For Better or Nurse
The boys see lovely nurse Olive pass by and follow her to her hospital. She throws them out, so they scheme to hurt themselves enough to get hospitalized, with no luck. Bluto gets a wall to ... Read allThe boys see lovely nurse Olive pass by and follow her to her hospital. She throws them out, so they scheme to hurt themselves enough to get hospitalized, with no luck. Bluto gets a wall to fall on him, but stands in the window. Popeye tries to get run over by a steam-roller, but... Read allThe boys see lovely nurse Olive pass by and follow her to her hospital. She throws them out, so they scheme to hurt themselves enough to get hospitalized, with no luck. Bluto gets a wall to fall on him, but stands in the window. Popeye tries to get run over by a steam-roller, but a street cleaner saves him. Bluto dives off a skyscraper - into a huge pile of mattresses... Read all
'For Better or Nurse' is a remake of 1937's 'Hospitaliky'. Anybody who has seen that cartoon should do so, it to me is one of the best Popeye cartoons from that year (one of the series' overall best years, so many great Popeye cartoons from that year) and epitomises everything that is great with the Fleischer Popeye output when at its best. It does a great job making what is an absurd premise on paper work to hilarious effect on screen. 'For Better or Nurse' is entertaining and is a good representation of one of Famous Studios' better years for their Popeye output, treating 'Hospitaliky' with respect.
Popeye and Bluto's chemistry is pretty legendary and drives the Popeye cartoons when they are together, which they are a lot though there have been effective changes of pace. One can see why that is the case, the energy between the two sparkles. Popeye is immensely entertaining and likeable while Bluto is every bit his equal. Would have liked to have seen more of Olive though.
One would naturally think the premise is absurd hearing and reading about it. Thinking how to make something funny out of going to great lengths to be admitted to hospital just for love, when hospitals are among many people's least favourite places. Including me with it over the past eight years being a familiar place for me, while having great respect for everybody in the medical profession. While 'Hospitaliky' was funnier and fresher on this aspect, 'For Better or Nurse' still does well and is amusing and energetic. There is hardly a shortage of humour and none of it really misfires. Particularly effective in the laughs department are the truly creative injury attempts of Popeye and Bluto and Popeye's asides and mumblings, what could have been irritating manages to be something of an art form.
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. Voice acting is dynamic and of very good quality. Jackson Beck does nicely too and it is hard to imagine somebody else better than Mae Questel as Olive, the character was voiced by others in some cartoons but they were nothing compared to Questel.
Despite those great things, the story does little new with what we saw in 'Hospitaliky', so it does come over as predictable and it isn't quite as lively in the timing. Respected that it treated 'Hosptaliky' with respect, but part of me felt that it was too faithful to it (coming over as 'Hospitaliky' but in colour) and that it could have put more of its own spin on it.
Harry Welch voices Popeye here while Jack Mercer was on military duty, he does a serviceable enough job but it does feel odd somewhat without Mercer. Welch doesn't relish the mumblings and asides in the same way.
Concluding, enjoyable and well done but somewhat questioned the point of it when it had all been done much better before. 7/10
- Aug 12, 2019