Film, Drama
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With neither production companies (Paramount and Disney, for heaven's sakes!) nor critics able to make up their minds what a maverick iconoclast like Altman was doing turning EC Segar's comic strip into a live-action musical, this film was virtually doomed to failure and neglect. Certainly, with Williams giving a virtuoso fast-mumbling performance as the hero, and gags ranging from expertly choreographed slapstick to subtle verbal infelicities (Popeye muttering about 'venerable disease'), it is far too sophisticated to function merely as kids' fodder. Nor is its story - in which Popeye searches for his lost Pappy while courting Olive Oyl - any less discursive, fragmented or off-the-wall than Altman's finest work. Indeed, the film may be seen as a weird and wonderful variation on the McCabe and Mrs Miller theme, with the immaculately designed township of Sweethaven, the vividly drawn characters, and Harry Nilsson's songs of inarticulacy all contributing to a portrait of a bizarre society at once recognisably human and fantastically dreamlike. Often, watching the actors contorting themselves into non-human shapes, you wonder how on earth Altman did it; equally often, you feel you are watching a wacky masterpiece, the like of which you've never seen before.

By: GA

Release details

Duration: 114 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Robert Altman
Screenwriter: Jules Feiffer
Cast: Robin Williams
Shelley Duvall
Ray Walston
Paul Dooley
Paul L Smith
Richard Libertini
Donald Moffat

Average User Rating

4.5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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1 person listening

I watch it again and again. I still sing the songs 'Sweet Sweet Haven," "Large" "Everything is food food food."

The characters are perfect. I like that guy who shrinks and disappears down stairs that aren't there.

Robin Williams was Popeye, from the big arms to  the constant mutterings. Excelllent movie!

Williams and the cast excel , but the movie drags in spots and the ending fizzles.