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With: n/a
Written by: n/a
Directed by: William Hanna, Joseph Barbera
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 240
Date: 03/18/2013
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Tom and Jerry Spotlight Collection - Vol. 3 (2007)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Cat and Mouse

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

William Hanna and Joseph Barbera will forever be known for their ultra-cheap, ultra-fast cartoon stable that cranked out hundreds of TV shows like "Scooby-Doo" and "The Flintstones" without any fuss or muss. But before they set up their own shop, they worked for MGM with all the resources money could buy, making slick, detailed "Tom and Jerry" cartoons. Unfortunately, Hanna and Barbera didn't have the sheer innovative talent of fellow MGM animator Tex Avery, or Chuck Jones over at Warner Brothers. Like Jones' "Road Runner," this cat and mouse fought regularly on a pure visual basis, (mostly) without the aid of dialogue. But their attacks were more run-of-the-mill than Jones' bizarre inventions. Hanna and Barbera did make a few well-regarded cartoons, notably their single masterpiece, The Cat Concerto (1947), but none of those appear on this new, two-disc set containing 35 cartoons. (One, Hatch Up Your Troubles, from 1949, was an Oscar nominee.) The highlight here is 15 cartoons produced in CinemaScope, although in the early days, the studio simply re-made old cartoons using the same cells with new, wider backgrounds. After that, the work grew more rudimentary and less nuanced. Extras on the new set include a history of Tom and Jerry as well as a new cartoon directed by Joseph Barbera, his first in decades, and his last before he died in December of 2006. (Note: Some of these cartoons contain vaguely racist jokes and are advertised as "intended for adults.")

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