Tom and Jerry's Greatest Chases (1943)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 29-Nov-2000

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Animation Main Menu Audio
Featurette-The "Worry Song" Excerpt
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1943
Running Time 98:50
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By William Hanna
Joseph Barbera
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring None Given
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $24.95 Music Scott Bradley


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian 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 None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    I have very fond memories of the days when Tom and Jerry cartoons played on TV every weekend back in the early 1970s. I was just in primary school, and I suppose they seemed as if they were brand new, but of course even then they were all at least 20 years old. That never mattered to my brothers and I, and we all looked forward to the next episode. These days primary school children are probably watching Itchy and Scratchy or worse, and I suppose even for me the style of humour on offer here has dated far more than, for example, the typical Bugs Bunny cartoon. It is nevertheless quite an achievement that Tom and Jerry cartoons garnered at least 3 Oscars over 3 different years for animation.

    As the name would imply the cartoons presented on this disc are a collection of chases involving Tom (the cat) and Jerry (the mouse) in which Tom invariably gets the rough end of the stick. The general theme of Tom crashing head-long into the proverbial mouse-hole in the wall is well and truly over-used.

    There is a real mixed bag of cartoons, totalling 14 in all each with a length of approximately 7 minutes. Some stand out for special mention. The Yankee Doodle Mouse, made in 1943, is very much a war cartoon, mirroring the action going on in the Pacific and Europe and adding a light touch of entertainment to the theme. It is one of the Oscar winners presented on the disc. The Cat Concerto and Johann Mouse share the common theme of Tom being a concert pianist (these two are my favourites - no surprise there, I suppose), the first involving some wonderful animation of Jerry being caught inside the grand piano and being accosted on all sides by the key hammers. Jerry and the Lion involves a shy lion that escapes from the zoo and seeks Jerry's help to return to the jungles of Africa. The humour is still touching and brought small smiles of delight to my face.

    Regardless of the plot in each case, Tom scores a multitude of injuries from which he bounces back, yet both he and Jerry seem to remain the best of friends. The essential difference between this and more modern efforts is the total lack of maliciousness within the characterizations.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The broadest comment that can be made about these cartoons is that they are mainly between 50 and 55 years old, and cannot disguise their age.

    All cartoons here are presented in their original Full Frame format, and of course are not 16x9 enhanced.

    The film from which this transfer has been taken (given the vintage, possibly the only available source) is surprisingly good. Colour detail, especially, has survived seemingly completely intact with remarkably bright, solid and stable colours. This together with high colour contrast between various onscreen objects helps considerably in producing an image which, while not sharp by modern standards, is easy on the eye. Graininess is noticeable throughout, but is simply one of the casualties of the age of the film.

    It is not necessarily appropriate to consider shadow detail with this style of animation, but it is certainly fair to say that the whole picture displays a uniform depth and level of detail. There was never any hint of low level noise, which I'm sure would be only too clear if it was present.

    There were no compression artefacts observed and, given the material, aliasing was never going to be a problem.

    The age of the film is most clearly recognizable in the amount of scratches and other blemishes on the picture. They are pretty much ever present, but it would be a mistake to be overly critical of them. They are not too damaging and certainly do not threaten the overall enjoyment of watching the material. Reel change marks are present at the end of every cartoon.

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

Audio

    The audio is very noticeably aged, with a generally flat and unexciting tone to it. This is not surprising given that we are dealing with 50-plus year old mono recordings. Hi-Fi they are not. The entire tracks are essentially made up of music overlaid with standard fare cartoon sound effects, and I thought that the latter just started getting a little repetitive.

    There are three audio tracks, each in the original mono. I listened to the English track and sampled each of the other two. There is very little dialogue in any case so the difference between the tracks is minor. However it did seem to my ears that the French track was recorded at a slightly higher volume level than the others, and this made it seem to be a little clearer. What dialogue there is has a variable quality - some is muted or a little hard to make out because of the particular accent or sound the actors were trying to create.

    Audio sync is always as good as you could possibly expect with animation.

    As is the style, music is continuous, mostly swing tunes from the 40s, but also with some classical music from the likes of Liszt and Rossini. It's generally a bit of fun.

    Being original 50 year old mono recordings, there is no surround or subwoofer activity.

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

Extras

Main Menu Audio

        The main menu is a simple, static affair with "Shortnin' Bread" coming at you live from the 1940s.

Featurette - Excerpt from Anchors Aweigh - The "Worry Song"

    Presented in Full Frame format and Dolby Digital 1.0 audio, the running time is 8:28 minutes. In my opinion, this is the real gem of the whole disc. This is a promotional video clip for Anchors Aweigh, and we are treated to several minutes of Gene Kelly dancing up a storm with King Jerry the Mouse in a live action/animated world. The picture quality is quite good, and frankly I could sit back and enjoy hours of the show-stopping dancing on display.

R4 vs R1

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

   The R4 and R1 versions appear to be identically featured. I would therefore recommend the local version on the basis of the better PAL picture.

Summary

    It's a bit of a marathon to sit through an hour and a half of Tom and Jerry cartoons, but this is not a bad disc to have in your library for the sake of playing the odd 10 or 15 minutes' worth at a time, especially if you have young children who would probably appreciate the relatively unsophisticated style of humour. The picture quality is OK so long as you don't get critical, and the sound is ordinary. Now if we can only get the best of Bugs Bunny on disc...

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Murray Glase (read my bio)
Wednesday, December 20, 2000
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba SD-K310, using S-Video output
DisplayPioneer SD-T43W1 (125cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-D906S
SpeakersRichter Wizard (front), Jamo SAT150 (rear), Yamaha YST-SW120 (subwoofer)

Other Reviews
Cassandra Nunn DVD Reviews - Cassandra N
Web Wombat - James A
DVD Plaza - Anthony C (read my bio)

Comments (Add) NONE