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Tops in the Big Top (1945)

Bluto is the ringmaster; Popeye is the star attraction. Bluto covets Popeye's assistant Olive. Popeye sticks his head in a lion's mouth, but Bluto has put a steak on Popeye's head. When he ... See full summary »

Director:

Izzy Sparber (as I. Sparber)

Writers:

Joe Stultz (story), Carl Meyer (story)
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Cast

Uncredited cast:
Jackson Beck Jackson Beck ... Bluto (voice) (uncredited)
Jack Mercer ... Popeye (voice) (uncredited)
Mae Questel ... Olive Oyl (voice) (uncredited)
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Storyline

Bluto is the ringmaster; Popeye is the star attraction. Bluto covets Popeye's assistant Olive. Popeye sticks his head in a lion's mouth, but Bluto has put a steak on Popeye's head. When he gets out of that, he does his high wire act: carrying a piano, and Olive, blindfolded. Bluto sabotages this with a banana peel and tosses Popeye to the monkey cage, while he has his way with Olive - until Popeye eats his spinach. Written by Jon Reeves <jreeves@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Approved
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 March 1945 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Famous Studios See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Victor System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Goofs

As Bluto says "Hit the road, ya bum!" when he throws an unconscious Popeye, his words and mouth don't match. See more »

Connections

Featured in Popeye's 20th Anniversary (1954) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Popeye at the circus
9 July 2019 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Do prefer the Fleischer Popeye cartoons over Famous Studios' personally, something that has been said a few times by me already. To me, Famous Studios' Popeye cartoons still entertained and their earlier Popeye cartoons were well made and had invention, don't get me wrong. Just found Fleischer's more consistent, were funnier, more inventive and looked better, and the mid-late-50s efforts betrayed budget and time constraints somewhat.

'Tops in the Big Top' was made during the best Famous Studios period, which was the early 40s (or at least the non-"wartime" Popeye cartoons, which were at the risk of heavy-handedness and stereotypes). It is though not one of the best from this period and a long way from Popeye at his very best, while still being pretty decent. 'Tops in the Big Top' is well-made and entertains enough, but there are far funnier and more imaginative Popeye cartoons.

When it comes to strong suits, the story was never one of them in the Popeye cartoons. It still isn't in 'Tops in the Big Top', instead feeling very flimsy and formulaic with a sharper pace needed at times.

Although never exactly unfunny and often raising a smile, the gags are never properly hilarious and could have done with more freshness and variety, standard has been used here to describe them and it sums them up well.

Olive doesn't have enough to do and what she has isn't really all that note-worthy, feeling more like a plot device and not an awful lot more.

However, 'Tops in the Big Top' does have a lot that is good about it. The animation is very nicely done, the backgrounds have lost none of the meticulous attention to detail, it's fluid, Popeye still looks good and is recognisable in design and the colours are wonderfully vibrant, which really does make the setting come alive. Love the music just as much, it is the highly characterful and lush music score, that fits seamlessly and enhances the action.

Popeye is amusing and likeable still and Jack Mercer doesn't disappoint with the voice acting. Bluto, robustly voiced by Jackson Beck, is even funnier and the chemistry between the two sparkles and carries the cartoon brilliantly.

Luckily too, much is done with the circus setting, which has enough of the excitement and danger as ought. The animals are fun and a long way from wasted, even if even more could have been done with them. A very memorable sequence is a shockingly brutal one with the lion. Despite nothing being hilarious, 'Tops in the Big Top' is hardly devoid of gags and they are amusing ones at least. Popeye's mumblings and asides are still great. Beck and Mae Questel do well voicing Bluto and Olive.

In summation, above average but not great. 7/10


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