The Best Old Movies on a Big Screen This Week: NYC Repertory Cinema Picks, June 24-30

06/24/2015 8:15 AM |

popeye-williams-duvall

Popeye (1980)
Directed by Robert Altman
Their sole collaboration, Popeye nurtures the kindred traits of Altman and Robin Williams: improvisatory spirit, prolific (often drug-fueled) work ethic, and effortless balance of chaos and subtlety. Rather than merely summon E.C. Segar’s Thimble Theatre characters to life, Altman delivers a beefy-forearmed punch to the comic strip’s time constraints. The same fly-on-the-wall direction that captured the tragicomic naturalism of the Grand Ole Opry or an Army hospital is applied to Sweet Haven, where an octopus battle or a falling piano are routine. In his debut starring role, Williams imbues in the ornery sailor-man a lonely innocence, which is then conveyed via Harry Nilsson’s simple melodies. He also provides Shelley Duvall (as the fickle Olive Oyl) with her least treacherous film romance of 1980. Max Kyburz (June 27, 1:30pm at the Museum of the Moving Image’s Williams tribute)