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I'm Sindbad the Sailor, so hearty and hale,(Lions Roar) Sindbad, the Sailor!
I live on an island, on the back of a whale,
It's a whale of an island! (that's not a bad joke.)
Its lord and its master is this handsome bloke.
Whooooo's the most remarkable, extraordinary fellow?!
—The Opening Villain Song.
Possibly the peak of Popeye the Sailor's cartoon career during The Golden Age of Animation, this lavishly animated, full-color, two-reeler 16-minute theatrical cartoon from 1936 brings together a crisply paced plot with impressive action scenes and comedy. Oh, and awesome 3-D backgrounds too.
The short starts off with a close-up on the isle of Sindbad the Sailor, and not long after we see the man himself, he begins his epic villian boast song, complete with amazing live action model set and animation blending, ending with the introduction of Popeye himself, singing his theme song.
Sindbad promptly sends his giant buzzard to destroy Popeye's boat and kidnap Olive Oyl ("But bring me the woman.") and naturally, Popeye has to travel to Sindbad's Island (along with Wimpy) to save Olive Oyl.
The short was a smash hit when it was released, resulting in two follow-ups being done within the next few years. It was nominated for an Academy Award in 1936, but lost to the now obscure Silly Symphonies short The Country Cousin. Fortunately, this cartoon got a better reward later on--the position of #17 on The 50 Greatest Cartoons list, and it got selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.
This short was popular enough to recieve a follow-up in 1937, Popeye the Sailor Meets Ali Baba's Forty Thieves.
Tropes Associated With This Short:
- Animation Bump: In spades. The animation is noticably more fluid and detailed this time around, and that's not even taking into the account the lush, rich Technicolor and amazing model set backgrounds.
- Bullet Dancing: Sindbad does this to Olive Oyl by shooting pellets through a straw.
- Cranial Eruption: When Popeye hits one of Boola's heads, the other head gets the lump.
- Curb Stomp Battle: Popeye doesn't have a chance before eating spinach, at which point Sindbad has no chance.
- Deadpan Snarker: The first thing Popeye says after Sindbad's giant bird wrecks his ship? "Oh, that was a nice boat we once had."
- Digital Destruction: The print included on the official Popeye DVD is a very good restoration--save for some truly bizarre color alterations, which pumped up the pink on the print! On that note, Sindbad's outfit was originally purple, but is now bright blue in this print!
- Distressed Damsel: Olive Oyl, as usual.
- DVD Commentary: John Kricfalusi and his pals provide one for the first official Popeye DVD set, while Jerry Beck provides a commentary for it on the Warner Bros. Academy Awards Collection DVD set.
- Expy: Sindbad, Bluto, Brutus
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Popeye makes some pretty risqué comments, but they are muttered under his breath.
- Giant Flyer: Sindbad's giant bird, which probably recalls the Roc of the original Sindbad story.
- "I Am" Song: "I'm Popeye the Sailor-man!"
- Kick the Dog: In Sindbad's case it's more like "Slap The Lion."
- Multiple Head Case: The two-headed giant "Boola."
- Leitmotif: Wimpy gets one in the short. It's most noticeable when he pops up inside Sindbad's fortress.
- Public Domain Animation: The shorts copyright is expired, so it's not uncommon to see this cartoon show up on dollar store Public Domain cartoon collections.
- Shout-Out: Sindbad mentions King Kong when talking about his two-headed ettin slave.
- "He'd frighten King Kong, but he's only my stooge!"
- Shown Their Work: The Fleischer brothers and their studio pulled out all stops for this cartoon, and boy howdy, does it show, resulting in much Scenery Porn and all-around Eye Candy in general. The storytelling and pacing also recieved much attention to detail. Theres a reason this whole short took two years to make, according to a promotional poster.
- Something Completely Different: Due to it's out of nowhere adventure story nature, that feels very different from the usual locales of Popeye's world.
- This Is a Drill: How Popeye gets through Sindbad's wall, also the twister punch.
- Villain Song: "Oh, who's the most remarkable," etc.
- Whole-Episode Flashback: This short was later remade by Famous Studios in 1952 as "Big Bad Sindbad", which is essentially the same cartoon, only with a Framing Device where Popeye and his nephews go to a museum and encounter a giant statue of Sindbad, prompting Popeye to recount his fateful encounter with the sailor. Once Popeye was done with the story, the nephews chiseled the statue into that of Popeye in his honor. Understandably, a lot of footage from the original cartoon had to be cut to make way for the new material.
- Wind from Beneath My Wings: Sindbad's giant bird can do this.