Ann Reinking does have a raspier voice than the usual sopranoish Graces. I did like Ann's aliveness on screen .. I felt she breathed a really big fresh air of excitement into her character. She is/was also an amazing, amazing dancer.
I think if they took out the ridiculous July 4th ending complete with Carol Burnett riding on an elephant, the absurd street chase with a miniature stuntman climbing up a bridge and Punjab hanging from a helicopter, take out the inane Dumb Dog/Sandy song, and put back tomorrow like the 1999 movie did, it wouldn't be half bad. While that sounds sarcastic, it's not so much. I thought Aileen was good in a way... I'd prefer an Andrea McArdle type over her anyday but she sang on tune passably, she had a cute spunk, certain facial expressions she did were very right and she wasn't over the top in her acting. I didn't think Albert Finney was bad.. I believed him completely in transforming from a gruff, hard nosed businessman to falling in love with little Orphan Annie. Carol Burnett was different than a stage version of Miss Hannigan but I found her alluring and way believable.
I just think the main problem with the original movie is that it strays so far from the stage version and people love the stage version. The stage version was perfectly, succinctly simple and wonderful. Annie sitting center stage with Sandy while belting out tomorrow wistfully - it's such magic in it simplicity. The most famous song from the show and the scene that was a show stopper, and they take it out!??? Huh? While you do need to oomph things up to a large screen for a movie, the 1982 movie just went so extremely far away from what the stage musical was about.
It is a shame we will never have a movie that duplicates the wonderfulness of the stage version.