Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Cartoon a Day: Muscle Beach Tom

Muscle Beach Tom
Directed by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera
Available on: Tom and Jerry Spotlight Collection Vol. 2

Welcome to the miracle of Cinemascope! You don't run across many widescreen cartoon shorts, but this is one of them. It's a short I saw hundreds of times on TV as a child, but I never realized that was a pan and scan version.

In this short, Jerry is enjoying a day at the beach when Tom, who is trying to impress a young lady cat, interrupts. Jerry does seek his revenge but ends up being a spectator for most of the film as another cat tries to make the moves on Tom's girl and the two end up doing a fine job of beating each other up with little help from the mouse.

This film really makes great use of the widescreen format and it's wonderful to see the beautiful art work in widescreen. This one is not as over-the-top violent as many Tom and Jerry films, but does display some great pacing from Hanna and Barbera. It moves very smoothly from gag to gag and shows just how well they knew these characters. We associate Hanna Barbera with so many other TV characters now, but back at this time they worked Tom and Jerry exclusively and their expertise with the cat and mouse shows in this short.

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