Monday, September 14, 2009

Cartoon a Day: Mouse in Manhattan

Mouse in Manhatan
Directed by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera
Available on: Tom and Jerry Spotlight Collection Vol. 2

"Mouse in Manhattan" is not your typical Tom and Jerry film. First of all, Tom pretty much just makes a cameo. This one is all about Jerry. He decides he's had enough of country life and decides to head off to the big city. Now you'd think some city alley cat just fills in for Tom for the rest of the picture. While some cats do come in to play briefly, this is not a chase film. This film is mainly about the city as seen through Jerry's eyes.

This scenario leads to some absolutely beautiful background art. Several New York City landmarks are portrayed in some very rich and detailed paintings. There are plenty of good gags, but most of the fun of this cartoon just comes in watching Jerry taking the city in.

It's interesting to note some of the differences in Jerry's appearance in this short. Tom and Jerry have gone through many design changes over the years. In this film, Jerry's nose seems to be a bit more round and bulbous and his whiskers seem longer. He also wears a somewhat dumb expression much of the time, which is not your typical Jerry look.

I'm not sure if this film still runs on TV or not. There are a few moments that would keep it off the Cartoon Network rotation, including a blackface gag and one bizarre moment when it could be interpreted that Jerry is looking up the skirts of some of the ladies of New York. Still this is a great cartoon. Oh and I almost forgot to mention the wonderful music! It is obviously inspired by Gershwin (perfect for the New York setting) and compliments the on screen action beat per beat.

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