During the Christmas theatrical season of 1982 — when the big, prestigious films are launched by the Hollywood Studios — an independent film stole the hearts of America. The film was director Pierre De Moro’s Savannah Smiles, which had actually had a small regional theatrical release in Utah during April of 1982 where it proved to be a monster among small town audiences.
The small town release pattern that began in April continued into the fall when a national theatrical distribution deal was finally secured. A lawsuit followed in the wake of the December launch over some distribution misgivings, but that’s a story for another time.
MVD Entertainment Group has selected Apr. 24 for the release of a new 2K restoration (from the Library of Congress 35mm print) of Savannah Smiles. Both DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack editions will be available under MVD’s “Rewind Collection” promotional banner.
The film itself, written by and starring Mark Miller, was originally planned as a film vehicle for his daughter, but by the time financing was arranged she had outgrown the part. Thus Bridgette Andersen was cast as the Savannah, the six-year old who feels ignored by her politician father and decides to run away from home!
As this family-themed story goes, she falls into the hands of a pair of escaped convicts, Alvie (Mark Miller — Dixie Dynamite, Ginger in the Morning, etc.) and Boots (Donovan Scott — Popeye, Police Academy, Psycho III), but manages to work her magic on them and they soon find themselves on the path to reform and salvation.
Bonus features include a newly-prepared documentary titled The Making of Savannah Smiles, featuring both Mark Miller and Donovan Scott, plus actress Teresa Anderson and composer Ken Sutherland and two featurettes — “Memories of Bridgette Andersen” and “The Songs and Music of Savannah Smiles.”