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Director: Dave Fleischer
Release Date: April 28, 1939
Stars: Popeye, Olive Oyl
Rating:  ★
Review:

Leave Well Enough Alone © Max Fleischer‘Leave Well Enough Alone’ opens with Popeye visiting Olive Oyl’s pet shop, buying all her animals (dogs) for $500, only to set them free immediately.

Only a parrot stays behind. He sings the cartoon’s title tune, in which he tells us that it’s better to be safe inside, being cared for than free in the outer world. Indeed, in no time all the dogs have been caught by a dog catcher. Popeye buys them all from the dog catcher and restores them to the shop.

‘Leave Well Enough Alone’ is low on gags, its title song is trite, but most importantly, its message is highly questionable. It’s very strange to watch such a free spirit as Popeye finally obeying to this extremely conservative motto. Was it a hidden message from Max to his employees?

Watch ‘Leave Well Enough Alone’ yourself and tell me what you think:

‘Leave Well Enough Alone’ is available on the DVD Set ‘Popeye the Sailor Volume Two’

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Director: Dave Fleischer
Release Date: December 17, 1937
Stars: Popeye, Olive Oyl, Bluto
Rating: ★★½
Review:

Fowl Play © Max FleischerIn ‘Fowl Play’ Popeye brings Olive a parrot to remember him by when he’s at sea.

The parrot, which too smokes a pipe, sings a love song for Olive, and she immediately grows attached to the bird. But then Bluto appears. He lets the bird free, and then tries to kill it with an ax, so Popeye has to save the day.

‘Fowl Play’ is one of the more routine Popeye cartoons. Bluto is nothing but a big bully here, while the parrot adds little to the classic love triangle. The complete cartoon is rather slow and predictable. Its best gag is when Popeye repeatedly has to leave the fighting cloud to save Olive from falling while fainting. This scene contains some wild takes on Olive, while an earlier scene features a very wild double-take on Popeye.

Watch ‘Fowl Play’ yourself and tell me what you think:

‘Fowl Play’ is available on the French DVD Box Set ‘Popeye the Sailor 1933-1938’

Director: Art Davis
Release Date: August 14, 1948
Rating: ★★★★
Review:

Dough Ray Me-ow © Warner BrothersArt Davis is one of the unsung heroes of Warner Brothers animation. His unit existed for only three years, but in this short time period he released many fine cartoons, with a distinct and recognizable style.

‘Dough Ray Me-Ow’ is one of his best cartoons, and a rather macabre one, too. This short features a cat, called Heathcliff, who is even too dumb to breathe. Heathcliff, without knowing it, inherits an enormous sum of money. When his ‘pal’ Louie, a cynical parrot, discovers that if Heathcliff dies, this fortune will come to him, he tries to kill Louie in great, funny gags. Surprisingly, in the end he even succeeds, but when he tells the dying Heathcliff his secret, the cat’s nine lives simply refuse to go to heaven!

Apart from the main story, the cartoon contains a small running gag in which we see Heatcliff cracking nuts in ridiculously elaborate ways, always involving his own head.

‘Dough Ray Me-Ow’ features watercolor backgrounds, very unusual for Warner Brothers at the time.

Watch an excerpt from ‘Dough Ray Me-ow’ yourself and tell me what you think:

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