'Savannah Smiles: Special Collector's Edition'
(Bridgette Andersen, Donovan Scott, Mark Miller, Michael Parks, Peter Graves, et al / Blu-ray+DVD / PG / (1982) 2018 / MVD Rewind)
Overview: The young daughter of a politician runs away due to lack of attention. She hides in the car of two not-so-bright crooks who are slowly converted into parent figures to her. A surprising bond of love and redirection forms among the trio as the police close down on the supposed kidnappers.
Blu-ray Verdict: Savannah Driscoll (Brigette Andersen)is the 7 year old daughter of wealthy gubernatorial candidate, Richard Driscoll (Chris Robinson). Savannah, feeling terribly lonely and neglected by her self-absorbed parents, dashes a note and runs away.
Two small-time crooks, Boots (Donovan Scott) and Alvie (Mark Miller), on the lam after a slapstick-style prison break, steal the car in which Savannah has chosen to hide. Savannah's "run away" note falls out of sight, so the police, with the exception of Lt. Savage (Michael Parks) immediately assume kidnapping.
The police call in "ace tracker" Harland Dobbs (Peter Graves, in hilarious deadpan "dimwit detective" role). Meanwhile, Alvie, Boots and Savannah find a hideout. While Boots takes care of Savannah, Alvie, who hates children (and just about everybody else) becomes involved with Doreen (Carol Wayne, Carson's "Matinee Lady"), an attractive, spectacularly built waitress and part-time country singer.
Desiring to satisfy Doreen's innocent dreams, Alvie ransoms Savannah, but, and as hoped, Boots' nurturing instincts are awoken, and he wants to reform.
Despite some thin spots in the middle, this is a surprisingly powerful movie. As we learn more about Alvie, we come to sympathize with his character, making the "near Ruby Ridge-style" climax of this movie all the more gut wrenching.
In truth, I can barely think about this film without choking up. The cast is uniformly outstanding, most notable being Mark Miller (father of Penelope Ann), Pat Morita, Carol Wayne and Michael Parks (a character similar to 'The X-Files' Muldar).
Finally, Brigette Andersen (granddaughter of child star Jackie Coogan) is truly adorable through, but sadly, and rather tragically, Andersen died from a drug and alcohol overdose at age just 22. This is a brand new High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
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)