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  • Popeye Village

    Do you remember the film version of Popeye? It's an odd film with a rather good pedigree. It starred Robin Williams and was Directed by Robert Altman. It also features music by Harry Nilsson.

    The film is a notorious flop... but not financially. It actually returned double the production money, but something was really wrong.


    It's a musical version of Popeye's life and it is bizarre from start to finish. Popeye mumbles the whole film and although it's charming in the cartoons it's downright annoying for two hours of film.

    They also stuck to some of the rules of the comic (like Popeye hating spinach) rather than the animated shorts and this confused everyone in the audience.

    Yeah. It's a mess.

    The set is really cool, however. The film was made on the island of Malta and for production crews worked for 7 months to create an amazing village.

    Now here's the cool part.

    Are you sitting down?

    The set still stands today as a family entertainment complex and museum. Man, I gotta go to Malta.

    Popeye Village, also known as Sweethaven Village, is a group of wooden buildings located at Anchor Bay in the north-west corner of the Mediterranean island of Malta, two miles from the village of Mellieħa. A construction crew of 165 constructed the set using tree trunks from Holland, wood shingles from Canada, eight tons of nails and 2,000 gallons of paint.



    Sweethaven consisted of 19 buildings including a fake hotel, a fake school-house, a fake store, a do I have to type fake again post office, a fake tavern and a fake church.

    Sweethaven or Popeye Village is one of Malta's most popular tourist attractions.

    Popeye Village is open to the public seven days a week and, in addition to the film set itself, it has a number of family attractions. There are shows, rides and museums. You can also meet costumed characters of Popeye, Olive Oyl, Bluto and Wimpy.

    Also, if the weather is good you can take a Each boat trip around Anchor Bay where one can take photos of the beautiful scenery and see Popeye Village from the sea.

    One of the highlights of Popeye Village is the cinema where visitors can watch a twenty minute film on the making of the film set. Sure, it's probably in Maltanese, but that is still pretty freakin' cool!

    There is also a variety of shows and carnival rides based around Popeye.

    Sadly Malta is somewhere between Africa and Europe and as cool as this all sounds I can't imagine 10 hours on a plane would be worth it just to see "the bar where Popeye smacked down Bluto."

    So I will have to stay in the U.S. where the closest thing I can find is the Popeye raft ride at Universal Studios Island of Adventure in Orlando.

    That and the Popeye's Chicken and Biscuits down the street.

    I guess I could always consider Cajun rice a vacation in a cup.
    sigpic
    Check out my podcast: www.drunkondisney.com

  • #2
    Re: Popeye Village

    I totally remember that movie. I remember seeing in the theatre. I remember the scene towards the end with the octopus scared the bejebus out of me. Not one of my favorite Robin Williams films, but it's so kitschy that I always stop and watch if I catch one of the rare times in airs on cable.


    That's freakin' cool the Sweethaven set is still there 27 years later (the movie came out in 1980). And an ac\ual attraction to boot? Awesome!

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    • #3
      Re: Popeye Village

      Popeye is actually one of my favorite movie musicals.

      I loved it that they relied more on the comics than the cartoons -- and Popeye doesn't hate spinach throughout the whole movie, btw.

      A tidbit about the film: Apparently, they approached Imagineering to do the animatronics for the final scene. However, Card Walker refused to let them do it because they do theme parks, not movies (apparently, he forgot about Mary Poppins, The Gnome Mobile, and other live action movies that were made during Walt's later years where he was experimenting with the use of animatronics in movies).
      -Tim

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      • #4
        Re: Popeye Village

        I always loved that movie as a kid then was stunned to later learn of it's negative reputation.

        I knew the sets were still there, just never seen a pic or what actually became of the area today. Thanks!

        Goes to show the people who doubt that production set designer for Harry Potter who is helping to construct The Wizarding World of Harry Potter for Universal's Islands of Adventure. That, plus the Port Royal set in St. Vincent for POTC that survived 3 hurricanes.

        "You're not thinking fourth dimensionally!" -Back to the Future

        "With this place, I wanted to give them something real, something that wasn't an illusion, something they could see and touch. An aim devoid of merit."
        -Jurassic Park

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        • #5
          Re: Popeye Village

          i didn't think the movie was bad the bar fight was funny
          sigpicDISNEYROYALTY

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          • #6
            Re: Popeye Village

            Originally posted by FrumiousBoojum View Post
            Popeye is actually one of my favorite movie musicals.

            I loved it that they relied more on the comics than the cartoons -- and Popeye doesn't hate spinach throughout the whole movie, btw.
            Yeah, but he hates it until the final reel. I actually watched the movie after writing this and it was much better than I expected. Perhaps I enjoy it more because I am an adult.

            As a kid I was VERY disapointed.

            Now I gotta find the soundtrack!
            sigpic
            Check out my podcast: www.drunkondisney.com

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