Author Topic: Popeye (1980) WITH SPOILERS!!!!  (Read 1037 times)

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Offline Edward J Grug III

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Re: Popeye (1980) WITH SPOILERS!!!!
« Reply #15 on: March 23, 2019, 03:50:37 AM »
I can't believe I'm going to respond again - you're not interested in evidence, you're not interested in learning, and you continually ignore points being made. But, here we go.

I'll take your word for it that those Thimble Theater strips with Popeye eating spinach predated Fleischer, but it is a fact that Fleischer included it via request from a government official. They needed Americans to start eating canned spinach during the Great Depression. I forget exactly why, but most likely because it was cheaper to grow and harvest being that you eat the leaves of the plant rather than waiting for it to grow a fruit or nut. I don't know if Fleischer got some sort of payment or tax break for including spinach in the cartoons, but the agriculture department talked him into it, rather than it being something he was already lifting from the strip. I have little doubt that the agriculture department made their rounds to all the cartoonists and animators with the same request.

According to my parents, canned spinach in the 30s and 40s was gross. It was the entire plant and was usually covered with grit and sand. Kids hated it. So the agriculture department needed popular cartoon characters and pulp heroes to endorse it. The examples you have shown were typical of how spinach was promoted. It was supposed to make you grow big and strong. It was Fleischer that came up with the gag that eating it instantly gave you super powers. And it was Fleischer who made spinach crucial to the climax of every Popeye cartoon.

Same as the Bluto point - yes the cartoons made them more famous, but they are still elements that originate in the comic. And again, they made Popeye hate spinach in the film to subvert what went down in the cartoons.

Of course Fleischer the modeled the animated  characters after the strip characters. But the characters in the movie were modeled after the animated characters. Put it this way. Tim Burton modeled his Batman after the comic book, but most of the Batman that followed modeled themselves after Keaton's performance. With the Popeye movie, Robin William's performance was based on the vocal performance and mannerisms originated in the Fleischer cartoons, instead of his normal manic performance. Shelley Duval could have easily just acted like herself as Olive Oil and it would have worked, instead of doing a ZaSu Pitts imitation. No one was allowed to give an original performance. Using Batman again as an example, each time an actor played The Joker on screen, he gave a unique performance instead of copping Caeser Romero or any of the previous Jokers.

This is such a ridiculous point - The voice has been one way for 50 years so they gave the audience the voice they were used to - BUT it has nothing to do with the film's story, themes, pacing, etc all being not like the cartoons, and it being confusing to the general audience. They expected the cartoons, they got something that sounded like the cartoons, sure, but it wasn't an adaptation of the cartoons.

The way the voices sounded has NO BEARING on what we are talking about.

I Am going to give up arguing that Bluto was only a major character in the animated cartoons, and instead point out that if this really was supposed to be based on the strip then how come no Sea Hag or her army of Goons?  That would have been an awesome film.

Woulda coulda. They probably thought they were going to get to make more movies. Jeep was in the first draft and got cut out too.

There are literal storylines lifted from the comic strips - "Popeye Fights Bullo Oxheart" for example.

Here's Popeye historian Fred Grandinetti on the subject:

https://books.google.com.au/books?id=JyUTBQAAQBAJ&pg=PA169&lpg=PA169&dq=which+thimble+theater+storyline+is+adapted+popeye+movie&source=bl&ots=0SbZjIZjMs&sig=ACfU3U0eXQ2ovXhniygrFvUvjaVhr6rC7A&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiPseOSyJfhAhWhV3wKHT-XCdA4ChDoATAIegQICBAB#v=onepage&q=movie&f=false

You're like a conspiracy theorist who thinks they are the only one who can see the truth and will ignore the evidence presented to them and only keep repeating the same lines over and over again.

i understand that you've dug your heals in here, but honestly, read over this thread again. You've made no points outside of the films used a couple of elements that were more famous because of the cartoon (but did appear in the comics) and the voices are the same. None of that has any relationship to what we are discussing.
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Offline stethacantus

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Re: Popeye (1980) WITH SPOILERS!!!!
« Reply #16 on: March 23, 2019, 09:46:47 AM »
We keep going around in circles her and it is getting us nowhere. Once again, I am not arguing that they didn't go back to the original Thimble Theater for the plot, setting and characters that ended up in the movie. I am not arguing that the movie is more like Thimble Theater than the Paramount animated cartoons, even closer to the source material than the King's Features animated cartoons got. My argument is that they ultimately used the Paramount animated cartoons as the film's template, which determined which characters got the biggest roles, which characters would get minor roles or be left out altogether, the vocal and physical characteristics of the lead characters, and that ultimately the film would end with Popeye eating spinach to save the day. The end result is a hybrid, but it has far more of the animated cartoons DNA than the comic strip.

Let's just assumed that Paramount never licenced Thimble Theater and there never were any Popeye animated cartoons.  Do you think Jules Feiffer would have dug out Bluto from the strips as the main villain? Do you think the film would build to a climax where Popeye has to eat spinach to rescue Olive? Do you think some of Thimble Theater's best characters would be reduced to walk on roles and cameos and not be part of the plot?  Do you think Feiffer  would have ignored Popeye's biggest arch enemies from the strip?  Would the final script in that scenario be anything like the script we did get?

Ultimately this was a Paramount film who wanted the film to be just like the animated cartoons they owned the elements of and people were more familiar with. Feiffer was given guidelines as to what Paramount wanted in the script when he wrote it. I respect that he chose to use Thimble Theater as his guide, but ultimately had to turn in a script he felt Paramount would approve. And it is nice that Paramount did approved his script rather than demanding a rewrite that made it more like the Fleischer cartoons. But ultimately the studio had Altman casting actors who could look and act just like the cartoon characters rather than the cast Feiffer had envisioned.





Offline Edward J Grug III

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Re: Popeye (1980) WITH SPOILERS!!!!
« Reply #17 on: March 23, 2019, 04:27:47 PM »
We keep going around in circles her and it is getting us nowhere.

Because you refuse to engage with any evidence presented and repeat the same weak points.

physical characteristics of the lead characters

So this



looks more like this



than this, huh?



And besides, as I have said multiple times, the look and sound is not what we are discussing.

Let's just assumed that Paramount never licenced Thimble Theater and there never were any Popeye animated cartoons.  Do you think Jules Feiffer would have dug out Bluto from the strips as the main villain? Do you think the film would build to a climax where Popeye has to eat spinach to rescue Olive? Do you think some of Thimble Theater's best characters would be reduced to walk on roles and cameos and not be part of the plot?  Do you think Feiffer  would have ignored Popeye's biggest arch enemies from the strip?  Would the final script in that scenario be anything like the script we did get?

Bluto was the henchman for the main villain, Poopdeck Pappy, AKA The Commodore. I think he would have just been another heavy that Olive would have been into, just as continually happened in the comics.

I don't think he would have likely eaten spinach, but since Segar introduced the spinach in 1932, and since we're imagining an alternative timeline where the cartoons don't exist, how can we know if it would have stayed a recurring theme in the comics otherwise? I’d also, in fact, argue that spinach would have played into the movie a lot more in its two hour runtime if they’d been interested in playing to the people more familiar with the cartoons.

But I don't see how something happening in the last five minutes of the film really plays much into the argument here either. The audience was already well and truly confused by the adaptation's tone and storyline by that point.

Feiffer choosing to adapt the Poopdeck Pappy storyline rather than a Sea Hag one is what set the characters.

Where are you getting this 'Paramount set the guidelines' stuff? I've already posted a quote that had the producer giving Feiffer free reign?
« Last Edit: March 23, 2019, 04:57:42 PM by Edward J Grug III »
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Offline stethacantus

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Re: Popeye (1980) WITH SPOILERS!!!!
« Reply #18 on: March 24, 2019, 01:33:06 PM »


physical characteristics of the lead characters

So this



looks more like this



than this, huh?

By physical characteristics I meant the physical performance. (  i.e. how each different character walked or ran, which matched the animated cartoon but would not be in the strip. ) I did not mean looking more like the animated cartoon, which went through a couple of redesigns during it's run. The characters in the strip are identical to their animated counterparts with some very minor differences only there to make them easier to animate.



And besides, as I have said multiple times, the look and sound is not what we are discussing.

We are discussing a motion picture, which is entirely look and sound. Deciding the look and sound must match the animated cartoons shows that the animated cartoons were being used as the template. Casting Robin Williams in a major motion picture at that time was a major risk. No one knew if the television actor could be a box office draw, or could act beyond the Mork character, which was basically Williams doing his manic stage act.  What got him the part was his ability to do a dead on imitation of the animated Popeye. They chose Williams over established film actors with box office draw because he was the only one who performed just like Animated Popeye. That is how important the animated cartoon was to the producer/director/studio.


Where are you getting this 'Paramount set the guidelines' stuff? I've already posted a quote that had the producer giving Feiffer free reign?

I have no doubt Feiffer was told that, but what professional screen writer would believe it? Even though Popeye was one of his first scripts, I am sure by the late 70s he had enough experience with the studios to know that when you are writing an original script for a film that is still in development, that you have to give the studio something they want, otherwise they will either hire new writers to gut the script down to just the parts they like, or pass on the script altogether.  If he wasn't getting notes from the studio during the writing process then that would be highly unusual. If he blindly wrote a script thinking the studio would accept anything, and he truly wanted a  Thimble Theater with beats from the animated cartoon,  and they accepted it, then he got very lucky.  He just happened to deliver a script the studio wanted. But you can't tell me someone with a background as a cartoonist and knew the difference between Thimble Theater and Fleischer would have written the script he did if he didn't think the studio would rather have the animated Popeye, and the only way to get them to accept a Thimble Theater script was to make it conform to the Fleischer formula right down to Bluto being Popeye's rival for Olive.   


But I don't see how something happening in the last five minutes of the film really plays much into the argument here either. The audience was already well and truly confused by the adaptation's tone and storyline by that point.

In most of the animated cartoons, Popeye doesn't eat spinach until the climax.  So basically the movie is no different in that respect.  But that brings up the real reason why the film failed.  I don't think audiences being confused by it not being enough like the animated cartoon was why they didn't like it. Although, having to wait an hour and 45 minutes for Popeye to get his super powers instead of five minutes as in the animated shorts was a bit toooooo long. If they were going to establish spinach gave Popeye super powers then they should have had him eating it throughout the film. Not having him eat it until the end of the movie was the equivalent of a Superman film where Clark Kent doesn't put on the Superman costume until the last five minutes. If Feiffer didn't want the Fleischer spinach gag then he shouldn't have had it at all. The Popeye in Thimble Theater had Hercules like powers without having to get it temporarily from a can of spinach.  Teasing the audience for the length of the film with Popeye saying he hates spinach when they knew it would give them the Popeye superhero they paid to see was not wise. 

On top of that there were flaws with the overall story, which Feiffer chose to be an origin tale. Really, Popeye does not need an origin story.  And if they were going to do an origin story, then how about the origin of how Popeye and every single member of the same family managed to loose the same damn eye. His name is Popeye. How about seeing the story of that eye being popped?  It would have been a better plot if it began with Popeye already an established citizen of Sweethaven and already a suitor of Olive Oyl, then moved on to a villain like Sea Hag and whatever plot she was hatching against Sweeyhaven.  ( Bluto/Brutis would be optional )

Having Popeye's reintroduction to his long lost Father Poopdeck Pappy was marred by him being the mysterious Commodore. The strip, Fleischer cartoons, Kings Feature television cartoons, and at least one prime time special all had different versions of Popeye's quest to find Pappy. But in each there was a quest to find Pappy, and not having Popeye accidentally discovering his deadbeat dad while doing something else. Fleischer blew what could have been a thrilling adventure story just for a gag where we find out Popeye's dad is a villain. It as if Feiffer had the source material right in front of him and ignored the best stuff.

The only reason this film exists is because Paramount lost a bid to get the film rights to the Broadway show Annie, still  wanted to make a  musical with a cartoon character, then realized they still had the film rights to Popeye. The difference was that Annie had gone through four years of writing before being performed at try out shows to determine which numbers would be cut. By the time it was a hit, it was full of memorable musical numbers such as  I Don't Need Anything But You, It's A Hard Knock Life and the always annoying Tomorrow. Songs that you would remember long after leaving the theater.  Paramount wanted original musical numbers in a few months time. The end result was no memorable songs in the film other than the Popeye theme from the Fleischer cartoon. ( Although I should point out that recently an insurance commercial has been using Olive Oyl singing He Need's Me as the music bed. ) Had Paramount taken the time to have hit songs written for the film ( the Annie film would not be in theaters until 1982 ) then they could have had a hit song r two on the radio that would have built interest in their musical. That's how most musicals sell tickets.

And lets face it. Altman was bad at staging slapstick and cartoonish gags. The live action film just didn't have you laughing the way the 7 minute cartoons had you laughing. And Altman had the comedy genius Robin Williams as the star. If he had let Williams run wild the way Disney later did with Aladdin then it could have saved this film.

Having said that, great set design, great costume design, great if underused supporting characters, and great performance from the principle cast even if they were imitating the animated characters. It looks great. It just isn't very entertaining.




Offline Edward J Grug III

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Re: Popeye (1980) WITH SPOILERS!!!!
« Reply #19 on: March 24, 2019, 04:29:52 PM »
You are a nonsense person.

I have listed the director, the writer and the producer. A Popeye historian. A half dozen or so film reviewers and essay writers. Literal lifted storylines and dialogue. Examples of things that only existed in the comics.

You: voices and two things that were in the strips, but more in the cartoons.

I'm extremely confident my case it made to anyone else reading this thread, and that you will never be able to drop your premade decision, so I'm done.
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Offline stansimpson

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Re: Popeye (1980) WITH SPOILERS!!!!
« Reply #20 on: March 24, 2019, 09:53:27 PM »
I just came here to say I love the title of this post. The "WITH SPOILERS" made me laugh audibly.   

Also, if anyone's interested in how they made the movie, the I Was There Too podcast has an interview with the actor who played Wimpy (Paul Dooley). Apparently he was in a bunch of Altman's films. For an actor who had a tangential role, he has a LOT of great stories. One of the best episodes from the whole podcast series. https://www.earwolf.com/episode/popeye-and-sixteen-candles-with-paul-dooley/

Also also, Kevin Smith's podcast Smodcast cracks me up when they start talking about the Popeye movie. Kev's love for the movie is infectious:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92yLJH6wpZg


Offline Edward J Grug III

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Re: Popeye (1980) WITH SPOILERS!!!!
« Reply #21 on: March 24, 2019, 09:58:32 PM »
I just came here to say I love the title of this post. The "WITH SPOILERS" made me laugh audibly.   

Also, if anyone's interested in how they made the movie, the I Was There Too podcast has an interview with the actor who played Wimpy (Paul Dooley). Apparently he was in a bunch of Altman's films. For an actor who had a tangential role, he has a LOT of great stories. One of the best episodes from the whole podcast series. https://www.earwolf.com/episode/popeye-and-sixteen-candles-with-paul-dooley/

Also also, Kevin Smith's podcast Smodcast cracks me up when they start talking about the Popeye movie. Kev's love for the movie is infectious:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92yLJH6wpZg

I've not listened to I Was There Too - I thought the premise was always just someone pretending to have done something, I didn't realise they had someone actually involved too (Makes sense now that I think it through). I'll check it out!
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Offline Charles Castle

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Re: Popeye (1980) WITH SPOILERS!!!!
« Reply #22 on: March 25, 2019, 02:13:03 AM »
Why would Popeye's voice or any other sounds be an example of the movie referencing the cartoons vs the strip? Did they provide audio in the comics or something?

I wish this topic would continue for another 400 pages.
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Offline Edward J Grug III

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Re: Popeye (1980) WITH SPOILERS!!!!
« Reply #23 on: March 25, 2019, 02:19:16 AM »
I wish this topic would continue for another 400 pages.

It reminds me of conversations we used to have with someone else here.

But I think my wife might leave me if I talk about Popeye any more this week.
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Offline Charles Castle

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Re: Popeye (1980) WITH SPOILERS!!!!
« Reply #24 on: March 25, 2019, 02:35:11 AM »
It is a bit circular, I imagine. Entertaining and informational, though. I probably couldn't drum up this many responses about the Popeye movie on any other forums with much larger user bases, so it's a treasure trove for me.
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Offline NRRork

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Re: Popeye (1980) WITH SPOILERS!!!!
« Reply #25 on: April 06, 2019, 03:01:30 PM »
WOW! That is some SERIOUSLY passionate arguing about Popeye and a movie that, honestly, I always found a little creepy. I can't put my finger on why it is.
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Offline Russoguru

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Re: Popeye (1980) WITH SPOILERS!!!!
« Reply #26 on: April 06, 2019, 06:34:21 PM »
I also got to admit it had some pretty good music too... apart from the title song.