Case Number 18471: Small Claims Court

TOM AND JERRY'S GREATEST CHASES: VOLUME 4

Warner Bros. // 1945 // 98 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Victor Valdivia (Retired) // March 8th, 2010

The Charge

14 of Tom and Jerry's greatest cartoons -- over 1 hour of fun!

The Case

Tom and Jerry's Greatest Chases: Volume 4 is not quite the greatest cartoons in Tom and Jerry's history. There are some clinkers here and there. Still, for the most part, these are some of the funniest and most enjoyable cartoons in the Tom & Jerry series.

Here are the fourteen cartoons collected on this disc:

* "The Mouse Comes to Dinner"
* "Springtime for Thomas"
* "Trap Happy"
* "Polka-Dot Puss"
* "Saturday Evening Puss"
* "Little Quacker"
* "Cruise Cat"
* "The Missing Mouse"
* "Jerry and Jumbo"
* "Just Ducky"
* "Little School Mouse"
* "Tom and Chérie"
* "Muscle Beach Tom"
* "Down Beat Bear"

These are taken from the classic 1940s and '50s cartoons directed by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, the duo who created Tom and Jerry and directed their most classic shorts. This contains some of their best work. "The Mouse Comes to Dinner," "Saturday Evening Puss," "Little School Mouse," and "Tom and Chérie" rank amongst the funniest and sharpest cartoons Hanna and Barbera ever directed. Each one is full of lightning-fast pacing, clever gags, and vivid animation that marks them as classic Tom and Jerry shorts. Each one, in addition to being laugh-out-loud funny, has some additional element that makes it unique. In "Saturday Evening Puss," Tom invites his all-cat jazz combo over after his mistress steps out for a party; the animation of the cats each playing a different musical instrument that matches the rollicking soundtrack music is flawlessly timed and drawn. Both "Little School Mouse" and "Tom and Chérie" include the character of Tuffy, Jerry's little gray cousin who wears a diaper, and while the presence of such a character could have been cloying, Hanna and Barbera actually use him to deconstruct the formula of the Tom and Jerry shorts by having him question Jerry repeatedly.

Not all the cartoons are as good. "Little Quacker" and "Just Ducky" are virtual rewrites of each other. Both involve a baby duck that Tom is trying to eat as Jerry rescues him and neither one is really that funny. "Springtime for Thomas" is also one of Hanna and Barbera's lesser efforts; on occasion, the duo could get more violent than funny and the tortures that Jerry puts Tom through here aren't as inventive or amusing as on other cartoons. Still, these are the weakest shorts on this set, and the remaining cartoons each have some funny gag or great piece of animation that makes them enjoyable, even if they aren't necessarily classics.

Technically, the set is decent. Some cartoons suffer from scratches and dirt, but for the most part, they look and sound acceptable. However, in a singular misstep, Warner Bros. has not really handled the last three shorts in the set so well. Though these were filmed in 2.35:1 widescreen, unlike the others which were shot in 1.33:1, they are not anamorphic. Since these are three of the better shorts in the set, this is a disappointing way to treat viewers with widescreen TVs. There are no extras.

Nonetheless, this is still an enjoyable collection. It includes some of Tom and Jerry's best cartoons and some others that are at least worth seeing. All of these cartoons were previously released as part of Tom and Jerry: The Spotlight Collection (Volume 2), but if you're a beginner to Tom and Jerry's oeuvre, this makes a fine single-disc alternative.

The Verdict

Not guilty.

Review content copyright © 2010 Victor Valdivia; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 85

Perp Profile
Studio: Warner Bros.
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (Spanish)

Subtitles:
* English
* French
* Portuguese
* Spanish

Running Time: 98 Minutes
Release Year: 1945
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* None

Accomplices
* IMDb
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0274294/combined