directed by Dave Fleischer
USA

Popeye is not your typical superhero: He is old. He is bald. He is short. He only has one eye. He constantly smokes his corncob pipe. He does not have teeth. He has tattooed, bulging forearms. He is illiterate and unrefined. Yet, these oddly unique qualities have helped this simple straight-talking, hard-hitting sailor win the hearts of many generations around the world.

Popeye was a true hero of his time. By the mid-1930s, he surpassed even Disney's Mickey Mouse in popularity. With his charming "I Yam What I Yam" philosophy, the one-eyed sailor proudly expressed his genuineness, integrity, and take-charge personality, which made him stand out during the Depression era.

Even though he can be seen as an American hero from the past, Popeye does not necessarily need this kind of national and historical contextualization. In other words, Segar's pipe-tooting sailorman is "timeless" and "universal." His human qualities are as much to be strived for in our world of corporate globalization, media manipulations, and wars against and of terrorism, as they were during the Great Depression.

Even though he is a murderer of the modern English tongue, Popeye speaks, without any problems, the transnational language of selfless bravery, relentless belief in oneself, and uncompromising adherence to one's own set of moral/ethic codes.

For over 75 years now, Popeye has been breaking national and cultural boundaries, serving as a site of identification for kids and adults around the world. True, Popeye is long past his heyday. But that is due more to the corporate politics than to the passage of time or lack of public interest. There remains to be something timelessly charming about this simple, spinach-eating, pipe-smoking, unsightly underdog, who proudly remains "what he is," who takes no guff from anyone, and who is always ready to fight Bluto, that quintessential embodiment of bully-ness, to protect the girl he loves. I think that it is as easy today as it was in the 1930s to love the self-righteous, yet delightfully humble underdog who fights back "when that's all he can stands, 'cause he can't stands no more." How many of us wish we could just eat our spinach, fight back and teach all the annoying bullies in our lives a valuable lesson? In reality, that's not always possible. That's why Popeye has been doing it for all of us for three quarters of a century now.

Excerpt from Gordan Calma's article "Popeye Turns 75' at fleischerpopeye.com HERE

Reviews    DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Warner Home Video (Volume 2, 1938- 1940) - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC

DVD Box Cover

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NOTE: Other volumes for Popeye are also available:

 

Distribution

Warner Home Video

Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC

Runtime 3:43:08 (solely of Popeye shorts)
Video

4:3 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.85 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

Bitrate

Disc 1

Bitrate

Disc 2

Audio Dolby Mono
Subtitles English (SDH)
Features Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 4:3

Edition Details:
• 31 Shorts on 2 Discs
• Commentaries on selected shorts
• Popeye Popumentary Featurettes
• 2 Documentaries:
• Out of the Inkwell - The Fleischer Story (47:20)

• Men of Spinach and Steel (6:12)

DVD Release Date: June 17th, 2008
Box with fold out 2-tiered digipack

Chapters 31

 

 

Comments:

This is Volume 2 with the first, larger, collection (from 1933-1938) reviewed HERE by Gregg Ferencz. It came out in July of 2007 and fans were very appreciative of the completeness of the package.

This is somewhat smaller - only 2 disc instead of 4 and spans 1938-1940. The 31 shorts in this set are presented chronologically on two dual layered discs. There are 15 cartoons on the first disc, 16 on the second with the supplements (commentaries especially) weighted to the first disc. The discs are coded for regions 1 thru 4 in the NTSC standard.

The transfers are progressive and, as you can see by the examples, the restored/remastered image looks very impressive. Consider these uncut short cartoons are about 70 years old. Contrast is good but there is some flickering - the couple of color ones look amazing.

Like the first set audio levels are fairly quiet but consistent and clear enough. The subtitle option (English - hearing impaired) is a beneficial inclusion that many might wish to utilize.
 

There are a lot of extras including eleven commentaries on the first and three on the second. These impart a heck of a lot of information and you can really appreciate the, almost, cultish following this spinach-eating sailor has and how historically revered this work remains. As with the first set there are "Popumentaries" - features with animators, historians profiling specific cartoons from Vol. 2 focusing on characters, creators and plots. Disc one has a 45 minute documentary - Out of the Inkwell - The Fleischer Story which highlights the creator and his work detailing the sailor's adventurous exploits. There is input from many including vintage excerpts (although they are interlaced). Disc 2 has Men of Spinach and Steel which runs just over 6 minutes and discusses the comic book heroes put to live animation throughout the years. Disc two has a 'From the Vault' section with bonus Fleischer cartoons, vintage audio recordings and radio shows plus an, audio only, vintage interview with Jack Mercer (the voice of Popeye). None of the bonus material is subtitled.

These are totally iconic and so very enjoyable when you get into them - even my two young boys sat glued through both discs proving the ageless quality of these vintage shorts. This set is about half the output of the first but the price is adequately reflected. I can watch these at any time, as I did all day today, and I never seem to grow tired of them. A great way to start any film night or just to chill-out and get away from everything 'modern'. I welcome this addition to my DVD library.

 - Gary Tooze

 



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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

NOTE: Other volumes for Popeye are also available:

 

Distribution

Warner Home Video

Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC




 

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Gary Tooze

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