Annie (1981)
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Cast: Albert Finney, Carol Burnett, Bernadette Peters, Tim Curry
Extras: Advertising, Talent Files, Trailers, Production Notes

John Huston’s 1981 version of ’Annie’ is widely regarded as a classic that has only recently seen a television remake. Best known for its little orphaned star, Annie – here played by Aileen Quinn – and its beautiful musical numbers, ’Annie’ is charming story about an orphan who suddenly finds herself with a famous billionaire. Featuring an incredible cast, including Albert Finney, Bernadette Peters, Tim Curry and an unforgettable performance by Carol Burnett this movie is a wholesome family entertainment affair.

Columbia TriStar Home Video is presenting an anamorphic widescreen version of the movie in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio, and a pan and scan version of the movie on the same disc. The transfer is generally clean and stable and without obvious blemishes. The film’s colors are faithfully reproduced, creating a vibrant scenery for this entertaining musical. Blacks are solid and deep with good shadow definition. The overall level of detail of the transfer is very good. The compression is generally well done, but some pixelation is evident in a number of scenes and signs of edge-enhancement are evident on occasion,

Interestingly there appear to be some framing problems with the film in its widescreen presentation, as in a select number of scenes the image composition feels wrong, cutting off people’s heads at the top of the screen. In those instances, the transfer feels as if a fullscreen version would have been blown up and accidentally matted.

The DVD contains a Dolby Surround track that is surprisingly dynamic. With a very good bass reproduction, the track has a very wide frequency response and very good dynamics. While the surrounds on the disc are somewhat limited due to the audio format’s limitation, the front stage is very wide and well integrated.

’Annie’ is an inspiring musical that has been beautifully shot and acted – and sung of course. It has made fine transition to this DVD although sadly the image formatting problems are a disappointment that detract from this otherwise beautiful DVD.