Friday, October 31, 2014

I Hope So!

Our next Popeye cartoon is called I'll Never Crow Again and it's nothing if not fertile grounds for accusations of implicit racism and, at the end, rather explicit sexism.  But hey!  Flatland is still considered a classic in some circles, right?
I'll leave aside the discussion of racism, but I think the crows here are probably less racist than the crows in Dumbo.  They seem to be voiced by Jack Mercer, anyhow, and not by black actors... and the IMDb page for this backs me up!
Okay, on to the plot.  Olive's happily slaving away in her kitchen, doing the dishes.  She looks out over her vast garden, perhaps a Victory garden, as it was close to when those got fired up, historically.  Alas, all is not well in this garden of eatin', as we see crows happily slaving away over the ripe pickin's within.  One crow squeezes a tomato, but it doesn't make the right squeaking sound.  Frankly, this is somehow more insulting to crows than to any human being.  Crows aren't that picky!  Olive decides to call Popeye to help with her crow problem, especially after they start throwing some of her crops at her.  I'm surprised there's anything left after those two volleys.
The sexism starts in earnest with this phone call.  Olive apparently does too much talking over the phone.  Popeye's throbbing ears can't stand it.  Plus, they steal the gag from Helpmates!  Oh, you know the one... kewl!  They have it on YouTube!  And so, Popeye begins in earnest to chase away those crows.  Oh, but they're very ornery crows and don't scare away easily at all!  As you can see from the picture, the crow disassembles Popeye's scarecrow and puts on the outfit itself.  This leads to perhaps the flick's best line.  Olive starts to laugh at Popeye's failed attempts, prompting Popeye to quip, "Wimmin laugh at the funniest things."
I feel like keeping this one short.  To cut to the chase, Olive's laughing continues... ooh!  Almost forgot.  Once again, we get the spinach theme, but Popeye grabs a gun instead of spinach.  If you've just seen Flies Ain't Human, you can probably guess how it's going to turn out.  Popeye can't do it all, after all!  Popeye loses his temper and takes out his wrath on Olive.  He puts Olive up on the scarecrow pole.  Popeye gets his sense of humour back, and Olive's left up there, flailing about, her complaints muffled by her shirt, and look at her hair, for God's sake!  What a mess!  Guess how the crows react.  So not only does this insult women and African Americans, but the biggest insult of all is of course to the Christian community in the audience.  I mean, doesn't that scarecrow pole look a little too much like a crucifix?  Did Scarecrow die on the cross for our sins, or is Olive about to?  You know, maybe this one isn't so bad after all.

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

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