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Tom and Jerry's Greatest Chases [DVD]

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Overview

Synopsis

Yankee Doodle Mouse
War has broken out between Lieutenant Jerry Mouse and his feline enemy Tom, and as the fighting gets under way, the diminutive rodent uses his arsenal of dynamite, egg grenades, and champagne corks to launch an all out attack. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

The Cat Concerto
As world-renowned pianist Tom sits down to give a performance of Liszt's "Second Hungarian Rhapsody", Jerry does his best to disrupt the performance by plucking the piano strings, slamming the shutter on Tom's paws, and generally causing as much chaos as possible. But Tom is the consummate professional, and somehow manages to fend Jerry off without hitting a single wrong note. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

Solid Serenade
A bulldog aptly named Killer stands guard over the home of a wealthy female cat. This, however, does not dissuade the lovestruck Tom from invading Killer's turf. Armed with a bass fiddle, Tom proceeds to serenade his lady love with a swingin' rendition of "Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby?", thereby rousing Jerry from his slumbers. Unable to tolerate Tom's cat-erwauling, Jerry bombards the would-be Romeo with a barrage of boobytrapped pies. The chase is on, with the aforementioned Killer (now equipped with a new set of pointed dentures) eventually joining the fray. In addition to singing, the normally speechless Tom does a lot of talking in this one, at one point spewing forth a dead-on Charles Boyer imitation. The musical score includes such MGM standards as "You Were Meant for Me". ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Mouse
This Oscar-nominated cartoon begins as Tom filches a milk bottle from the front porch and prepares to have breakfast. Jerry wants to share the milk, but Tom is his usual greedy self, and the chase is on. Nonetheless, Jerry manages to get in a few gulps, so Tom resorts to drastic mesaures, mixing up a poisonous potion in hopes of doing away with the troublesome mouse. The plan backfires when the mixture transforms Jerry into a musclebound monstrosity, pummelling Tom into senselessness. Unfortunately, the potion tends to wear off at the most inopportune moments... Watch for Tom's "Tex Avery" reaction when Jerry escapes from a supposedly surefire trap. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Little Orphan
Legendary cartoonists William Hannah and Joseph Barbera co-direct this Academy Award-winning Tom and Jerry laugher about a small mouse with an unusually large appetite. Upon discovering a tiny grey mouse on his doorstep, Jerry kindly takes the refugee in. Unfortunately for Jerry, there's a Thanksgiving feast being prepared in the house, and his newfound friend is determined to eat like a king. Despite Tom's best efforts to protect the spread, his diminutive opponent proves unusually sufficient in the art of culinary self-defense. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

Kitty Foiled
As the house canary looks on in horror from his cage, house cat Tom chases and captures house mouse Jerry. But just as Tom is about to do dirt to Jerry, the bird comes to the mouse's rescue. Now Tom is determined to gobble up both mouse AND canary, so Jerry must return the compliment by saving the bird's life. One might think that Tom would give up at this point, but he's one stubborn cat. The ensuing sight gags range from the standard "hammer to the teeth" to a "Perils of Pauline" climax as Tom binds Jerry to the tracks of a model train set. Complementing the merry mayhem is Scott Bradley's zippy musical score, incorporating passages from Rossini's "Barber of Seville" overture. (PC alert: the "papoose" gag is missing from most reissue prints). ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Jerry and the Lion
A radio broadcast of the old favorite"Sleepy Time Gal" is interrupted with a news bulletin about a "ferocious" lion that has escaped from the circus. In a blind panic, Tom boards up all the doors and windows and decks himself out in pith helmet and rifle, nervously anticipating the fugitive lion's arrival. Meanwhile, Jerry discovers that the not-at-all-ferocious lion is hiding in the basement. The tremulous King of Beasts begs Jerry not to send him back to that "corny circus music", so the mouse agrees to help the lion make his way home to Africa--and to avoid the eagle eye and trigger finger of good old Tom. The standard chase-through-the-house gags are augmented by one of greatest fake-death scenes in all of American animation. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Jerry's Diary
About to inflict great bodily harm upon Jerry, Tom is interrupted by a radio broadcast starring lovable old Uncle Dudley, who announces that it is "Be Kind to Animals" week. Immediately turning over a new leaf, Tom goes out of his way to make friends with Jerry--at least until he takes a peek at the mouse's diary, which chronicles the many, many times that Jerry has gotten the better of Tom in a painful fashion. Jerry's Diary is what is known in the trade as a "cheater", largely comprised of lengthy excerpts from such earlier "Tom and Jerry" cartoons as Tee for Two, Mouse Trouble Solid Serenade and The Yankee Doodle Mouse (Ironically, Jerry's Diary would itself be excerpted in the 1966 "cheater" Matinee Mouse). ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Johann Mouse
Realizing that Jerry cannot resist the call of music, Tom learns to play the piano in order to draw the little mouse out of his hole in this Academy Award-winning cartoon from William Hannah and Joseph Barbera. When the members of the household recognize their common housecat's musical talent, however, the hungry feline and his pint-sized nemesis hit the road and become famous musicians. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

Tee for Two
It's hardly a relaxing occasion when Tom goes golfing, leaving a trail of divots and broken clubs in his wake. Finally he manages to make a hole in about 101--a hole that unfortunately is occupied by Jerry, who doesn't cotton to having a golf ball dropped on his head. After a wild chase on the links, Jerry is captured by Tom and pressed into service as a living "tee". Tom comes to regret this bit of improvisational when Jerry finally formulates a suitably painful revenge. Tee for Twois wilder and wackier than most "Tom and Jerry" cartoons of the period, with several gags evocative of William Hanna and Joseph Barbera's MGM colleague Tex Avery--and there's even an echo of Walter Lantz in the form of a hostile woodpecker. (Note to completists: one "blackface" gag has been carefully edited out of the reissue prints). ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Mouse in Manhattan
In this modernization of the Aesop fable "The Country Mouse and the City Mouse", Jerry prepares to leave his rural home, leaving a note behind for Tom: "This country life is letting me down...I'm off for Broadway and the Bright Lights." Hopping a freight to Grand Central Station, Jerry is at first enthralled by the glamour of big-city life (not to mention the beautiful long-legged girls)--but before long he is worn to a frazzle by the heavy downtown traffic. Escaping to a high-rise builing, Jerry sneaks into the swanky Starlite Room, where he dances with a doll-like table decoration. Alas, this pleasant interlude leads to an explosive encounter with a champagne bottle, and ultimately a run-in with a whole batallion of tough Broadway alley cats. Dominating the musical score are the familiar strains of--what else?--"Manhattan Serenade". ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Salt Water Tabby
Donning an old-fashioned bathing suit, Tom heads to the beach for a refreshing swim. Such obstacles as low tide and litter keep him from doing so, but Tom does find time to romance a sexy female cat (in a bikini, no less). While Tom is thus diverted, Jerry voraciously loots the girl's picnic basket. Ultimately, Tom gives chase, and the "beach" gags come thick and fast, including a lengthy battle with a hostile green crab, and various confrontations with a balky umbrella, a sabotaged sandwich, a super-effervescent bottle of soda pop and a rampaging blow-up toy. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Zoot Cat
A real 1940s time capsule, this is the first "Tom & Jerry" cartoon in which Tom speaks--but not, contrary to popular belief, the last. At one point, Tom uses a thick Charles Boyer French accent ("Ah, you set my soul on fire") as he romances a sleek girl cat known as "Toots." Tom's earlier, hokier efforts to woo Toots had come to naught when she called him a "cornhusker", so he has decided to hep up his image with a home-made zoot suit and a smooth line of patter. Toots is enthralled by the "new" Tom, and the two cool cats jitterbug the day away. Having been offered to Toots as an engagement present, Jerry does everything he can to sabotage Tom's love life--and, incidentally, to get in some dancing himself. Well, all reet! Solid, Jackson! ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Mice Follies
First flooding the kitchen, then using refrigerator coils to freeze the water, Jerry creates a perfect ice-skating rink for himself and his diapered nephew Tuffy. Using gelatin molds to create colorful light patterns, the two mice merrily skate the night away to the tune of the "Sleeping Beauty Waltz". Unfortunately, Tom shows up to spoil the fun, donning a pair of skates and giving chase. But just as he always does on dry, solid ground, Jerry ends up gaining the upper hand--or is it the upper foot? This is one of the last "Tom & Jerry" cartoons to be released "flat"; most subsequent efforts were filmed in CinemaScope. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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