Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Popeye Story

1980, first edition, from Tom Doherty Associates
Bridget Terry
The Popeye Story
Original price $2.75, purchase price unknown
Very worn paperback

Continuing the theme of "water," this is a behind-the-scenes look at the 1980 Robin Williams/Robert Altman/Jules Feiffer movie about the legendary cartoon hero.  I saw the movie as a 12-year-old fan of Williams and Popeye, and then again as an adult in hopes it would be So Bad It's Good.  Certainly the songs by Nilsson qualify, but I think the movie is genuinely good, if strange.  As for this book, Terry seems to have done a good job of getting the perspectives of many people who worked on the movie, and she does admit the troubles and quarrels of production, but there are times when she gets a bit fan-mag gushy.  Yes, there were many talented performers and crew who worked on the movie, and yes, Wesley Ivan Hurt is cute enough as Swee' Pea to justify nepotism (he's Altman's grandson), but was the set really one big happy supportive family?  And the quotes on this being a film on the level of The Wizard of Oz sound bizarre in retrospect, particularly since the movie is not a kids' movie per se.  (Not with a brothel in it.)

All that said, I've read this book a number of times (partly because I've now seen the movie multiple times) and appreciate the various stories, from how they found the perfect setting in Malta to how Shelley Duvall started publishing a newsletter, with Jules Feiffer drawings of her as Olive.  Even if you don't know much about the movie, this is worth a read.

No comments:

Post a Comment