannigan is standing alone, she tries to pin the blame on Rooster.
    Miss Hannigan: It was his idea. He made me do it. Annie, Annie, tell these people how good I've always been to ya, huh?
  • Dumb Blonde: Lily St. Regis, even more than in the original. She single-handedly ruins the villains' plan in this version.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: Sandy goes into a barking frenzy whenever he sees "the Mudges".
  • Harmless Villain: Lily, oh so much.
  • Idiot Ball: Annie, if you want to break out of an orphanage, DO NOT USE THE FRONT DOOR!
  • Implied Death Threat: Downplayed.
    Annie (to Pepper after she makes fun of Annie's parents' note): Do you wanna sleep with your teeth inside your mouth or out?
  • Ironic Echo: Two in the scene where Miss Hannigan's scheming is revealed:
    • Miss Hannigan makes the orphans say "I love you, Miss Hannigan" all the time. Later, as she and Rooster are leaving the Warbucks mansion with Annie in tow, posing as her parents, the girls arrive at the door just in time to expose her true identity by shouting, "We love you, Miss Hannigan!"
    • Earlier on, Miss Hannigan asks Annie what the one thing she always taught her is, and Annie replies with, "Never tell a lie". And then, after Rooster and Miss Hannigan are exposed, we get this exchange:
      Miss Hannigan: Annie, Annie, tell these people how good I've always been to ya, huh?
      Annie: Miss Hannigan, I would, but the one thing you always taught me was… (takes the paycheck from her) "Never tell a lie".
  • Jerkass Has a Point: While Miss Hannigan is cruel about it, she has a point that Annie's parents are probably not coming back for her, given that she hasn't seen them for eleven years.
    Annie: I'm not an orphan! My parents left me with a note saying they'd come back for me.
    Miss Hannigan: (laughs) That was 1922. This is 1933. You're an orphan.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Pepper. She beats up July for defending Molly, makes fun of Annie's note, and engages in a minor Kick the Dog moment when she tells Molly that "we ain't got mommies and daddies. And we ain't ever gonna have 'em. That's why we're called orphans", but on the other hand, she is happy for Annie along with the rest of the girls when the latter is allowed to go to Warbucks's home for Christmas and assists the other orphans in foiling the villains' plot.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Mostly averted, but the orphan girls do get a moment when they all laugh at Annie's note from her parents.
  • Leitmotif: Pieces of "Maybe" and "Tomorrow" seem to serve as one for Annie throughout the film. Rooster and Lily are followed around by "Easy Street".
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: When the orphans are left in the care of Lily, she plays poker with them and ends up owing them $479.39.
    Lily: What?! Where am I gonna get that kind of loot?! ...Hey, why am I worryin'? I'll be rollin' in it once Rooster and Hannigan get back from Warbucks.
    Molly: That's where Annie is!
    Lily: Oops…
    • The girls proceed to force Lily to spill the beans, then trick her into going to the Warbucks mansion and demanding her share of the money from her cohorts.
  • Noodle Incident: Rooster apparently abandoned Lily during a past crime, which led to her being imprisoned for three months while he got off scot-free. It's because of this incident that Lily decides to confront Rooster, demanding that she get her cut this time.
    Pepper: What makes you so sure they'll be coming back?
    Lily: Because I'm Rooster's dame! He'd never let me take the rap and spend three months on Riker's Island... (Beat)... again.
  • Oh, Crap!: Each of the villains have this moment when their plot starts to go south.
    • Lily's face practically screams "Oh crap!" when she realizes that she just spilled their plan to the orphans.
    • Hannigan screams in terror when she comes face-to-face with the girls, who stop her from fleeing with the check and reveal her true identity in front of everyone.
    • Both Rooster and Hannigan attempt to book it but are stopped dead in their tracks not by the police, but by the president of the United States himself.
  • Orphan's Plot Trinket: Annie has half a silver heart locket, which contains a note from her parents. The other orphans know it so well that they read along with her when she reads it to Molly: "Please take good care of our little darling. Her name is Annie. She was born on October the 28th. We will be back to get her soon. We have left half of a silver locket around her neck and kept the other half, so that when we come back for her, you will know that she's our baby."
  • Politically Correct History:
    • Grace is played by a black actress Audra McDonald, and her romance with Warbucks is left intact. He even proposes to her at the end! New York, unlike most of the United States, did not have any anti-miscegenation laws in the 1930s, so their marriage would be legally possible, but it would still be quite a scandal socially.
      • To tell how much this relationship would have been badly perceived, the 1999 Disney management tried to remove the scene where Warbucks proposes to Grace, and it was only thanks to sabotage by the production team this scene was saved.
    • The orphans being a Five-Token Band is sometimes regarded as this, although this might be a case of Reality Is Unrealistic. While racially segregated orphanages were the norm in the 1930s, integrated orphanages did exist at the time and would obviously be more likely to exist in New York than in, say, Alabama.
  • Race Lift: Grace; see above.
  • Relationship Upgrade: For Warbucks and Grace; in the stage version they only have Ship Tease, and don't become engaged until the end of the sequel, Annie Warbucks, but this version ends with him proposing to her.
  • Remake Cameo: Andrea McArdle, the original Broadway Annie, appears as the star-to-be in "N.Y.C."
  • Saying Too Much: How the other orphans find out about Miss Hannigan and Rooster’s plan, thanks to Lily.
  • Stepping Out to React: When Miss Hannigan learns that Annie, her least favorite of the orphans under her care, has been chosen to stay at Oliver Warbucks' luxurious mansion for Christmas, she excuses herself and screams in anguish.
  • Tempting Fate:
    FDR: In the name of the United States government, I command you to halt!
    Miss Hannigan: Who do you think you are? The President?!
    [he rolls into view on his wheelchair]
    Rooster: Geez, Aggie, it is!
  • Truer to the Text: While it has its own share of creative liberties, this version sticks closer to the stage show than the previous film adaptation. It follows more of the original story beats (Hannigan not getting a Heel–Face Turn, the finale taking place on Christmas, etc.) and includes songs that were cut from the 1982 version.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Hannigan's descent into madness after being exposed in the finale, which results in her being taken away to an asylum.
  • Welcoming Song: Mr. Warbucks's servants welcome Annie to her new home with song and dance, and she sings her reaction: "I Think I'm Going to Like It Here."
  • Would Hurt a Child: When coming up with the scheme to collect Mr. Warbucks's reward by posing as Annie's parents, Miss Hannigan asks what they’ll do about Annie after they collect. Rooster’s response?
    Rooster: (takes out a pocket knife and makes a throat-slicing gesture) I make her disappear.