Cast & Crew
Surrounded by a group of children, poet James Whitcomb Riley narrates the story of Little Orphant Annie, who loses her mother at an early age and is sent to an orphanage. Annie charms the other children with her stories of goblins and elves until her uncle comes to claim her. He and her aunt force Annie into a life of drudgery, treating her so cruelly that Big Dave, a neighboring farmer, takes her from them and places her in the charge of the kindly Squire Goode and his wife. Big Dave, who intends to marry Annie, is called away to fight in World War I. When Annie hears the news that he has been killed, she falses gravely ill but wakes up to learn that it has all been a dream.
James Whitcomb Riley
Originally purchased by the Pioneer Film Corp., which distributed it on a state rights basis, the film was sold to the World Film Corp. in March 1919. It May have been produced by the Selig Polyscope Co., which disbanded in 1918. James Whitcomb Riley, who appears in the first scene, died on July 22, 1916. In some contemporary sources, the story ends with Annie's death, but an extant DVD of the film ends with Annie's recovery and the revelation that Dave's death was merely a dream.
Several films have been based on the comic strip Little Orphan Annie, which was inspired by Riley's poem. They include the 1932 RKO production Little Orphan Annie, starring Mitzi Green and directed by John Robertson; the 1938 Colonial production, starring Ann Gillis and directed by Ben Holmes; and the 1982 Columbia release Annie, starring Aileen Quinn and Albert Finney and directed by John Huston.