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Tom and Jerry: The Chuck Jones Collection
Tom and Jerry The Chuck Jones Collection
Genres: Kids & Family, Animation
UR     2009     3hr 36min

Studio: Warner Home Video Release Date: 06/23/2009 Run time: 216 minutes Rating: Nr

     
5

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Movie Details

Creator: Chuck Jones
Genres: Kids & Family, Animation
Sub-Genres: Animation, 7-9 Years, Animation
Studio: Warner Home Video
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen,Widescreen - Animated
DVD Release Date: 06/23/2009
Original Release Date: 01/01/2009
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2009
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 3hr 36min
Screens: Color,Full Screen,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 11
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

More MGM cartoons come to DVD with extra features
calvinnme | 02/28/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"All 34 of the Chuck Jones Tom and Jerry Shorts are included along with two new documentaries. This really doesn't represent the peak of Tom and Jerry cartoons. This is not the era in which the cartoons were winning Academy Awards. Those cartoons are included in Tom and Jerry: Spotlight Collection, Vol. 1-3. Do be aware that there was considerable controversy over these Spotlight Collections in which cartoons were edited in the first two volumes and two cartoons were not even released in the third. Here is a list of the cartoons to be included:

Penthouse Mouse (1963)
The Cat Above and The Mouse Below (1964)
Is There a Doctor in the Mouse (1964)
Much Ado About Mousing (1964)
Snowbody Loves Me (1964)
The Unshrinkable Jerry Mouse (1964)
Ah, Sweet Mouse-story of Life (1965)
Tom-ic Energy (1965)
Bad Day at Cat Rock (1965)
The Brothers Carry-Mouse Off (1965)
Haunted Mouse (1965)
I'm Just Wild About Jerry (1965)
Of Feline Bondage (1965)
The Year of the Mouse (1965)
The Cat's Me-ouch (1965)
Duel Personality (1966)
Jerry, Jerry, Quite Contrary (1966)
Jerry-Go-Round (1966)
Love Me, Love My Mouse (1966)
Puss 'n' Boats (1966)
Filet Meow (1966)
Matinee Mouse (1966)
The A-Tom-inable Snowman (1966)
Catty Cornered (1966)
Cat and Dupli-cat (1966)
O-Solar Meow (1966)
Guided Mouse-ille (1966)
Rock 'n' Rodent (1967)
Cannery Rodent (1967)
The Mouse from H.U.N.G.E.R. (1967)
Surf-Bored Cat (1967)
Shutter Bugged Cat (1967)
Advance and Be Mechanized (1967)
Purr-Chance to Dream (1967)
BONUS FEATURES:

New Documentaries:
Tom and Jerry...and Chuck
Chuck Jones: Memories of a Childhood"
A Vastly Underrated Treat!
Joseph Torcivia | Westbury, NY USA | 07/04/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Tom and Jerry: The Chuck Jones Collection

(Released June 23, 2009 by Warner Home Video)
Another Long DVD Review by Joe Torcivia

It must have been one heck of a surprise for the theatrical audiences of late 1963 to see the familiar MGM Roaring Lion signal the beginning of the upcoming cartoon - and have the head of TOM fade into its place and go "MEOW! MEOW! FST! FST!". ...I know it was for me when I first saw it on television!

But, with this revamped opening, famed animation director Chuck Jones began putting his stamp on Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera's cat and mouse team of TOM AND JERRY.

Chuck's unique vision and design sense would guide Bill and Joe's creations for little more than three years and 34 cartoons, and it is those cartoons that make up Warner Home Video's release Tom and Jerry: The Chuck Jones Collection.

We'll break the review into CONS and PROS.

The CONS:

Content Notes: Once again a WHV set has NO CONTENT LISTING anywhere inside the package! One disc is on a "hinged holder" and the other disc rests on the inside back wall of the packaging! But, beyond that, there is no list of titles for the cartoons and, while they follow the order of original theatrical release, this isn't something that even most hardcore animation fans have committed to memory, much less mere civilians. Ditto on listings for the extra features.

This is at least the THIRD Warner Animation set I've purchased this year with no content notes! The others being Max Fleischer's Superman and Saturday Morning Cartoons 1960s Volume 1. Doubtless, there are others indicating an unfortunate trend in Warner's DVD packaging for animation sets.

Talent: It's not Bill Hanna, Joe Barbera, and original composer Scott Bradley. Let everything that follows in this review lie within the context that these three talented individuals are who put Tom and Jerry on the pop culture map to stay!

The Set Itself: A minor "con", but the fact that it IS "The Chuck Jones Collection", coming on the heels of three volumes of the original Hanna-Barbera shorts, means that there will probably be no DVD release of the 13 Gene Deitch T&J shorts of 1960-1962.

I was actually hoping for a "Tom and Jerry in the Sixties" set that would encompass the runs of both Deitch AND Jones... but, clearly, Jones is the more marketable name and he gets the call - and we may never be treated to the "otherworldly wonders" of Mr. Deitch.

The PROS:

Talent: It's Chuck Jones - and, by this time in the 1960s, there were few, if any, talents to truly rival Jones - and he's brought a few old friends with him...

Writer Michael Maltese, co-director and designer Maurice Noble, voice actors Mel Blanc and June Foray (...with Blanc doing the "yelling in pain" as Tom. I guess they couldn't use Bill Hanna's classic "AAAAAAHHH!" anymore!), and composer Eugene Poddany.

Put them all together and they made 34 entertaining cartoons that looked better than the any of the competing product of the day.

Style: During this period, Tom and Jerry were "Jones-ified". There's probably no better way to put it. Jerry became "cuter" than ever before, and Tom took on the "villainous" physical characteristics of Jones' Daffy Duck and especially Wyle E. Coyote. The animation was lush for the time, and Jones' trademark character posing abounds.

The Extra Features: "Tom and Jerry and Chuck" is a 20 minute feature on the coming together of this unlikely trio, and is narrated by June Foray. Many parallels are drawn to Jones' prior Warner Bros. work - in both characters and plots of specific cartoons. It is also shown where Jones put his own spin on T&J plots previously produced by Hanna and Barbera. The feature is punctuated by frequent clips of Chuck Jones, in his later years, speaking on the subject.

In its 25 minutes, "Chuck Jones: Memories of a Childhood" covers what is found in the first three chapters of Mr. Jones' 1989 book, "Chuck Amuck", in his own words and pictures. This 2008 documentary featurette was produced for Turner Classic Movies and, while very informative, does not mention Tom and Jerry at any time. Give it points if you're a Jones fan. Take away points if you're a Tom and Jerry fan. You decide!

Print Quality: To my eyes, and on my equipment, the prints are nearly flawless for average age 45-year-old cartoons. Far better than the print quality on the aforementioned Max Fleischer's Superman and Saturday Morning Cartoons 1960s Volume 1.

Menus: For reasons unknown, Warner's DVD animation set main menus often have unusually LOUD background music or "series themes" that play while the menu is displayed. So loud that I'll either MUTE while lingering on the menu - or navigate off the menu as quickly as possible. Tom and Jerry: The Chuck Jones Collection is an exception to this, as an "appropriately sixties" piece of cartoon theme-style music (the opening credits theme for "Jerry, Jerry, Quite Contrary" by Dean Elliot) plays at an equally appropriate sound level. THIS SHOULDN'T EVEN NEED TO BE LISTED AS A "PRO", but the loudness issue is so prevalent on Warner animation set main menus that such a welcome change should be noted.

The Cartoons: (Categorized as GRADE "A", GRADE "F" and everything else falls somewhere in between!)

GRADE "A":

"Pent-House Mouse"

"The Cat Above, The Mouse Below (Tied for Best!)

"Snowbody Loves Me

"Bad Day at Cat Rock

"Of Feline Bondage"

"Duel Personality" (Tied for Best!)

"Jerry, Jerry, Quite Contrary"

"Filet Meow"

"Cat And Dupli-Cat"

"The Mouse From H.U.N.G.E.R."

"Surf-Bored Cat"

All other shorts fall somewhere below "A" and above "F", including...

A SPECIAL ODD-HONORABLE MENTION: "O-Solar-Meow", "Guided Mouse-ille" and "Advance And Be Mechanized". Chuck Jones was the master of the "Duck Season / Rabbit Season Trilogy". These cartoons make up his "Robot Cat / Robot Mouse Trilogy"! Not great, but not terrible either.

GRADE "F":

"Matinee Mouse" and "Shutter Bugged Cat" For their jarring use of old Hanna-Barbera stock footage - and for using it without Scott Bradley's music! A double demerit!

The cartoons more than average out to a "PRO"! And so does the DVD set as a whole.

In the final analysis TOM AND JERRY, under the stewardship of Charles M. ("Chuck") Jones, was great and unusually innovative at its beginning - but, unfortunately, began to peter-out as Jones stepped further and further away from it.

The best entries were where Jones, Michael Maltese, Maurice Noble and Eugene Poddany came together as a fine creative force, experimenting all the way - and the lesser entries occurred when they did not. Though writer Bob Ogle contributed some worthy exceptions to this rule throughout the run.

As a DVD collection, the cartoons in this set are well worth multiple viewings and will provide many hours of enjoyment. (I watched "Surf-Bored Cat" four times in one day!)

Even the lesser efforts were among the best (...if not ACTUALLY the best) theatrical animated shorts of their time. Keeping it in THAT perspective, I recommend this set to anyone with an interest in Chuck Jones, Tom and Jerry, and the animated shorts of the sixties. If you enjoy some good old (stylized) fun in your cartoons, this is for you!"
Not "classic" Tom and Jerry, but well worth a look-in
Hans Christian Brando | Los Angeles | 05/19/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"By "not the classic Tom and Jerry" cartoons of the 1940s and 50, it's safe to say that this collection is not characterized by the impeccably rendered--or nauseatingly realistic--welts and bruises suffered by the famous cat-and-mouse duo in largely violence-themed storylines. These shorts were the most lavish, most fully animated theatrical cartoons of the 1960s. It is curious, however, that with the large budgets and Chuck Jones' genius on tap, these cartoons are not better. (Jones himself likened his version of Tom and Jerry to his Road Runner series, which really does not do them justice. Tom is less self-destructive than Wile E. Coyote, and Jerry less smugly complacent. There is also more subtle psychodrama at work here--or less subtle, as in the case of "Jerry, Jerry Quite Contrary.") Presumably, there was only so much you could do with a nonspeaking cat chasing a nonspeaking mouse--voice veterans Mel Blanc and June Foray were on hand to supply whatever grunts, groans, and giggles were required--after 20 years and seven Oscars. But it's rather incredible what Jones and his crew (most of whom were part of his Warner Bros. team) did find to do with the characters.

If you love "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," you'll enjoy the artistic similarities: Tom, when angered, often resembles the Grinch, while some of Jerry's facial expressions call to mind Max or Cindy Lou-Who. (Two of the later cartoons, however, are "cheaters," compilations of scenes from the "classic" Tom and Jerry era, with new footage animated by the original animators trying to match the earlier design.) Altogether a flawed but fascinating effort, and a welcome addition to any animation collection.

Personal favorite: "Snowbody Loves Me.""
Which is correct presentation: Widescreen or Fullscreen?
Paul J. Mular | San Carlos, CA USA | 07/10/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Even Chuck Jones admits that he can not fully fill the shoes of the characters creators, but he can put his own spin on them. The trouble is that Chuck quickly became bored with the project & left his crew to complete the contract.

The question here is which screen format is the correct way to view these films? For over 40 years I have only seen these cartoons in the full frame format. All 16mm film prints, TV broadcasts, Videotapes & Laserdiscs have presented these cartoons in 1:33-1 Full Frame aspect ratio. Now we are getting DVDs formatted for the 16x9 widescreen TV sets. So I pulled out my old Laserdiscs to compare the images.

Comparing the 16x9 widescreen image to the old 1;33-1 full frame image.
SHARPNESS: This new transfer is far more sharper than the old Laserdisc & Videotapes.
COLOR: This new transfer has brighter, purer colors than the old Laserdisc & Videotapes.
SIDE FRAMING: Both the left & right sides of the new transfer contain more picture than the older Laserdisc & Videotapes.
TOP FRAMING: This new transfer CROPS OFF a significant portion of the picture. Mostly not a problem, but I caught one shot of Jerry looking down at his belly & his eyes were cut off on the 16x9 presentation, they are there on the 1:33-1 full frame presentation.
BOTTOM FRAMING: This new transfer crops a little off of the bottom, but this is insignificant.

So the best presentation would have been a window-boxed 1:66-1 framing to give us the full animated picture. It is too bad that the old Laserdiscs did not do this as they were not worried about filling the screen of 16x9 widescreen TVs.

Either format cuts off some picture, so i would say that if you have a 16x9 widescreen TV, you will prefer this 16x9 top-cropped transfer. If you have an older square screen TV you will prefer the old 1;33-1 side cropped transfer. Chuck seemed to design these for television broadcast, so the 16x9 image can look tight at times.

It is questionable as to how these were shown at the theaters. The theaters in my home town area were old & had square screens until the late 1960's. So I probably saw these on a 1:66-1 screen as a kid, not 16x9 as presented here."