Here is an excellent package for fans of classic animation: 40 cartoons, of which nine werenominated for Oscars, and seven won. Just about every variation of cat-chasing-mouse variationis provided, including the WWII-themed “Yankee Doodle Mouse” and the musical “The CatConcerto.” There are also the sequences from other films where our heroes dance with GeneKelly (Disc 1) and swim with Esther Williams (Disc 2). Under the guiding hands of WilliamHanna and Joseph Barbera can b… seen the work of such geniuses as Friz Freling, Tex Avery andChuck Jones. You probably won’t want to watch all 40 cartoons straight through (that WOULDbe repetitive), but this is the perfect disc from which to draw a short before you sit down for yourfeature presentation.
The sound is mono, which should be no surprise, given the vintage of these shorts. There hasbeen no remixing, which is generally the right decision. The volume level could be higher,however, and there is often a very noticeable background hiss.
The colours are very strong, as one has come to expect with animation releases. The printquality is a bit variable, however, and the age of the cartoons (they range from 1943 to 1956) isapparent in the form of some grain and dirt, and the odd bit of other damage. None of this is toosevere, or enough to wreck the enjoyment of the cartoons. Most of the shorts on in their originalfullscreen format, but three are in anamorphic widescreen.
On Disc 1, animation historian Jerry Beck provides commentary on “The Zoot Cat,” “KittyFoiled,” and “Heavenly Puss.” He doesn’t always have a heck of a lot to say, lapsing into longpauses or reaching for minor trivia and generalities. There are two documentaries (or longishfeaturettes, depending on your definition). Disc 1 offers “How Bill and Joe Met Tom and Jerry,”which chronicles how the Hanna-Barbera and cat-mouse teams came to be. At 25 minutes, this isthe more substantial of the two docs. Disc 2 has “Behind the Tunes,” which looks at the all-important scores. There are also ads for other animated collections. The menu’s main screen isanimated and scored.
The release may be a little light on the extras, but the sheer number of included cartoons is abig plus: 322 minutes of mayhem.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentaries
- “How Joe and Bill Met Tom and Jerry” Documentary
- “Behind the Tunes” Documentary
- Anchors Aweigh Excerpt
- Dangers When Wet Excerpt