Tom and Jerry - Spotlight Collection, Volume 2
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Tom and Jerry Spotlight Collection: Vol. 2 (DVD)
Trends come and go; but the chase is eternal, just like the evergreen appeal of animaton's supreme cat-and- mouse team! This second Spotlight Collection of Tom and Jerry's cartoon capers boasts 40 restored and remastered shorts (including their screen debut Puss Gets the Boot, in which Tom was called Japser). This delicious assortment covers their golden years - including three Academy Award nominees* and six in their rarely seen widescreen CinemaScope - and includes spiffy, character-profiling Special Features. Get ready to duck, weave, jump and laugh and the hapless feline and the wily rodent take each other on.]]>
The second Spotlight Collection features both the first "Tom and Jerry" short and some of the last films in the series. In 1940, the cartoon unit of MGM was under pressure to produce more, so story man Bill Hanna and animator Joe Barbera were allowed to direct a cartoon. "Puss Gets the Boot" received an Oscar nomination, and introduced the duo that would become Tom and Jerry. (Tom was originally "Jasper.") The series ran for 15 years and won seven Oscars. Many of the cartoons follow the pattern set in "Puss Gets the Boot": Mammy Two-Shoes (Lilian Randolph) warns Tom that if he makes a mess or lets in any mice, he's out on his ear ("O-W-T, out!"). Jerry overhears the threat and makes trouble. The look of the characters changed more noticeably over the years than the storylines: their rounded designs didn't really suit the widescreen format, so they were drawn flatter and more angular.
It's interesting to see how some of these cartoons prefigure the later work of Hanna and Barbera: the underwater antics in "The Cat and the Mermouse" anticipate Tom and Jerry's frolic with Esther Williams in Dangerous When Wet (1953); Yakky Doodle on The Yogi Bear Show (1961) was copied from Little Quacker. In several cartoons, Mammy Two-Shoes' voice has been redubbed, and the subtitles offer cleaned-up versions of her dialogue. In "Old Rockin' Chair Tom," she declares, "If you is a mouser, I is Lana Turner, which I ain't!" The subtitles read, "If you're a mouser I'm Lana Turner, which I'm not." Whoopi Goldberg discusses the use of stereotypes in the introduction, and these later reworkings falsify history. (Unrated, suitable for ages 7 and older: cartoon violence, ethnic stereotypes) --Charles Solomon
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After a huge cry from the collector community at large, WH went back and re-released the volume- sans the aforementioned edits- back to their original theatrical versions. The affected shorts were "The Lonesome Mouse", "Polka-Dot Puss", "Saturday Evening Puss", and "Nit-Witty Kitty"-- all changed in the 60's to remove the original voice talent of Lillian Randolph (aka "Mammy Two Shoes") and replace it with Chuck Jones' comrade June Foray, purely in a effort to tone down some of the racial stereotypes rampant throughout most of those originally-released shorts.
"Lonesome Mouse", et al, are brought back to their non-PC hilarity in these corrected discs, although there are legitimate complaints of visual quality issues once these shorts were re-pressed within the other shorts on the discs not affected with edit problems. But to me, it was all worth the wait.
(As a last note: BEWARE!! I want to make sure that those who want to get the re-released, unedited version of Vol. 2, actually get their hands on the RIGHT one! On the cover face of the 'corrected' version, Tom's head is towards the bottom left of the cover, as he tries to swipe at Jerry; on most (if not, ALL) of the edited versions sold both on-line and in some dusty store bins, Tom's head is towards the top right of the cover face as Jerry escapes with a piece of cheese. Hope that helps!)
Quality wise the collection is pretty good even though for some reason they put some of the same cartoons that were on the first volume. They were at any rate they were restored with great care the colors were rich just as I would expect any Technicolor production to look and all of the sound was clean and was void of lots of static from the recordings.
Now I get to the part that kind of bugs me. I for one can't really stand Whoopi Goldberg but thats beside the point that the little introduction about racial stereotyping IMHO was completely inappropriate and extremely tacky. We all know that racial jokes were very popular in the fifties and sixties and we know that they are offensive if told today. We get that and don't need someone to tell us that. Thanks but no thanks.
Overall I'd say that if you are into collecting old cartoons such as this its a good purchase. However, if you are just looking for something to entertain the kids you might steer clear its kind of expensive for something that isn't totally appropriate for children.