Monday, 14 October 2013

The Chaplin Cat

The Little Tramp is alive and living in feline form in “Pent-house Mouse,” the first Tom and Jerry cartoon made by Chuck Jones. Tom scoots around a corner (coming and going) just like Chaplin’s famous silent film persona.

Jones and Mike Maltese came up with the story. What’s interesting about this short is, unlike the Roadrunner cartoons the two made at Warners, there’s no break in the storyline. There’s no blackout between gags. It’ll all one long sequence in real time until the very end, when there’s a cut to Jerry relaxing in Tom’s deck lounge chair.

I just can’t warm up to the Tom and Jerrys made by Jones. In fact, to me, the best part of this cartoon isn’t the animation or the designs—it’s the score and orchestrations by Gene Poddany. I especially like the harp used when the lettuce leaf covers Jerry; it’s a fine contrast to the horns on either side of it. Poddany is truly underrated.

1 comment:

  1. In the better moments of Jones' efforts, Tom's basically playing an updated version of Claude Cat (parts of Chuck and Mike's "Mouse Warming" from a decade earlier could have easily transferred to the T&J series, and at least one gag did, with the sound effects walk through Claude's body). In the worst moments, Chuck obsesses on an overly-cute bit or too-pleased-with-itself routine that the director obviously loves, but the audience doesn't.