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Director: Jiří Brdečka
Release Date: 1963
Rating: ★★★½

Spatne namalovana slepice (Gallina vogelbirdae) © Jiří BrdečkaIn ‘Spatne namalovana slepice (which translates as ‘Badly Drawn Hens’)’ we watch three kids in a school class: a dreamy boy, a little girl who sits next to him, and a nerdy boy with glasses.

When the teacher orders the class to reproduce an intricate drawing of a chicken, the bespectacled boy reproduces the poster with photographic accuracy. The dreamy boy, however, makes a semi-abstract interpretation of the subject and the teacher reprimands the little boy. But then, at night, his colorful drawing comes to life…

This film is a clear ode to fantasy and celebrates the breaking of rules. This is a subject that’s often encountered in European animation films from the 1950s and 1960s, and which would have special appeal in the Eastern Bloc, with its repressive communist regimes.

Brdečka uses an idiosyncratic angular style, clearly influenced by the cartoon modern movement of the 1950s, but especially akin to contemporary developments at Zagreb film in Yugoslavia. His film uses vocal sounds, but no dialogue, and relies mostly on visual gags. However, there’s one great scene in which a famed ornithologist called Dr. Vogelbird repeatedly listens to a tape recorder saying his own name.

In the end, the film is a little too inconsistent and too wandering to become a classic, but its sympathetic story and charming drawing style make the short a nice watch.

Watch ‘Spatne namalovana slepice’ yourself and tell me what you think:

‘Spatne namalovana slepice’ is released on the DVD-box ‘Annecy – Le coffret du 50e Anniversaire’

Director: Chuck Jones
Release Date: July 27, 1963
Stars: Tom & Jerry
Rating: ★★★
Review:

Penthouse Mouse © MGM‘Penthouse Mouse’ was the first cartoon in a series of 34 Tom & Jerry cartoons produced by Chuck Jones, after he was fired by Warner Brothers.

Jones had taken all his staff with him, including writer Michael Maltese and co-director Maurice Noble. Even Warner Bros. voice Mel Blanc contributes to the film. The result is typical Chuck Jones: highly stylized backgrounds, excellent animation, and great facial expressions and poses. All this makes a great improvement on the Gene Deitch films.

Oddly enough ‘Penthouse Mouse’ borrows its theme precisely from one of Jones’ predecessor’s films: the Gene Deitch’s Tom & Jerry short ‘Buddies Thicker than Water‘ (1962). But now the story is reversed: Tom has made it on the top floor of a skyscraper, while Jerry is the hungry tramp, roaming the streets. Unfortunately, the story is not very consistent, and the result is not really good. Jones could do better as he was going to show in his next Tom & Jerry cartoon, ‘The Cat Above, The Mouse Below‘.

Watch ‘Penthouse Mouse’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 128
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Carmen Get It
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: The Cat Above, The Mouse Below

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