Monday, March 24, 2008

Tom and Jerry:1958

The final Hanna-Barbera directed Tom and Jerry cartoon from the Golden Age is "Tot Watchers". All that would follow in the long career of the famous cat and mouse would pale in comparison to the films from 1940-1958.

A negligent babysitter (who is more interested in talking on the phone than watching the baby) continuously mistakes Tom's attempts at maintaining the child's safety as a threat.

Tom and Jerry working as a team never sits too well with me, since they make much better adversaries, but I guess it is nice to see that they can put aside thier differences for a moment when a baby's life is at stake.

The obligatory construction site is always the perfect place for two heros to prove how far they will go to keep a child safe. The typical violence is absent here (well, except for Tom's run-in with Spike, but the thrashing is left to our imaginations as it takes place off screen).

A weary Tom and Jerry return home with the baby, only to be blamed for his kidnapping, and they are carted off to jail.
Is this the end of our Tom and Jerry tribute? Nope. Come back and bear the pain with me as we continue on to a rather disturbing phase of the cat and mouse's career.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Tom and Jerry:1957

Since I passed up the opportunity to feature "The Little Orphan" here, I will do the next best thing now by featuring the 1957 remake, "Feedin' the Kiddie".

This is almost an exact remake of "Little Orphan" (a brief shot of Mammy in the original film has been oddly omitted. Poor Mammy gets no respect.) Also, the backgrounds have been redesigned to accomodate the widescreen format of Cinemascope.

Nibbles, the ever-hungry relative of Jerry pays a visit just in time for Thanksgiving dinner...and we all know what happens when a Tom and Jerry film features a lavishly adorned dinner table, right? Yep, food fight!

Plenty of messy and dangerous fun ensues, leaving Tom broken and defeated, of course. Oh, and then there is this...

[Insert "these films are a product of thier time" disclaimer here.]

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Tom and Jerry:1956

Probably the most depressing tone in a Tom and Jerry cartoon can be found in "Blue Cat Blues". The film opens with Tom sitting upon train tracks attempting to commit suicide. Jerry watches from above and, through a voice-over track, tells us what brought Tom to this low end.

Tom and Jerry are apparently friends this time, that is until a female cat saunters by. Tom is smitten and becomes the brunt of several visual gags. He is magnetically drawn to her and he is literally putty in her hands, as she sculpts his face into a donkey's.

Of course, in every romance there is a rival and in this case, the rival is Butch, who continuously upstages Tom for the female cat's affections.

Exhausting all of his money to impress the girl, Tom is left broke, beaten and defeated as he realizes that the female cat has married Butch. Jerry concludes the tale of heartbreak, glad that his girlfriend is true to him...or is she? Nope, she too has eloped with another mouse.

Tom makes room for the despondent mouse next to him on the train tracks. As the two await the end of thier lives, a train whistle can be heard approaching just before the iris out.