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Tom & Jerry: The Golden Collection: Volume One (Blu-ray)
During the '40s, MGM's Tom and Jerry series was animation's gold standard, challenging Disney in the Animated Short Film Oscar category. The lavishly produced shorts featured polished animation, brash slapstick gags, and lush watercolor backgrounds. The series, which began in 1940 with "Puss Gets the Boot," ran for 15 years and won seven Oscars. Many of these cartoons follow the pattern set in "Puss Gets the Boot": housekeeper Mammy Two-Shoes (voiced by Lillian Randolph) warns Tom that if he makes a mess or fails to catch the mice, he's out on his ear ("O-W-T, out!"). Jerry overhears the threat and makes trouble. In cartoons where Mammy doesn't appear, Jerry finds other reasons (or excuses) to cause problems for Tom. But the stories are only fast-paced vehicles for the animated gags, like Tom's exaggerated jitterbug in "Zoot Cat" or his jaw-dropping, bug-eyed "takes" in "Mouse Cleaning." The Golden Collection features cartoons from 1940 to 1948, and includes the Oscar winners "The Yankee Doodle Mouse," "Mouse Trouble," "Quiet Please!" and "The Cat Concerto." The transfers were made from excellent prints and look terrific. Unlike previous re-dubbed video releases, Mammy Two-Shoes' dialogue is presented intact, although the subtitles offer the cleaned-up versions from the previous Spotlight Collection. In "Old Rockin' Chair Tom," she declares, "If you is a mouser, I is Lana Turner, which I ain't"; the subtitles read, "If you're a mouser… I'm Lana Turner, which I'm not." An introductory statement proclaims that the ethnic stereotypes "were wrong then and are wrong today," which misses the point. The stereotypical African-American maid and blackface gags were considered good fun and good taste in the era of Amos and Andy; that they are no longer acceptable reflects the social progress of the intervening decades. (Unrated, suitable for ages 7 and older: cartoon violence, ethnic stereotypes) --Charles Solomon
(1. Puss Gets the Boot, 2. The Midnight Snack, 3. The Night Before Christmas, 4. Fraidy Cat, 5. Dog Trouble, 6. Puss 'n' Toots, 7. The Bowling-Alley Cat, 8. Fine Feathered Friend, 9. Sufferin' Cats! 10. The Lonesome Mouse, 11. The Yankee Doodle Mouse, 12. Baby Puss, 13. Zoot Cat, 14. The Million Dollar Cat, 15. The Body Guard, 16. Puttin' on the Dog, 17. Mouse Trouble, 18. The Mouse Comes to Dinner, 19. Mouse in Manhattan, 20. Tee for Two, 21. Flirty Birdy, 22. Quiet Please! 23. Springtime for Thomas, 24. The Milky Waif, 25. Trap Happy, 26. Solid Serenade, 27. Cat Fishin', 28. Part Time Pal, 29. The Cat Concerto, 30. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Mouse, 31. Salt Water Tabby, 32. A Mouse in the House, 33. The Invisible Mouse, 34. Kitty Foiled, 35. The Truce Hurts, 36. Old Rockin' Chair Tom, 37. Professor Tom) --This text refers to the DVD edition.