Director – Pierre De Moro (Christmas Mountain, Hellhole)
Starring – Mark Miller (Dixie Dynamite, Kung Fu), Donovon Scott (Police Academy, Back to the Future: Part III), and Bridgette Andersen (Faerie Tale Theatre, Nightmares)
Release Date – 1982
Rating – 4.5/5
Blu Release – 4/5
Tagline – “…and love will never be the same”
I can’t wait for the “this is not horror” comments to roll in for this one. The knuckle dragging Neanderthals that make the horror community so toxic will come out in waves to comment stupid shit about how this is not a horror movie and they will be unfollowing Horror Society. Honestly, good riddance. I see it a lot on my sci-fi or exploitation reviews.
Sometime ago my friends over at MVD sent me the family friendly 1982 comedy Savannah Smiles. The film was released on blu as part of their MVD Rewind Collection. I never got around to checking it out before the fire and recently uncovered the totes in storage that had a lot of the films that was sent my way for review. The films were quickly tossed into totes after the fire in a mad dash to salvage what I could from the elements and I did not take the time to mark a lot of them. Thanks MVD for sending this one my way.
**Spoiler alert**The film follows two life long criminals who are on the run from the police when the daughter of a politician runs away from home and hides in their stolen car. They take her with them when police swarm the area looking for her and soon learn of a $100,000 reward offered for her safe return. The police is treating it like a kidnapping which complicates things. They lay low for a few days and in that time the two criminals start to care for the little girl as if she was their own. They then care more about her well being more than the money and try to get her home without serving jail time.**Spoiler Alert**
I tossed this one in not expecting much and was hit with a movie that fucking ripped my heart out and left me sitting in a pool of my own emotions. I absolutely loved the film and almost gave the movie a 5 out of 5 score. My only hang up with the entire film is how it ended.
The acting in this one is fantastic. The entire cast is phenomenal. Every character in the film has their own personality and not a single one is forgettable. You remember every character that has screen time and their performances are top notch. Mark Miller and Donovon Scott are fantastic together. Their characters contrast beautifully making for some memorable on screen moments. They are brilliant together. The late Bridgette Andersen is amazing in the title role. She is adorable and sweet which really pulls on the viewer’s emotions. I couldn’t imagine the film being as entertaining if someone else was in this role. The way I see it Bridgette was born for this role.
The story for this one is so simple but works so well on film. Two dumb criminals finding and caring for a runaway 6 year old doesn’t seem like much but when you toss in the scenes of them bonding and Savannah having fun then you get something that will leave the viewer emotionally invested in. With that being said, the ending did not leave closure for the viewer. We get no resolution on what happens to the criminals after their arrest and if Savannah’s father starts paying attention to his little girl. So many questions left unanswered.
Finally, no blood or gore in this one. We do get some light hearted comedy that sometimes finds its mark but mostly falls short. Overall, Savannah Smiles is a movie that I will be revisiting whenever I need a pick me up. The movie packs a hard emotional punch and I absolutely loved it. You need to see this one now if you haven’t. Check it out now on blu from MVD!
Brand-New 2K High-Definition Transfer from 35mm Original Release Film Print Provided by the Library of Congress
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations of the main feature in 1.78:1 aspect ratio
Original Mono Audio (Uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)
”The Making of Savannah Smiles” brand new documentary about the making of this classic comedy featuring writer / producer Mark Miller, star Donovan Scott, Teresa Andersen (mother of Bridgette Andersen) and composer Ken Sutherland (HD)
”Memories of Bridgette Andersen” featuring all-new interviews with Teresa Andersen (Bridgette s mom) along with writer / producer Mark Miller and actor Donovan Scott (HD)
”The Songs and Music of Savannah Smiles” featuring brand new interview with composer Ken Sutherland (HD)
Original Theatrical Trailer (SD)
Collectible Mini- Poster