Tom and Jerry-Classic Collection-Volume 5 (1951)

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Released 6-Oct-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Animation None
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1951
Running Time 87:07
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By William Hanna
Joseph Barbera
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Daws Butler
June Foray
William Denby Hanna
Wes Harrison
Lillian Randolph
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $19.95 Music Scott Bradley


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 1.1 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
Turkish Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
German
Spanish
Italian
Turkish
Greek
English for the Hearing Impaired
German for the Hearing Impaired
Italian for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

“The influence of (Tex) Avery's cartoons was felt across the animation industry;
even Hanna and Barbera adapted their Tom and Jerry shorts to match the levels of madcap humor and violence in Avery's films.”

Leonard Maltin, Of Mice and Magic, p. 296-297

Animation genius Tex Avery had a talent for depicting sight gags, slapstick and farce but his anti-hero characters were born out of the revolt of the social norms of the 1930s and 1940s. It was the era of the Second World War which inspired mayhem and lawlessness in Avery as well as the likes of Bob Clampett and Chuck Jones. These artists were able to exhibit their take on the senseless violence and pandemonium of war through their animation, “(as) the cartoon artists (were) lodged in their ramshackle sheds, in forgotten corners of the studios, free to let their ids go wild.”1

Likewise Tom and Jerry, who were created, written and directed by animators William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, are characters who also discourage boredom and routine by delving into sadomasochistic games in which violence ensues. Yet Tom is not a street wise alley cat - rather, he is a domesticated kitten while his prey is Jerry, a small, somewhat feminine mouse. The two characters share a bond which is indefinable; author of Understanding Animation, Paul Wells believes it’s a cross-species heterosexual bond. Tom and Jerry, like Avery’s other anti-heroes, ultimately try to survive in a brutal unpredictable environment. With their multiple personalities, brazen motives and manic eyes they share the audience’s common fears of human existence; the fear of solitude, the fear of a descent into madness and the fear of being an outcast. All Tom and Jerry seem to want is peace and sanctuary. Yet it is something they are denied for the sheer fact that they are in an Avery inspired universe. These characters' decisions are made with the weight of their own self-loathing, their own sense of purposelessness and meaninglessness. So their decisions aren’t one of right versus wrong but one of life and death.

It seems Tex Avery’s anarchic sensibilities never quite left audiences. Direct offspring of Avery’s characters are found in Ren Höek and Stimpson J. Cat of John Kricfalusi’s The Ren and Stimpy Show (1991), a show that has been described by experts as "Tex Avery on drugs."2 Another subversive animation show is Matt Groening’s The Simpsons (1989) which has built a reputation for parody. CGI animation, cult audiences and the simple style of 2D animation often found in the MTV produced cartoons such as Daria (1997) and Beavis and Butthead (1993) are all descendents of Avery’s work. Feature films also state Avery’s comic genius, as Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) and The Mask (1994) both reference Red Hot Riding Hood (1943) through send up and characteristics of their respective anti-heroes. Both these films act as tributes to animators and the unique imaginative world that they share with their audiences. Tex Avery in turn is an iconic, voyeuristic, distorted, and challenging radical spirit. Avery’s characteristics are born from our fears of war and ourselves. Avery depicted our fear of failure and success while also displaying anxiety and humiliation as a source of pleasure. Tex Avery told stories of the ordinary, pushed into uncontrollable situations for no apparent reason. Avery contradicted what we have been told and what we know. Tex Avery depicted the complexities of human emotion and mindset.

This DVD release contains the following Tom and Jerry cartoons of The Hanna-Barbera Era (1940 – 1958) which were produced at MGM Studios. These cartoons are in chronological order, except for “Texas Tom” (6:34) (11 Mar 1950) which does not appear on this DVD release.

1 Simon Louvish. ‘In the field of lunatics’, Sight & Sound 3:10 (Oct 1993): p 31.
2 Martin Goodman. ‘Cartoons aren’t real’. Animation World Magazine, 5.12 - March 2001.

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Transfer Quality

Video

The cartoons are presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 Full Frame. MGM cartoons before 1953 were produced in the standard Academy ratio of 1.37:1. As expected the source material does contain film artefacts but as the cartoons have been encoded at an average bit rate of 6.73 Mbps the transfer is smooth with average colour definition. There is no indication of MPEG compression artefacting on this single-sided, single-layer DVD release. There is a selection of subtitle options available which appear as small white text.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

The Dolby Digital 1.0 audio track is available in a number of language options. There are no errors apparent on the soundtracks and they remain clear and audible. Dialogue is limited in these animated productions, and subsequently much of the comedy is reliant on the musical language of the late Scott Bradley. The composer emplaced a 20 piece orchestra to mimic and emphasise the onscreen action creating a comedic language based on both timing and originality. Unfortunately, the soundtrack does not make use of surround sound but nevertheless is suitable in respect to the age of source material.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

A static and practical 16x9 enhanced menu features an image of the characters with language, subtitle and episode selections. There are no scene chapters for episodes.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

There have been various DVD releases of Tom and Jerry cartoons in themed compilations. In terms of the “classic collection” there have been two other major releases:

R1 - Tom and Jerry: Spotlight Collection.

This 2 disc DVD set contains a selection of 40 cartoons. Various cartoons have been omitted due to censorship, while at least three cartoons on this release have been altered in terms of dialogue and have had visual gags edited out due to being regarded as racially contentious. These cartoons are The Milky Waif, The Truce Hurts and The Little Orphan.

Extras included on this set are:

This NTSC set includes an English Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono soundtrack and English, French and Spanish subtitles.

R2 – Tom and Jerry: Complete Collector's Edition.

This 6 double-sided disc DVD collection includes 157 Tom and Jerry cartoons out of the 161 episodes produced. The negative is that 15 episodes have had either audio changed or video edited out. The only soundtrack available is English Mono with no extras.

An excellent visual guide to the censorship implications can be found here

R4 – Tom and Jerry: Classic Collection Volume 1-12

It seems the local release is actually the R2 DVD collection released as single-layered, single-sided DVD releases and as such the censorship still exists on the local release.

Overall, each region unfortunately has become a victim of political correctness and the preferred version is dependent on whether the R1 extras are of importance to you or whether you'd rather have the majority of episodes which were released. Also the R2 release suggests the cartoons have been digitally remastered but this apparently is not the case.

Summary

Tom and Jerry is finally released on DVD but unfortunately it is a disappointing affair.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Vanessa Appassamy (Biography)
Saturday, December 02, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-1910, using DVI output
DisplayPanasonic PT-AE 700. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationYamaha DSP-A595a - 5.1 DTS
Speakers(Front) DB Dynamics Polaris AC688F loudspeakers,(Centre) DB Dynamics Polaris Mk3 Model CC030,(Rear) Polaris Mk3 Model SSD425,(Subwoofer) Jensen JPS12

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