Tom and Jerry: Spotlight Collection, Vol. 1 [2 Discs] [DVD]

  • SKU: 6812988
  • Release Date: 10/19/2004
  • Rating: NR
  • 5.0 (3)
The first of two volumes of MGM'sTom & Jerry cartoons from the early 1940's thru the mid-1950's, this double-DVD set -- which is simply titled "The Spotlight Collection" with no volume number attached, but was followed by a second volume labeled as such -- has just about everything that the casual fan might want in the way of the cartoon duo's antics. The film-to-video transfers are excellent, displaying a clarity that makes the opening credits on even the earliest titles seem almost like they're in 3-D. Most of these cartoons look extraordinary, in the depth and richness of their color and their detail, whether they're the 1940's and early '50's "academy ratio" (i.e. full-screen, 1.33-to-1) releases or the mid-1950's CinemaScope (2.55-to-1, 2.35-to-1) widescreen cartoons. And if the visual treats aren't enough, there's a ton of special features tacked on that, for once, are almost as entertaining as the cartoons themselves. This includes some very engaging commentary tracks by writer/historian Jerry Beck on three of the best cartoons -- ones that define the different aspect of the appeal of Tom & Jerry -- plus a well-detailed (and very entertaining) documentary on how Tom & Jerry-creators William Hanna and Joseph Barbera came to MGM and also came to be working together, and how various highlights of the animated shorts came about. That same documentary gets us into a highly illuminating story of the evolution and presentation of the first Tom & Jerry cartoon to win an Academy Award, "Cat Concerto", and some unexpected competition that came from Warner Bros. in that same year. There's also a documentary tribute to the MGM Studio Orchestra and its role in the Tom & Jerry cartoons, and the work of music director Scott Bradley (he wasn't quite Warner Bros.' Carl Stalling, but he had his own impressive and distinctive creative flourishes); and we get clips from MGM feature films of Jerry the Mouse dancing with Gene Kelly and Tom and Jerry dancing with Esther Williams. Each disc opens automatically to a simple, easy-to-use menu that offers quick access to the special features -- which are spread among the two discs -- and the full range of cartoons, in addition to having a "play all" feature. And it's all great fun as well as being highly informative.
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Ratings & Reviews

Overall Customer Rating:
100% of customers would recommend this product to a friend (3 out of 3)

Special Features

  • Two all-new documentaries: "How Bill and Joe Met Tom and Jerry," and "Behind the Tunes: The MGM Orchestra"
  • Commentary on three key cartoons by animation historian Jerry Beck
  • Anchors Aweigh dance sequence with Jerry and Gene Kelly
  • Dangerous When Wet swimming sequence with Esther Williams
  • Subtitles: English, Français, and Español


Tom and Jerry in the Hollywood Bowl
Touché Pussy Cat
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

The Invisible Mouse
Once again, Tom is chasing Jerry all through the house, with Jerry using such weaponry as clocks, plates, steam irons and fireplace bellows to protect himself. Finally, Jerry takes refuge in a bottle bearing the label "invisible ink". Upon emerging from his hiding place, Jerry discovers that he has indeed been rendered invisible, and uses this advantage to grab a quick lunch--and, incidentally, turn the tables on Tom. At a loss to explain how inaminate objects can spring to life and cause him great pain, Tom is convinced that he has lost his mind...until the unseen Jerry somehow casts his shadow on the wall. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Jerry's Cousin
The title character in this Oscar-nominated cartoon is a tough, derby-hatted mouse named Muscles. After beating up all the cats in Hogan's Alley, Muscles receives an urgent message from cousin Jerry, who tells him of the "serious trouble" he's having with his feline nemesis Tom. Wasting no time giving Tom a going over, the Bogart-voiced Muscles warns the cat to lay off Jerry. Rather than heed this warning, Tom takes a crash course in bodybuilding--but still Muscles is able to clean his clock. In desperation, Tom calls in reinforcements, namely a trio of nasty-looking cats from Dirty Work Incorporated. But Jerry's cousin isn't called "Muscles" for nothing...and that's not the half of it! ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Pecos Pest
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

Two Mouseketeers
The Truce Hurts
Baby Butch
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

Two Little Indians
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

Designs on Jerry
Flirty Birdy
Using cheese as bait, Tom lures Jerry into a trap--or more specifically, a sandwich. But the "mouseburger" is promptly stolen by a passing hawk, leading to a battle royal between the cagey cat and the larcenous bird. First Tom gets the upper hand, then the hawk, while Jerry manages to subject both of his pursuers to all manner of comic mayhem. Things take a kinky turn when, in an effort to distract the hawk, Tom dresses up as a sexy female bird (in a sarong, no less). Now hungry for a LOT more than mere food, the amorous hawk ardently pursues the cross-dressing Tom, a chase that ends only when the couple literally "ties the knot." The wall-to-wall musical score includes snatches of "St. Louis Blues", "My Blue Heaven"and the familiar MGM cartoon leitmotif "You're a Sweetheart". ~ 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

Sufferin' Cats!
Sick of playing "fish" to Tom's "fisherman", Jerry rebels and rushes out of the house, where he collides with a raffish alley cat named Meathead. Before long a battle is raging between the two rival cats over possession of Jerry, with the crafty mouse spending the bulk of the cartoon playing Tom against Meathead and vice versa. After heaping a great deal of abuse on each other, the feline duo decides to share Jerry by splitting the mouse down the middle, King Solomon style. This spirit of "share and share alike" evaporates when the devilish half of Tom's conscience encourages him to double-cross Meathead. And so it goes until the end of the film--and when we say The End, we mean The End. ~ 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

The Flying Sorceress
Cat Fishin'
It's a peaceful day in the country, and fish are jumping in a private lagoon guarded by surly bulldog Spike. Despite this canine obstacle and a full complement of "Keep Out" signs, angler Tom is determined to go fishing. Using Jerry as "live bait", Tom casts his line into the water, attracting the attention of a fearsome-looking fish with alligator teeth. Thinking he's made the catch of the lifetime, Tom gets the raw end of the deal (literally). The end of an imperfect day comes when Jerry and Spike join forces to make Tom's miserable life even more so. This cartoon is punctuated by Tom's heartfelt screams of pain--quite a noisy display for a pantomime character. Scott Bradley's musical score includes a lively rendition of "The Trolley Song" from Meet Me in St. Louis (1944). ~ 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

Baby Puss
An obnoxious little girl insists upon treating her pet cat Tom like an itty bitty baby--bonnet, bottle, crib and all. It's all pretty humiliating, but Tom is willing to go along with the gag so long as he gets fed. All this changes when Jerry the mouse launches a campaign of ridicule aimed at Tom, going so far as to encourage a trio of raucous alley cats to join in on the "fun." The cartoon's endless supply of superb sight gags is matched every inch of the way by the musical score, which not only incorporates such familiar tunes as "How About You?", "You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby" "Strolling Through the Park", "Baby Face" and "Mama Yo Quiero", but also the singing talents of The Kings' Men quartet. And how about that cross-dressingCarmen Miranda routine? ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Bodyguard
While being pursued by Tom, Jerry takes time out to rescue Spike the bulldog from the dog catcher. The grateful hound promises eternal friendship and devotion to Jerry: "Any time ya ever needs me, just whistle." Sure enough, the next time Tom shows up to menace Jerry, Spike rushes to the mouse's defense, grabbing the hapless cat and threatening to "pound ya into pieces" if he dares lay a paw on Jerry. The situation is milked for all it's worth and then some, until Tom resorts to desperate measures--namely, a glue-soaked gumball--to keep Jerry from whistling. Scott Bradley's exuberant musical score includes snatches of such tunes as "I'm Sitting on Top of the World" and "Spreadin' Rhythm Around." ~ 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

Quiet Please!
Warned by Spike that he'll be skinned alive if the dreaded bulldog is roused from his beauty rest, a fearful Tom attempts to ensure that the house remains still and silent. When Jerry attempts to undermine Tom's efforts by making as much noise as possible, a scheming Tom attempts to dose Spike with liquefied knock-out drops. Unfortunately, Tom accidentally sets off a bomb while attempting to remove it from underneath Spike -- prompting the irritated bulldog to make good on his dreadful promise. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

Slicked-Up Pup
After giving his son Tyke a bath, Spike the bulldog wraps the pup in a towel and tells him in his Durante-esque voice, "Soak up some o' dat sunshine vitamin, an' I'll be back wit' a coupla chops. That's my boy!" Meanwhile, Tom is as usual chasing Jerry all over the yard. In mid-flight, Tom accidentally pushes Tyke into a mudpile. Angrily ordering Tom to clean up the pup, Spike warns the cat that Tyke had better stay clean--"An' if he ain't, I'll tear ya limb from limb." That's all that Jerry has to hear, and the rest of the cartoon finds Tom frantically trying to prevent Jerry from dirtying up Tyke with ink, paint, crayons, tomatoes, tar and anything else that's handy. Alas, it's all for naught, as Tom discovers in the truly "agitating" finale. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Mouse Trouble
Convinced that he can rid the house of rodents after ordering a book entitled "How to Trap a Mouse," a frustrated Tom finds his efforts to capture Jerry backfiring at every turn. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

Heavenly Puss
In one of the best-ever "Tom and Jerry" cartoons, Tom uses up all of his nine lives at once when, while pursuing Jerry, he manages to crush himself with a piano. Ascending to Heaven by way of a golden escalator, Tom's spirit arrives at the Pearly Gates, where a celestial conductor is checking in other recently deceased felines for their final ride on the Heavenly Express. But when Tom's turn comes, he is stopped cold as the stern conductor reminds him "Your whole life was spent persecuting an innocent little mouse." It looks as though Tom is doomed to the Fiery Depths, where a demonic bulldog awaits him with sadistic glee. But the conductor offers Tom one last chance: If within the next hour he can convince Jerry to sign a "Certificate of Forgiveness," Tom will be permitted entry into Paradise. The rest of the cartoon is a brilliant exercise in frantic frustration, capped by a hilarious--yet somehow touching--fadeout gag. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Flying Cat
Million Dollar Cat
While playing a "William Tell" dart game with helpless Jerry as the target, Tom is interrupted by the arrival of a telegram, revealing that his owner's eccentic Aunt Harriet has willed the cat one million dollars. Tom's excitement over his unexpected windfall is dampene when Jerry points out a condition of the legacy: if Tom brings harm to any living thing, "EVEN A MOUSE", he'll be cut off without a cent. Naturally, Jerry takes full advantage of this situation after Tom moves into a ritzy penthouse apartment at 1 Park Avenue. Doing everything he can to avoid Jerry and thus resist temptation, Tom is foiled by the malevolent mouse, who gets even for years of abuse with weapons ranging from a fancy parfait to a luxurious bed. One of the few "Tom and Jerry" cartoons in which Tom has dialogue, Million Dollar Cat also boasts a lively musical score, with quotes from such popular songs as "Broadway Rhythm"and "Sleepy Time Gal". ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cat Napping
Cueball Cat
One of the most famous and most frequently reissued "Tom and Jerry" cartoons, this one takes place in a deserted billiard parlor, which Tom has invaded for a nocturnal game of pool. Trouble is, one of the pool table's pockets is the home of Jerry, who is slumbering peacefully until a ball rolls over his bed. The cat-and-mouse war is on, as Tom opts to use Jerry as the central "ball" in a hilariously violent game, which includes chalking up the mouse's head and setting the rack on fire. For a time, Jerry is literally behind the eight-ball, but it isn't long before he grabs a cue and gets even with the playful puss. What follows may well be the only pool game on record in which baseball gloves, soft drink bottles and fire hoses are brought into play. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Jerry and the Goldfish
Jerry's best friend is a goldfish--and his worst enemy, as always, is Tom. Listening to a radio cooking show in which the ebullient French chef describes an "exquisite" fish dinner, Tom is inspired to add the goldfish to his menu. But Jerry isn't about to let his pal be transformed into a blue plate special, so he grabs the goldfish and rushes off, with Tom in hot pursuit. Temporarily safe in a glass of water, the fish must somehow be returned to his bowl without Tom's interference. Until this cartoon came around, who would have guessed that there were so many different ways to cook a fish--and so many different ways for Jerry to cook Tom's goose? (And where does Jerry get all those dynamite sticks?) ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Blue Cat Blues
The Milky Waif
Mice Follies
Texas Tom
Smitten Kitten
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

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

Overall Customer Rating

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3 Reviews
100%of customers recommend this product.

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