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218 of 228 people found the following review helpful
The REAL cartoons for serious collectorsJune 30 2011
- Published on Amazon.com
I made no secret of my distaste for the censored version of the Tom and Jerry shorts available on the Tom and Jerry - Spotlight Collection DVD. Not only was history whitewashed to satisfy the PC Brigade (just who ARE these people anyway?) they were also in shocking condition with lots of dirt and scratches and generally terrible picture quality.
All is now fixed for this Blu Ray release from Warner, presenting the first 37 shorts, in chronological order, with brand new 1080p transfers from the best 35mm materials, Dolby 5.1 sound (HD sound is not confirmed at the time of writing, but these cartoons WERE released in Mono anyway and DD 5.1 is still a notable upgrade) and, most importantly, UN-EDITED AND UN-CENSORED. You will finally be able to see the REAL Mammy-Two-Shoes voiced by Lillian Randolph, and various other 'racially inflammatory' visual jokes.
The cartoons included are:
Puss Gets The Boot The Midnight Snack The Night Before Christmas Fraidy Cat Dog Trouble Puss N' Toots The Bowling Alley Cat Fine Feathered Friend Sufferin' Cats The Lonesome Mouse The Yankee Doodle Mouse Baby Puss The Zoot Cat The Million Dollar Cat The Body Guard Puttin On The Dog Mouse Trouble The Mouse Comes To Dinner Mouse In Manhattan Tee For Two Flirty Birdy Quiet Please! Springtime For Thomas The Milky Waif Trap Happy Solid Serenade Cat Fishin' Part Time Pal The Cat Concerto Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Mouse Salt Water Tabby A Mouse In The House The Invisible Mouse Kitty Foiled The Truce Hurts Old Rockin' Chair Tom Professor Tom
This is how it SHOULD have been released the first time around, but this Blu Ray set is an absolute MUST-HAVE for serious animation collectors. Spend the money and let Warner know that this presentation and effort is profitable. It will only grease the wheels for more T&J and perhaps some uncensored HD Looney Tunes.
33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
Finest home video release the esteemed cat and mouse team has receivedOct. 23 2011
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Clark Douglas, DVD Verdict --The first attribute is the chronological structure, which I imagine many fans (myself included) will be thrilled about. The first 37 Tom and Jerry theatrical shorts (beginning with their 1940 debut "Puss Gets the Boot" and continuing through the 1948 installment "Professor Tom") are presented in order over two Blu-ray discs, and it finally gives us an easy way to observe the subtle evolution of the characters over the years. The first impression one gets from watching these early Hanna-Barbera installments is that the famously antagonistic dynamic between the characters was firmly in place from the very beginning; there aren't any of those odd early shorts in which the characters feel like mere shadows of the icons they would eventually become (despite the fact that Tom looks a little strange and is named "Jasper" in his very first outing).
Animation purists will be pleased to note that this collection has indeed preserved the shorts as they were originally released, meaning that some of them do indeed contain moments of racial insensitivity. It's a little startling to see occasional gags with the characters in blackface or moments in which cheap shots are taken at other cultures, but as the disclaimer at the beginning of the disc notes, to remove these moments would be the same as pretending they never existed. They also serve as a valuable peek into the era in which the shorts were made; a snapshot of societal norms which we have thankfully put behind us. Parents may want to use discretion before showing some of these shorts to their kids (at the very least, some of this material might serve as a valuable discussion-starter), but it's for the best that these shorts have been preserved in their original form.
Still, the most exciting thing about this set is that we finally have the opportunity to watch these shorts in hi-def. While there are admittedly shorts which look a little soft, dingy or weathered, there's no doubt that these remastered shorts look dramatically better than ever before. The level of detail is superb throughout; one can fully appreciate the busier moments of animation. Colors have a lot of pop, and blacks are deep and inky. It's such a pleasure to see these 'toons looking so terrific. Audio is also strong, with the energetic Scott Bradley scores holding up rather well after all these years and blending nicely with the chaotic sound effects thrown into the mix. Supplements are generous, kicking off with nine audio commentaries featuring assorted animation experts. You also get the previously released featurettes "How Bill and Joe Met Tom and Jerry" and "The Comedy Stylings of Tom and Jerry," plus the new featurette "Vaudeville, Slapstick and Tom and Jerry." Finally, you get the dance sequence featuring Jerry and Gene Kelly from Anchors Away and a "The Midnight Snack" pencil test.
-Full review at dvdverdict.com
36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
How to determine which version you are watching.Nov. 23 2011
Paul J. Mular
- Published on Amazon.com
**** - disc #1 (for both quality & content) ***** - disc #2 (for both quality & content)
Unlike Warner Brothers Cartoons that used the "Blue Ribbon Merrie Melodies" logo to tell you that you are watching a re-release print, MGM only put little clues into their titles to give a hint that you are not watching the original. In this Blu-ray set you will see a variety of logos & title cards which is nice but it also tells us that this is not the way it originally was. Due to a fire in a film archive in the 1970's the original Nitrate Masters are lost, possibly forever. These versions are all that survive.
Here are some clues to look for, the MGM Logo is the biggest clue, followed by the use of the names TECHNICOLOR & PERSPECTA SOUND:
1934 to 1942 = The MGM logo is the regular MGM logo used in feature films,with a BLACK BACKGROUND, followed by a title card that says "AN MGM CARTOON IN TECHNICOLOR". 1960's re-prints dropped the name "TECHNICOLOR" from this title card. 1942 to 1951 = MGM logo has a bright RED background & the ribbon around Leo is BLUE and the name TECHNICOLOR is written out in SCRIPT font. For Tom & Jerry Cartoons, the Tom & Jerry logo varies and the commonly seen one with T&J surrounded by orange & red rings was used in the later 1940's. The early 1940's logo no longer exists in prints, but is pictures in the photo section of this listing. 1952 = MGM logo has a bright RED background & the ribbon around Leo is BLUE and the name TECHNICOLOR is written out in PLAIN font. For Tom & Jerry Cartoons,T&J are surrounded by orange & red rings in their logo. 1953 to 1956 = MGM Logo now has a bright BLUE background. (A few early 1953 cartoons still have the 1952 MGM logo but changed the Tom & Jerry logo.) The Tom & Jerry logo has now changed to a Blue one with the sleeker re-drawn Tom. Some older cartoons got this logo when re-issued. 1956 to 1958 = same as 1952 to 1956, but now there is a sound credit for "PERSPECTA SOUND" in the opening credits. older cartoons re-issued at this time have this new credit.
Starting in 1952, technicolor switched over to a single multiple layer color negative on safety film stock. So the 1940's cartoons that were re-issued in 1952 will look better because there was no need for MGM to make a dupe negative to make Eastman Color prints, the new single Technicolor negative could be used. This keeps release prints one generation closer to the originals. And explains why disc #2 looks so much better. In 1958 MGM abandons TECHNICOLOR and opens up their own "Metro Lab" using Eastman Color negatives. MGM transfers ALL of their YCM color seperation negatives made before 1952 to single strip Eastmancolor negatives to print at their labs. They remove all reference to "TECHNICOLOR" in the opening titles.
1959 to 1967 = MGM logo returns to the BLACK Background with the word CARTOON in big letters at the bottom. There is NO mention of the name TECHNICOLOR. Newer cartoons will make reference to "MetroColor" but older cartoons being re-issued will make no color reference at all. The last credit sequence used for re-release will continue to be used in these prints, meaning some prints may still retain the name "PERSPECTA SOUND" even if that process is no longer in use, and the Tom & Jerry logo will reflect it's last re-issue version, either red or blue.
So based on all of this information, here is what we have on these Blu-ray discs:
DISC #1 (1940) PUSS GETS THE BOOT = All original looking titles BUT "TECHNICOLOR" has been removed from the second title card (shown in a freeze frame), so this is a 1960's re-issue. (1941) MIDNIGHT SNACK = No original titles here, but "Technicolor" is present. Blue MGM & T&J Logo with PERSPECTA SOUND in the credits make this a 1956-1958 re-issue. NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS = this appears to be the only original 1940's issue print here. The T & J logo is a holiday variation of the early 1940's logo. (1942) FRAIDY CAT & DOG TROUBLE = Red MGM logo with Technicolor in script. Red T&J logo is that of the late 1940's. PUSS 'N TOOTS = 1960's MGM logo in black with NO technicolor name. Blue T&J Logo with PERSPECTA SOUND credit. This is a 1960's re-print of a 1956 re-issue which accounts for the grainy picture. BOWLING ALLEY CAT = 1960's MGM logo in back with NO Technicolor name. Red T&J logo. This is a 1960's re-print of a late 1940's re-issue which accounts for the grainy picture. FINE FEATHERED FRIEND = Red MGM logo with Technicolor in script. Red T&J logo is that of the late 1940's. (1943) SUFFERIN' CATS = 1960's MGM logo in back with NO Technicolor name. Red T&J logo. This is a 1960's re-print of a late 1940's re-issue which accounts for the grainy picture. LONESOME MOUSE = 1960's MGM logo in back with NO Technicolor name. Red T&J logo. This is a 1960's re-print of a late 1940's re-issue which accounts for the grainy picture. YANKEE DOODLE MOUSE = 1943 Academy Award re-issue titles used just after the cartoon won the award. BABY PUSS = Red MGM logo with Technicolor in script. Red T&J logo is that of the late 1940's. (1944) ZOOT CAT = 1960's MGM logo in back with NO Technicolor name. Red T&J logo. This is a 1960's re-print of a late 1940's re-issue which accounts for the grainy picture. MILLION DOLLAR CAT = 1960's MGM logo in back with NO Technicolor name. Red T&J logo. This is a 1960's re-print of a late 1940's re-issue which accounts for the grainy picture. WASHED OUT COLOR! BODY GUARD = Red MGM logo with Technicolor in script. Red T&J logo is that of the late 1940's. PUTTIN ON THE DOG = 1960's MGM logo in back with NO Technicolor name. Red T&J logo. This is a 1960's re-print of a late 1940's re-issue which accounts for the grainy picture. WASHED OUT COLOR! MOUSE TROUBLE = 1960's MGM logo in back with NO Technicolor name. Red T&J logo. This is a 1960's re-print of a late 1940's re-issue which accounts for the grainy picture. (1945) MOUSE WHO CAME TO DINNER = Red MGM logo with Technicolor in script. Red T&J logo is that of the late 1940's. MOUSE IN MANHATTAN = Red MGM logo with Technicolor in script. Red T&J logo is that of the late 1940's. TEE FOR TWO = Red MGM logo with Technicolor in script. Red T&J logo is that of the late 1940's.
DISC #2 is easy to evaluate, almost all are Technicolor re-issues from 1952 to 1956 & look GREAT! FLIRTY BIRDY = Red MGM logo with TECHNICOLOR in regular lettering. Red T&J logo. This MGM logo was only used with this T&J logo in 1952, so it would be a master from that release. QUIET PLEASE = 1960's MGM logo in black with NO Technicolor name. T & J credit is over the 1945 Acadamy Award Winner notice. 1960's re-print of 1945 award winner re-issue. --from this point on ALL cartoons have the Blue MGM Logo with TECHNICOLOR and the Blue Tom & Jerry logo from 1953 to 1956 release unless noted-- (1946) SPRINGTIME FOR THOMAS MILKY WAIF (1960's MGM logo re-print of 1953 re-issue) TRAP HAPPY SOLID SERENADE (1947) CAT FISHIN' PART TIME PAL CAT CONCERTO (has 1948 academy award winner titles, still a 1952 re-issue) DR. JEKYLL & MR. MOUSE SALT WATER TABBY A MOUSE IN THE HOUSE THE INVISIBLE MOUSE (1948) KITTY FOILED THE TRUCE HURTS OLD ROCKIN' CHAIR TOM PROFESSOR TOM
I wonder why WHV stopped at 37 cartoons and did not finish out the 1948 year, the last cartoon MOUSE CLEANING would have been a jewel to have as it was omitted from the last DVD release. I hope it was just an oversight ant it will be released in the Blu-ray Volume 2 set (if there is one).
You will notice that the "Tom" pictured in the Blue Tom & Jerry logo title card does not resemble the "Tom" in any of these 1940's cartoons, in the logo he is the streamlined "Tom" of the 1950's and reinforces the fact that these are not the original title cards. In the documentary How Hanna & Barbera met Tom & Jerry you can see the story boards for "LITTLE ORPHAN" (1949), which will be on the next set, clearly visible is the intended Tom & Jerry title card showing the T & J heads inside the orange & red circles. This was clearly the late 1940's title card, not the blue one you see in the films here.
I have been working with MGM cartoon TV prints for over 25 years and have been compiling information about the various versions of these cartoons.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
An Outstanding Collection, with NitpicksOct. 29 2011
- Published on Amazon.com
I never got over loving animation, so I think it's great to see the classics appearing in high definition. This set gets a lot of things right. The films are shown in their correct aspect ratio. The producers cleaned things up and corrected faded colors, but didn't pile on excessive digital cleaning or boost the colors unnaturally. They're presented in chronological order, which works quite well for Tom & Jerry. They're uncensored. And. . . The price is right.
There's a small bit of controversy that has emerged. Most of the numbers in this set look wonderful. A few of them were allegedly transferred from sub-standard film sources. The original master films were lost in a fire long ago. I'm no expert, and I can only tell you what my uneducated and untrained eyes are seeing on my own HDTV. I can see the increased amount of film grain in some of these, and it does sometimes get noticeable. Once in a while the lines may not be quite as sharp, or the colors or exposure may be subtly off. However. . . From where I sit, it's all nitpicking. Even the worst of them are very watchable, and in fact much better than the ones I've seen shown on TV. If you watch these films looking for flaws, then you'll find a few flaws. If you watch these films for enjoyment, you should enjoy them.
I find the warning screen a bit annoying. It's the one that tells about the racial stereotypes and how they're all wrong and bad, but we won't censor them because pretending those attitudes never existed would be even worse. OK. I appreciate the explanation, but I just wish I wasn't forced to stare at it for a full minute when I start up the disc. Anyhow, that's soon forgotten when the cartoons start rolling.
To sum things up: Don't let the nitpicks turn you away from this set! It's a piece of history, it's a bargain, and on the whole it's quite well done. It should make a good appetizer for the Looney Toons Platinum Collection, which is coming up soon!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Zone free Blu-RayDec 25 2011
- Published on Amazon.com
To all around the world who wish to buy this wonderfull item I report that it is a zone free Blu-Ray. I played it here in Europe (zone 2) and it works. So go ahead and order it, don't wait for an hypothetical release in your country. The blu-ray includes french and spanish audio.