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Li'l Abner

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Overview

1959's Li'l Abner was adapted from the hit 1956 Broadway musical--which, in turn, was inspired by the satirical comic strip by Al Capp. Peter Palmer recreates his Broadway role as Li'l Abner Yokum, the handsome, muscle-bound, muscle-brained leading hillbilly of Dogpatch, USA. The citizens of Dogpatch are in an uproar because their ramshackle community has been designated the "most useless" town in America, and therefore a prime candidate for an atomic bomb testing site. At first, the Dogpatchers consider their ...
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Overview

1959's Li'l Abner was adapted from the hit 1956 Broadway musical--which, in turn, was inspired by the satirical comic strip by Al Capp. Peter Palmer recreates his Broadway role as Li'l Abner Yokum, the handsome, muscle-bound, muscle-brained leading hillbilly of Dogpatch, USA. The citizens of Dogpatch are in an uproar because their ramshackle community has been designated the "most useless" town in America, and therefore a prime candidate for an atomic bomb testing site. At first, the Dogpatchers consider their least-desirable status a great honor, but then they despair upon realizing that they'll have to vacate the premise before the annual girl-chases-boy Sadie Hawkins Day race. Together with his Mammy Billie Hayes and Pappy Joe E. Marks, Li'l Abner is dispatched to Washington DC, to argue that Dogpatch has some vital significance: after all, only in Dogpatch can one partake of the Yokumberry Tonic, the source of Abner's super strength. Shifty billionaire General Bullmoose Howard St. John wants that Yokumberry tonic for his own devices, and to that end dispatches his lady friend Appasionatta von Climax Stella Stevens to Dogpatch to catch Li'l Abner during the Sadie Hawkins race and thus secure the mountain boy's cooperation via marriage. Li'l Abner's erstwhile girl friend Daisy Mae Scragg Leslie Parrish would likewise like to snare Abner in the race, but Appasionata wins, thanks to the squirrelly Evil Eye Fleegle Al Nesor, whose "triple whammy" paralyzes Abner just inches before the finish line. If you think all this is unbelievable, wait till you see how the story resolves itself. Featured in the cast is Stubby Kaye as Marryin' Sam, who leads the hillbilly chorus in the musical's best number, "Jubilation T. Corpone." Other Johnny Mercer-Gene de Paul tunes carried over from the Broadway version of Li'l Abner are "A Typical Day," "If I Had My Druthers," "Namely You," "The Country's in the Very Best of Hands," "Past My Prime," "Put 'Em Back The Way They Wuz" and "The Matrimonial Stomp."The film is staged in the same broad, caricatured manner as the play, which only adds to the fun. An earlier, unrelated movie adaptation of Li'l Abner, filmed in 1940, is best forgotten, as is a series of lukewarm Abner cartoons produced by Screen Gems in the late forties.
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Special Features

Closed Caption; Widescreen version enhanced for 16:9 TVs; Dolby Digital - English mono; English subtitles
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Al Capp's comic strip Li'l Abner was phenomenally popular in its prime, roughly the equivalent of Doonesbury in the 1970s and 1980s -- and, like that later strip, frequently taking on a wide variety of political issues. While the film version includes some political commentary -- particularly in "The Country's in the Very Best of Hands" and in the use of atom bomb testing as a plot device -- the real emphasis is on creating a "live" version of the strip's cartoon world, which it does remarkably well. Garishly colorful and sprightly, Melvin Frank's Dogpatch seems to have leapt right off the four-color funnies page. The script is silly but endearingly so, and the fine Johnny Mercer-Gene de Paul songs perfectly capture Capp's worldview. Peter Palmer apparently was born to play Li'l Abner, having been blessed with a physiognomy which perfectly matches the strip's character. As a bonus, he has an easy, agreeable way with a song and is comfortable with the iffy Dogpatch lingo. Leslie Parrish is a charming Daisy Mae, and Bille Hayes a perfect Mammy Yokum. Stubby Kaye is especially good as Marryin' Sam, creating quite a commotion when his distinctive belt rips into "Jubilation T. Cornpone." Abner is too slight to be a classic, but it has a goofily endearing quality all its own.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/19/2005
  • UPC: 097360590845
  • Original Release: 1959
  • Rating:

  • Source: Paramount
  • Region Code: 1
  • Time: 1:53:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Peter Palmer Li'l Abner
Leslie Parrish Daisy Mae
Stubby Kaye Marryin'Sam
Howard St. John General Bullmoose
Julie Newmar Stupefyin' Jones
Stella Stevens Appassionata Von Climax
Billie Hayes Mammy Yokum
Joe E. Marks Pappy Yokum
Al Nesor Evil Eye Fleagle
Robert Strauss Romeo Scragg
William Lanteau Available Jones
Ted Thurston Sen. Jack S. Phogbound
Alan Carney Mayor Dawgmeat
Stanley Simmonds Rasmussen T. Finsdale
Bern Hoffman Earthquake McGoon
Diki Lerner Lonesome Polecat
Joe Ploski Hairless Joe
Technical Credits
Melvin Frank Director, Producer, Screenwriter
Alvin Colt Costumes/Costume Designer
Gene de Paul Songwriter
Daniel L. Fapp Cinematographer
John P. Fulton Special Effects
J. McMillan Johnson Art Director
Michael Kidd Choreography
Joseph Lilley Score Composer, Musical Direction/Supervision
Johnny Mercer Songwriter
Norman Panama Producer, Screenwriter
Hal Pereira Art Director
Nelson Riddle Score Composer, Musical Direction/Supervision
Arthur P. Schmidt Editor
Dee Dee Wood Choreography
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Dogpatch, U.S.A. [6:26]
2. Marryin' Sam [8:06]
3. Nobody's Dunce [6:32]
4. Cornpipe Meetin' [8:27]
5. I Claims Daisy Mae [10:35]
6. Yokumberry Tonic [6:47]
7. Abner in Washington [8:22]
8. The Very Best of Hands [1:29]
9. Sadie Hawkins Day [8:06]
10. Past Your Prime [10:37]
11. In Trouble [6:00]
12. High Society Country [7:20]
13. Return to Dogpatch [5:11]
14. Pappy Has Spoken! [8:27]
15. Dearly Beloved... [6:08]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play
   Set Up
      Subtitle Options: English
      Subtitle Options: None
   Scene Selection
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 2.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2004

    Reminds me of the ' Mouse that Roared'.

    Very good spoof about 'Eminent Domain', you don't really own the Land you are living on!! Why isn't this 1959 Production on DVD??

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews