Thursday, April 16, 2009

Cartoon a Day: Blow Me Down

Blow Me Down
Directed by Dave Fleischer
Available on: Popeye the Sailor Vol. 1

Popeye's third big screen adventure takes our hero south of the border and steps up the action and the entertainment in many ways.

In some ways, you can see the animators realizing what they had in the character of Olive Oyl. If ever there was a character made for animation, it's Olive. At this point she's pretty much a clothes pin with rubber band arms and legs. Throughout her dance sequence we see the artists explore the range of her movements.

This short also steps up the level of violence...big time! Barely a minute into the short a bandito takes a shot at Popeye from behind! Of course it bounces off of his skull and nails the shooter who falls several stories to the street below. Kids stuff, right?

The bar room brawl that follows between Popeye and Bluto's gang is even more violent. The commentators on the DVD actually compare it to the House of Blue Leaves fight sequence from Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill Vol. 1." To be honest, I can see it. Some of the elements of the setting and angles used are similar. Not to mention the fact that one person manages to fend off a slew of attackers. I wouldn't put it past Tarantino to have looked to Popeye for inspiration, let's put it that way.

It is strange to see this level of violence in a cartoon today, but I guess the fighting is part of what gives Popeye cartoons their charm.

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