4 November 2018 | TheLittleSongbird
How to learn manners Popeye style
Dave Fleischer was responsible for many gems. Ones that were amusing and charming, though over-cuteness did come through in some efforts and the stories were always pretty thin, with appealing characters, outstanding music and visuals that were inventive and with innovative animation techniques.
'Learn Polikeness' may not quite be one of the best Popeye cartoons but have always had a fondness for it. Despite liking many of Popeye's cartoons almost all the best came from the Fleischer era, Fleischer's efforts were always well animated and scored with lots of entertainment value and great chemistry between Popeye, Olive Oyl and Bluto. 'Learn Polikeness' has everything that makes the Popeye series so appealing in its prime era and does nothing to waste the three main characters or make them less interesting.
The story is an interesting and beautifully paced one, never being dull, if formulaic (not uncommon with the Popeye cartoons), though with an interesting setting. The humour and gags make it even more entertaining, avoiding the trap of repetition, if anything this for a Popeye cartoon the gags and how the story is executed is quite creative.
All three characters are great. Although Olive Oyl is a little underused as she did tend to be around this point she is fun to watch and one can see what Popeye sees in her. Popeye and Bluto are spot on and their chemistry drives 'Learn Polikeness' and has so much energy. Popeye is always amusing and likeable and his role here is imaginatively handled and Bluto is every bit as funny and interesting in a relatively different role for him, it's not everyday you see Bluto teaching Popeye of all people manners.
Furthermore, the animation is beautifully drawn and with enough visual detail to not make it cluttered or static and lively and smooth movement. The music is also outstanding, lots of merry energy and lush orchestration, adding a lot to the action and making the impact even better without being too cartoonish. Fleischer's direction is always accomplished and his style is all over it.
Voice acting is dynamic and of very good quality. Jack Mercer gives Popeye so much character and my favourite of the Popeye voice actors (the longest serving one too for a reason). It is hard to imagine anybody else as Olive Oyl other than Mae Questel while Gus Wickie finishes his stint as Bluto on a high.
Overall, wonderful. 9/10 Bethany Cox