Saturday, September 29, 2012

"Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp" with Popeye (1939)

Some of the best cartoons to come out of the 1930’s were done by 2 of my favorite animators, Max and Dave Fleischer. Their cartoons have fluency to them; the images seem to roll by like waves. They are really a joy to watch. And, of course, the best ones were always the feature length cartoons mimicking some literary character or story. Some of those cartoons are satire, art and just plain old cartoons rolled into one. “Sinbad the Sailor” with Popeye is one which immediately springs to mind in this regard. And so does this one, “Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp”, which is based upon the tale in “The Book of One Thousand and One Arabian Nights”
Popeye, playing Aladdin, is in a struggle to obtain the hand of a beautiful Princess, played by Olive Oyl; this is the basic plot of almost every Popeye cartoon; and involves an evil sorcerer who lures our hero to a cave in order to obtain a magic lamp. Popeye gets the lamp, but just as the evil sorcerer is about to steal the lamp from him, trapping Popeye in the cave, he drops the lamp.

Popeye rubs the lamp and the genie appears, granting him a wish. Popeye wishes to get out of the cave and claim Olive Oyl as his true love. But the sorcerer has other plans and kidnaps her, leaving Popeye in a tight bind. When the sorcerer sends monsters to thwart the true love Popeye feels for Olive Oyl, the game is on. And with a little luck, a genie, and a can of Spinach to help him, the outcome is almost certain from the start.

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