Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Tom and Jerry: Gene Deitch Collection--Review up at ClassicFlix! (Shameless self-promotion dept.)

A bit of shameless self-promotion, if you will allow me: My latest review at ClassicFlix examines the divisive Gene Deitch era of Tom and Jerry. This excellent set collects all the "episodes" Deitch's studio supervised in the 1960s and includes extras that contextualize the run.

Are these the best Tom and Jerry cartoons? No, but in many ways they are more interesting to me than the Chuck Jones shorts that followed. These ones are low-budget and sometimes low-animation, but as I say in the piece, they are worth seeing.

I posted this interesting screencap a while back, saying that these toons are not known for their subtlety:

This comes from "Mouse Into Space," which provides an...interesting setting for the boys:

One solid aspect of this series is the inventive title cards:

And some of the backgrounds are sparse, but some are unique and even kind of cool:

And probably the most popular of the Deitch series is the self-mocking "Tom and Jerry Cartoon Kit":

Yet these cartoons can also frustrate. The characters look a little off sometimes:

And there are gags that don't make sense, like in "Landing Stripling." The idea is that Jerry and this bird are foiling Tom's plan to flush them out, so they pinch the hose...

But it somehow affects the other end of the hose, where the water is coming out of some unknown pipe under the ground.

 There are also elaborate setups that don't pay off, like this one in the same short:

Yet for all its quirks, these are definitely worth watching at least once, and Warner Brothers did a great job with the collection. Check out my review for a lot more words and a lot less pictures, and tell 'em Cultureshark sent ya!

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