Friday, May 26, 2017

Spunky redheads! Annie vs. Pretty Woman...

So, yesterday, as I was fretting over the future, I turned on Netflix.  I watched the original Dirty Dancing, since everyone was talking about the allegedly horrible remake on TV.  I felt super old as I was watching, since that film came out when I was a sophomore in high school.  I can't believe thirty years have passed since then.

When Dirty Dancing was over, I noticed that Netflix recommended Pretty Woman next.  Pretty Woman was released in 1990, when I was 18.  I didn't see it for the first time until it had been out for some time.  It's a classic romance comedy starring Julia Roberts and Robert Gere.  Spunky redhead from the wrong side of the tracks wins over gruff, wealthy businessman with a heart of gold, and ends up in the lap of luxury.  Hmmm... where have I heard this story before?

Annie.  I mean the 1982 movie version, which I actually did see in the theater with my older sister.  Granted, I'm sure Annie's story never changes no matter who does it.  Annie is a spunky orphan with red hair who captures the heart of Daddy Warbucks, a short tempered guy who just needs a little more love in his life.  Ultimately, it's basically the same Cinderella story as Pretty Woman is, minus the need for condoms and the risk of STDs.

Pretty Woman is set in Los Angeles, while Annie is set in New York City.  Julia Roberts, as Vivian, is level headed, feisty, and charming.  Aileen Quinn, as Annie, is street smart, cute, and idealistic.  Richard Gere, as Edward the shrewd businessman, has no desire to let another woman in his life.  But Vivian wins him over with her warmth and integrity.  Likewise, little orphan Annie wins over Mr. Warbucks with her winning smile, singing and dancing skills, and scrappy attitude.  Ultimately, both men let the redheads into their hearts and we end up with a happy ending...  In Edward's case, the happy ending might have even entailed more than just a feel good finish to the story.  ;-)

Edward gives Vivian a borrowed necklace to wear for a night at the opera...

Daddy Warbucks also presents Annie with a necklace... a new locket to signify their relationship.  Annie initially rejects the locket because she hopes to find her parents.  Vivian gives back the necklace because it's borrowed.  

If you think about it, even the supporting characters are similar.  In Pretty Woman, there's Kit DeLuca, another scrappy prostitute who represents Vivian's old life.  In Annie, its the other rag tag orphans left at the orphanage.  In Pretty Woman, a kindly hotel manager helps out Vivian when she can't find anyone to sell her an appropriate dress for dinner.  In Annie, Miss Farrell is Annie's fairy godmother.  Both characters enchant almost everyone they meet.

Annie gets into a fight with a bunch of hoodlums.

Maybe if Annie hadn't been rescued by Daddy Warbucks, she might have grown up to be like Vivian. Either way, both women were destined to climb up out of the ghetto and into the good life.  Just like the song, "Fancy".  Fancy isn't as virtuous as Annie is, but like Vivian, she's a whore with a heart of gold who rises up from the ashes of her damned childhood and becomes a high society lady.

And look at this?  It's sung by a redhead!

Yeah, yeah, yeah... I could be thinking of other things besides how Vivian and Annie are alike.  I just thought it was funny how Hollywood, Nashville, and Broadway present us with so many feel good stories about people climbing out of adversity... especially when they're redheads.  It surprises me that I just noticed how much alike these stories are after watching them umpteen times over the years.  I really do need a hobby!


  1. I hadn't noticed it, but yeah, it's the same fairy tale theme with minor variations.

    1. We love a good Cinderella story.

    2. This isn't really a related thought, but one of my very favorite fairy tale-like stories (maybe more of a fable than an actual fairy tale) is the one about the man who was being driven crazy by living in small quarters with his wife, their children, and his mother-in-law. He consulted the rabbi, who first told him to bring the chickens into the house. Each time the man complained to the rabbi, he was told to bring in additional farm animals. You probably know the story, but even if you didn't, you could predict the end, which was when the rabbi eventually told the man to throw out all the farm animals, and then the man realized how peaceful the home had been all along with just the family (and maybe their dogs or cats) in the house. That would make a very compelling stage musical. I wish someone would write/compose it.

      And speaking of musicals, it would be tough to get the rights, but Orwell's ANIMAL FARM might be very interesting as a stage musical. (I always sang [in my head] the "Beasts of England, Beasts of Ireland" song to the tune of "Reuben and Rachel" rather than to the combination of "La Cucaracha" and Clementine; I couldn't figure out what a cross between the two songs should sound like, anyway.)

    3. I hadn't heard of the rabbi story. That is interesting.


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