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The Anvil Chorus Girl

The Anvil Chorus Girl is Popeye's 126th theatrical cartoon, released in 1944 by Famous Studios, and a color remake of Fleischer's Shoein' Hosses of 1934. It is a noteworthy episode for various reasons: it was the first made after Famous Studios removed their operations to New York City from Miami; it marked the return of Mae Questel as the voice of Olive Oyl after a hiatus of several years; and it introduced Jackson Beck as the voice of Bluto - also updating the latter character by making him more muscular-looking and less portly.

Plot

The Anvil Chorus Girl Olive Smith

The cartoon opens with a view of 'Ye Village Smithy', and, as if to underscore the connection with the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem, the arboreal specimen adjoining it is prominently labelled 'Chestnut Tree'. Olive Oyl, here drawn in the style of her original comics incarnation - with a very thin body and huge high-button shoes - has apparently entered this physically demanding field of employment due to the manpower shortages engendered by World War II. A series of vignettes establishes her lack of ability at this line of work. At last, cooling her burned bottom in a vat of water, she muses, 'Oh, I've reached the bottom... What I need is a good, strong man around here!'

Happening by, Popeye and Bluto, already drooling at the sight of her exposed legs as she bends over, are quick to respond. "I heard your S.O.S for a strong man,' Bluto states, bumping an eager Popeye away with his buttocks. 'There y'are, muscles like i-ron!" Bluto does a bicep pose; tapping on it, Olive elicits a metallic thud and appreciates its implication of great might. There follows a series of tests of physical prowess between Bluto and Popeye, several of which (Popeye utilizing his jaw to mold molten metal into horseshoes; Bluto bending a steel bar and laboriously lifting a massive weight; Bluto tossing an anvil and sending both it and Popeye crashing through the floor) were reused with only slight modifications in the 1950 cartoon Quick on the Vigor.

The Anvil Chorus Girl 2

Finally, after a brief exchange of blows, Bluto's superior size wins the confrontation and Popeye is waylaid right through the blacksmith forge, smashing it to pieces. The apparent victor announces to Olive, 'Okay, beautiful, I'm all yours!' and lets loose with a crazed wolf howl. The alarmed Olive rejects him, causing the big man, true to form, to physically restrain and then abduct her. Meanwhile, the seemingly defeated Popeye has found his way to his spinach and is able to both effect a rescue and exact vengeance upon his erstwhile service buddy.

In a plot twist, Olive approaches the beaten Bluto and, in a suggestive tone of voice, purrs, 'I do hope you're not hurt, 'cause I want you to stay here and be mama's little helper!' Bluto quickly returns to his senses and is overjoyed that he has been chosen over Popeye. But his jubilation turns to outrage when he sees Olive drive off in a carriage with Popeye, proffering a final dig of 'Toodaloo, strong man!' as she leaves Bluto to work at the shop. As the cartoon ends, we see that Bluto has placed his head on an anvil and is smacking himself over and over with a pair of sledgehammers.

Gallery

External links

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