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Director: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Release Date: July 7, 1951
Stars: Tom & Jerry
Rating:
 ★★
Review:

His Mouse Friday © MGMSomehow Tom is shipwrecked. He’s washed ashore a tropical island where he meets a Crusoe-like Jerry, whom he wants to eat.

In what must be the film’s highlight Jerry fools him by pretending to be a cannibalistic native, but in the end both characters have to flee for real cannibals, the first human beings we see in their entirety in a Tom & Jerry film

‘His Mouse Friday’ must be one of the least inspired Tom & Jerry cartoons ever. Not only are the two completely out of place on the tropical island, the comedy feels tired, the humor is offensive, and the designs of our heroes mediocre. Tom’s designs in the opening scene are particularly sloppy. It seems that these designs inspired the Gene Deitch cartoons, because they look remarkably similar, which is no advertisement.

Unfortunately, ‘His Mouse Friday’ is no isolated incident. From mid-1951 on, we see the quality of the series gradually deteriorate: character designs get simpler and sloppier, backgrounds less lush, and stories more routine or uninspired. There were still some great Tom & Jerry cartoons to come, and even two Oscar winners, but one nonetheless gets the impression that by mid-1951 their heyday was over.

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

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 59
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Sleepy Time Tom
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: Slicked-up Pup

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Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Release Date: March 15, 1947
Stars: Tom & Jerry, Mammy Two-Shoes
Rating: ★★★
Review:

Part Time Pal © MGMMammy threatens Tom he goes out if he doesn’t catch ‘that mouse’.

In the chase Tom accidentally gets drunk, which changes him into Jerry’s best pal and rebellious against Mammy. This can’t go well, and in the end we see Mammy chasing a hiccuping Tom in a moonlit landscape.

The animation of the drunken Tom is very well done and a delight to watch. However, somehow, ‘Part Time Pal’ also seems to be the most inspirational cartoon to the Czech studio Gene Deitch led for his Tom and Jerry cartoons (1961-1962), because Tom’s design in this cartoon is remarkably similar to those later, way more poorly animated cartoons.

Watch ‘Part Time Pal’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 28
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Cat Fishin’
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: The Cat Concerto

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

Director: Gene Deitch
Release Date: December 1962
Stars: Tom & Jerry
Rating: ★
Review:

Carmen Get It © MGMTom chases Jerry into an opera house, with remarkably unfunny results, making ‘Carmen Get It’ probably the worst of all concert cartoons.

This is a sad irony, because Tom & Jerry are also responsible for one of the all time best: ‘The Cat Concerto‘ (1947).

‘Carmen get it’ was the last of the Gene Deitch Tom & Jerries, a poor and unfunny series of cartoons, which during their short existence never came even near the quality of the original ones by Hanna and Barbera. Gene Deitch had outlasted its welcome within one year and moved over to produce cartoons for Paramount, directing a.o. Popeye and Krazy Cat cartoons.

Tom & Jerry were already revived once again the next year, by Chuck Jones, whose Tom & Jerry cartoons were to be a great improvement on Gene Deitch’s ones, albeit nowhere near the classic Hanna-Barbera cartoons…

Watch an excerpt from ‘Carmen Get It’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 127
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Buddies Thicker than Water
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: Penthouse Mouse

Director: Gene Deitch
Release Date: November 1962
Stars: Tom & Jerry
Rating: ★★
Review:

Buddies Thicker Than Water © MGMJerry has it made, living in a luxury penthouse on the top of a huge skyscraper. Meanwhile Tom is freezing in the snow.

Tom calls his former foe for help and Jerry is willing to take him in. But Tom double-crosses him and in return Jerry haunts Tom out of the house.

This cartoon has got one of the most straightforward stories of all Gene Deitch’s Tom & Jerry cartoons, which makes it stand out of the series. Unfortunately it’s very low on gags.

Watch ‘Buddies Thicker than Water’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 126
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Sorry Safari
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: Carmen Get It

Director: Gene Deitch
Release Date: October 1962
Stars: Tom & Jerry
Rating: ★
Review:

Sorry Safari © MGMIn ‘Sorry Safari’ we meet the fat man from ‘Down and outing‘ and ‘High Steaks‘ for the last time. In this cartoon he is on a safari in Kenya.

Tom and Jerry perform uninspired antics reminiscent of the former two cartoons. Never sympathetic in the Gene Deitch cartoons, Jerry is particularly nasty in this one. The cartoon’s only highlight is its strangely designed elephant.

Watch ‘Sorry Safari’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 125
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Tall in the Trap
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: Buddies Thicker than Water

Director: Gene Deitch
Release Date: September, 1962
Stars: Tom & Jerry
Rating: ★★½
Review:

Tall In The Trap © MGM‘Tall in the Trap’ is a typical Tom and Jerry chase, brought as a classic western.

Its storyline, like in most of the Gene Deitch Tom & Jerry´s, is very weak, and its gags are mediocre, but its opening credits are marvelous. This cartoon ‘borrows’ Friz Freleng’s classic light and stairs gag.

Watch ‘Tall In The Trap’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 124
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: The Tom and Jerry Cartoon Kit
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: Sorry Safari

Director: Gene Deitch
Release Date: August, 1962
Stars: Tom & Jerry
Rating: ★★★
Review:

The Tom and Jerry Cartoon Kit © MGM‘The Tom and Jerry Cartoon Kit’ is based on an original idea and this makes it arguably the best of the Gene Deitch Tom & Jerry cartoons.

Nevertheless, the initial idea of a ‘Tom and Jerry cartoon kit’ is badly developed and most of the cartoon focuses on Jerry’s judo skills. The cartoon is rescued by some clever gags and by daring (almost absent) backgrounds, creating a fairly surreal atmosphere. This cartoon contains probably the most original gag of all Gene Deitch’s Tom & Jerry’s: the one in which Tom’s thinking process makes his eyebrows knit a sweater.

Watch ‘The Tom and Jerry Cartoon Kit’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 123
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Dicky Moe
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: Tall in the Trap

Director: Gene Deitch
Release Date: July, 1962
Stars: Tom & Jerry
Rating: ★★½
Review:

Dicky Moe © MGMTom is involuntarily drafted on a whaling ship of an Ahab-like character in search of the whale ‘Dicky Moe’. On board Tom encounters Jerry, who makes life at sea extra hard for Tom.

Although ‘Dicky Moe’ could have been a nice take on ‘Moby Dick’ , the cartoon completely fails to deliver its promise. Nevertheless, it’s more interesting than most Gene Deitch Tom & jerry cartoons, because of its nice etch-like backgrounds. Moreover, for once Tom actually resembles his former self from the Hanna-Barbera era.

Watch an excerpt from ‘Dicky Moe’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 122
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Calypso Cat
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: The Tom and Jerry Cartoon Kit

Director: Gene Deitch
Release Date: June, 1962
Stars: Tom & Jerry
Rating: ★★
Review:

Calypso Cat © MGMTom chases Jerry at the harbor. There he falls in love with a kitten and he follows her on a cruise ship to the Caribbean. All the time Jerry tries to break their love. He succeeds in the end, and Tom chases Jerry back into the harbor.

Although Jerry is quite unsympathetic in all Gene Deitch’s Tom & Jerry films, his character is particularly nasty in this one. Unlike a Hanna-Barbera Tom & Jerry like ‘Springtime for Thomas’ (1946), one cannot sympathize with Jerry’s actions, as his reasons remain unclear.

Watch ‘Calypso Cat’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 121
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Landing Stripling
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: Dicky Moe

Director: Gene Deitch
Release Date: April, 1962
Stars: Tom & Jerry
Rating: ★★
Review:

Landing Stripling © MGMIn ‘Landing Stripling’ Jerry helps a small bird against Tom.

‘Landing Stripling’ is reminiscent of some Hanna-Barbera Tom & Jerry cartoons, like ‘Little Quacker’ (1950) or ‘The Flying Cat‘ (1952), but unfortunately it’s too unappealing to stand the comparison. Its few good gags are ruined by bad timing, and the sound effects are particularly annoying in this short.

Watch ‘Landing Stripling’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 120
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Mouse into Space
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: Calypso Cat

Director: Gene Deitch
Release Date: February, 1962
Stars: Tom & Jerry
Rating: ★
Review:

Mouse Into Space © MGMIn ‘Mouse Into Space’, the fifth of the Gene Deitch Tom & Jerry cartoons, Jerry becomes an “astro mouse”, because there are no cats in space.

By a strange accident, Tom ends up in the same rocket. He apparently has no problems with the void in this directionless, rather weird and unfunny cartoon.

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

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 119
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: High Steaks
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: Landing Stripling

Director: Gene Deitch
Release Date: January, 1962
Stars: Tom & Jerry
Rating: ★★
Review:

High Steaks © MGM‘High Steaks’ can be summarized as ‘Down and Outing‘ at a barbecue brawl.

The film reuses the fat man from ‘Down and outing’, and like in the former film, Tom tries to get rid of Jerry.

Despite some clever gags, this film suffers greatly from the terrible animation, music etc., problems typical of the Gene Deitch Tom & Jerry cartoons. This was the second of three cartoons featuring the unnamed fat man. He would return in ‘Sorry Safari‘, later that year.

Watch ‘High Steaks’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 118
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: It’s Greek To Me-Ow!
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: Mouse into Space

Director: Gene Deitch
Release Date: December 12, 1961
Stars: Tom & Jerry
Rating: ★
Review:

It's Greek to Me-Ow © MGMIn ‘It’s Greek To Me-Ow!’ we see Tom and Jerry as citizens of ancient Greece.

Tom tries to enter a building (we don’t know why) and Jerry hinders him in doing that (why he does that we don’t know, either).

‘It’s Greek To Me-Ow!’ is the third Tom & Jerry-cartoon directed by Gene Deitch and animated by his Czech studio, and this time even the plot is terrible. This cartoon also painfully shows the complete lack of character in the Czech Tom and Jerry designs. The sad result is one of the worst Tom & Jerry cartoons ever made.

Watch ‘It’s Greek To Me-Ow!’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 117
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Down and Outing
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: High Steaks

Director: Gene Deitch
Release Date: October 26, 1961
Stars: Tom & Jerry
Rating: ★★
Review:

Down and Outing © MGMIn ‘Down and Outing’ Tom and Jerry join a fat man who goes fishing. During the cartoon Tom tries to get rid of Jerry, mostly on expense of the man.

‘Down And Outing’ is the second of thirteen Tom & Jerry films by Gene Deitch, and like in the first, ‘Switchin’ Kitten‘, a rather inspired story (by Larz Bourne) is ruined by bad design, bad timing, bad animation and bad sounds. The fat man would become Gene Deitch’s best attempt on a recurring character, returning in ‘High Steaks‘ and ‘Sorry Safari‘ (both from 1962).

Watch ‘Down and Outing’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 116
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Switchin’ Kitten
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: It’s Greek to Me-Ow!

Director: Gene Deitch
Release Date: September 1, 1961
Stars: Tom & Jerry
Rating: ★★½
Review:

Switchin' Kitten © MGMIn ‘Switchin’ Kitten’ Tom visits an eerie castle, where Jerry helps a mad scientist with an experiment changing cats into dogs and vice versa. An anonymous cat, thinking he’s a dog, protects Jerry against an incomprehensible Tom.

‘Switchin’ Kitten’ is the first of a series of thirteen Tom & Jerry shorts directed by Gene Deitch, three years after the MGM animation studio had shut down and Hanna & Barbera had left for television. Gene Deitch’s animation team was based in Czechoslovakia, and it had only seen a handful of the classic Hanna & Barbera films.

‘Switchin’ Kitten’ immediately shows their problems: there’s a fairly good story with some great gags, but these are smothered in ugly designs (especially that of Jerry), bad timing, unappealing animation, terrible sound effects and unimaginative music, resulting in a surprisingly unfunny film. One cannot help but thinking that this short was made only to cash in on Tom & Jerry’s popularity. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t get better…

Watch an excerpt from ‘Switchin’ Kitten’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 115
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Tot Watchers
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: Down and Outing

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