TOM THUMB
1958, Warner Bros., 98 min, USA, Dir: George Pal

In this charming Brothers Grimm musical fantasy, a woodcutter and his wife are magically granted their wish for a son – but the boy is the size of a thumb. Russ Tamblyn is at his acrobatic best in the title role, and there’s some top comedic talent lurking in supporting roles, with Peter Sellers and Terry-Thomas as a pair of thieves and Stan Freberg supplying the voice of an animated toy. Oscar winner for Best Special Effects.


STORMY WEATHER
1943, 20th Century Fox, 78 min, USA, Dir: Andrew L. Stone

The life of Bill "Bojangles" Robinson provided loose inspiration for this classic musical, and he stars as a WWI vet who hopes to make it big as a dancer and win the heart of singer Selina Rogers (Lena Horne). Selected for preservation in the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry, this dazzling revue was among the first major studio features with a predominantly African-American cast, and showcases iconic performances by such stars as Cab Calloway, Fats Waller and the Nicholas Brothers, whose “Jumpin’ Jive” sequence was once described by Fred Astaire as the greatest movie musical number he had ever seen.


POPEYE
1980, Paramount, 114 min, USA, Dir: Robert Altman

Few actors could bring a cartoon character to life the way Robin Williams does in his first major film role as the titular sailor man in director Robert Altman’s musical comedy (though Shelley Duvall is pretty well cast herself as rail-thin love interest Olive Oyl). Bluto, Wimpy, Swee'Pea and all your favorites are here, as Popeye searches for his father and discovers the power of spinach. While not the blockbuster it was expected to be, the film was a financial success, and its cult reputation has risen through the years, thanks in part to its Jules Feiffer-penned screenplay and Harry Nilsson’s music.


Syndicate content