7:00pm – Doors | 7:30pm – Pre-Show | 8:00pm – Burlesque Performance + Feature
After the success of last year’s McCABE AND MRS. MILLER screening, Ladies of Burlesque revisits master filmmaker Robert Altman with POPEYE, his baffling yet captivating adaptation of the beloved Depression-era comic strip. Featuring Shelley Duvall as Olive Oyl—in a role that she was born to play—and Robin Williams in his cinematic debut as the surly, squinty-eyed sailor man, Altman’s musical is a fascinating cult masterpiece. And with a Duvall-inspired burlesque performance by Rubie Magnitude, we promise this is the theatrical experience of the season!
Filmed on the remote archipelago of Malta, Popeye was a notorious film production nightmare, with Williams referring to the set as a “stalag.” To build Popeye’s Sweethaven, a 165-person construction crew worked tirelessly for seven months, building wooden structures along the Mediterranean Sea (you can visit the set today, as it lives a second life as Popeye’s Village, a family-run amusement park). The handmade sets add a bizarre, gritty feel to the film. Colourless except for splashes of the ocean’s green-blue hues, it looks like a nightmare of slivers and tetanus.
POPEYE presents similar themes as McCABE AND MRS. MILLER with loneliness and alienation at its heart, as well a throwback brothel sequence. As a Disney co-production, it was conceived as a children’s film, however, Altman had different ideas and the results are complex and entrancing. That Altman could make a comic-strip adaptation featuring Robin Williams outfitted in prosthetic arms and a gaggle of oddly-shaped performers and completely reject camp is miraculous. If one film attests to Altman’s singularity, it is POPEYE!
This Ladies of Burlesque screening is generously sponsored by Hollywood Suite.
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