Ken Tucker
August 03, 2007 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Popeye the Sialor: 1933-1938, Vol. 1

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
Unrated
runtime
416 minutes
distributor
Warner Home Video

We gave it an A

One of the animation events of the year, Popeye the Sailor: 1933-1938, Vol. 1 restores 60 classics starring the spinach-eating gob gloriously. Director Dave Fleischer brought a gritty New York style to the Paramount tales of Popeye, his nemesis Bluto, and his pre-Olsen Twins skinny love, Olive Oyl, that contrasted sharply with his future rivals, Warner Bros.’ Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. Popeye inhabited a grungy Depression-era landscape, and featured the uniquely muttered wisecracks of voice artist Jack Mercer. The sequence above of Popeye fighting Bluto, from 1936’s ”Let’s Get Movin’,” suggests the series’ fluid comic brutality. The four-disc set has loads of extras: commentaries by animation experts; shorts about cartoon-making with Koko the Clown; and longer ”two-reel” entries like ”Popeye the Sailor Meets Sinbad the Sailor.” The set merits a solid A.

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