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Li'l Abner (1959)

Today was all cold and snowy, so we stayed in and watched TV and kept warm. We should have watched a lot of DVDs (we have so may waiting to be watched), but we only fit one in - Li'l Abner. I'd seen the movie once before long ago, but I'm more familiar with the songs, because I have the soundtrack album somewhere and I listened to it a lot in the 80s, when the Kitchen Sink editions of the comic strip reprints were coming out, and I was picking up every one...

So I already have a great appreciation for L'il Abner in general, and I like the songs a lot -- what did I think of the movie? The story is a success at hitting the main themes and social commentary of the strip, and all the main characters are represented well (but what's with the inflation of Marryin' Sam into a main character? I guess plot demands). My main beef is the whole look of the film. Everything is so artificial and setbound, like they took the musical play, moved it onto bigger sets, and filmed it. There doesn't seem to be any attempt to take advantage of the fact that they can do things on film that they couldn't in a theater. I supposed they wanted to keep some artificiality to preserve the cartoonishness, but they could have done that with the costuming alone.

One big plus is the successful translation of Al Capp's sexy gals onto the screen. Julie Newmar as Stupefyin' Jones is really enough reason to see the movie; everything else is extra ;-)

Stupefyin' Jones


( 2 Swingers — Comment )
Jan. 15th, 2007 07:51 pm (UTC)
I was in the play version of Lil Abner, and Marryin' Sam was a pretty big character. I'm not at all familiar with the comic strip, only having looked up what the characters looked like, but is he not a big character in them? He gets several solos and songs all to himself in the musical, and even though I've never seen the movie (though I really want to) if he was a big character that seems to me to be in keeping with the play.

And I heart the story and characters of Lil Abner. I was Moonbeam McSwine, and it was so much fun!
Jan. 20th, 2007 07:04 am (UTC)
After I posted, I find this article that explains that the Li'l Abner movie is very close to the play:

After reading it (and some other stuff), I've came the conclusion that Marryin' Sam was made a big character in the play (and movie) because they had hired Stubby Kaye and you don't waste Stubby Kaye on a bit part. In the comic strip, Marryin' Sam was just one member of the huge supporting cast who showed up when he was needed -- in his case, every year for Sadie Hawkins Day.
( 2 Swingers — Comment )

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