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As far as classic cartoons are concerned, I have always been partial to Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny and the whole Warner Bros. gang. This isn’t to say that I haven’t enjoyed the antics of MGM’s cat and mouse pair- Tom and Jerry. Tom and Jerry are the cartoon characters that elevated senseless violence to a whole new level, offering the archetype that is so unmercifully parodied on THE SIMPSONS, with that ultra-violent cartoon within a cartoon pair- Itchy and Scratchy. Even though I’ve enjoyed Tom and Jerry cartoons, there has always been one thing that bothered me about the series- the mouse is always portrayed as the hero. As far as I know, almost everyone look upon mice as household pests, while cats are the family pets whose job it is to rid homes of mice. It is for this reason that I can’t understand why Jerry Mouse was always allowed to give Tom Cat the business for simply doing his job.

These deeply philosophical musings brings us to TOM & JERRY GOLDEN COLLECTION: VOLUME ONE ($35) a Warner Home Video Blu-ray release of the first thirty-seven classic animated shorts from the 1940’s, presented in chronological order. TOM & JERRY GOLDEN COLLECTION: VOLUME ONE contains four Academy Award winning animated shorts, which feature some of the cat and mouse team’s most inspired and hilarious escapades. I have to admit that the experience of watching these cartoons caused me to laugh out loud and thoroughly enjoy myself. Of course, as Tom and Jerry’s antics became more violent, the more I laughed (yes, I am a sick individual). Watching the cartoon violence contained in these early Tom and Jerry cartoons, made me realize that THE SIMPSONSItchy and Scratchy really aren’t all that far off the mark.

TOM & JERRY GOLDEN COLLECTION: VOLUME ONE comes in a two disc set that features the following thirty-seven animated shorts: 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 Bodyguard, 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 and Professor Tom.

Warner Home Video has made all thirty-seven animated shorts that comprise the TOM & JERRY GOLDEN COLLECTION: VOLUME ONE, available in their proper 1.37:1 aspect ratio presentations, all of which have been encoded to disc with the AVC codec. Overall, the 1080p presentations are beautifully film-like, each displaying a noticeable grain structure that reflects the character of vintage animated shorts. Certainly, there are variations in the picture quality from short to short, but all look quite good. Across the board, the image displays the crisp lines of the animation, and occasionally, the painted quality of traditional cell animation. Color reproduction is also a bit variable, depending on the short in question. Some shorts deliver somewhat vivid hues, while others are rendered with a more dusty, pastel-like pallet. Blacks are generally accurate, as are the whites. The elements from which the shorts have been mastered appear very clean, with only modest blemishes and signs of age being present, in even the least carefully preserved short. As I stated above, the shorts display a noticeable grain structure, which makes the presentations very much film-like.

All of animated shorts featured on the TOM & JERRY GOLDEN COLLECTION: VOLUME ONE are presented on Blu-ray Disc with 1 channel Dolby Digital monaural 192kbps soundtracks. The lossy monaural soundtracks hold up well, considering their age and the limitations in recording technologies at the time they were produced. As expected, there are some mild variations in the sonic quality from one short to the next. Of course, all the soundtracks of all the cartoons contained in the collection have been cleaned up. Therefore, the majority of the background hiss and other audible anomalies have been eliminated or greatly reduced. No surprises here… the fidelity is limited, but the music and zany sound effects come across in a respectable manner. The limited dialogue is crisp and easy to understand. French and Spanish Dolby Digital monaural tracks are also encoded onto the disc, as are English, French and Spanish subtitles.

The interactive menus allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the supplements. Starting things off are nine running Audio Commentaries included on the following animated shorts: Puss Gets The Boot, The Night Before Christmas, The Yankee Doodle Mouse, The Zoot Cat, Mouse Trouble, Quiet Please!, The Cat Concerto, Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Mouse, and Kitty Foiled. Featurettes and other programs include the following: How Bill And Joe Met Tom And Jerry (twenty seven minutes), Vaudeville, Slapstick And Tom And Jerry (twenty three minutes) and The Comedy Stylings Of Tom And Jerry (six minutes). A Pencil Test for The Midnight Snack is also provided, as is The Worry Song from ANCHORS AWEIGH, featuring Jerry dancing with Gene Kelly.

TOM & JERRY GOLDEN COLLECTION: VOLUME ONE beautifully brings the classic animation to the realm of high definition. Definitely recommended.


Tom & Jerry Golden Collection: Volume One [Blu-ray]


DVD & Blu-ray Disc reviews are Copyright 2011 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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