Tom & Jerry: Spotlight Collection

January 28, 2012 6 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

As a constant wave of television content hits DVD, we’ve seen all manner of shows issued, though animation has minimal at best. But Warner has reserved that trend and released a consistent stream of classic animation. We’ve seen seasons of The Flintstones and The Jetsons, plus excellent collections of Looney Tunes cartoons. Now we have a batch of Tom and Jerry, the lovable cat and mouse duo who never tire of going head to head. This series began back in 1940 and over six decades later, the characters remain popular and acclaimed. The shorts won a handful of Oscars and were beloved by both children and adults, even as generation after generation of new fans dicovered the wonderful tandem. The show had over the top violence and stereotypes of all kinds, but the tone was innocent. Over the years, numerous shorts have been edited to remove some of the potentially offensive material. So some folks have never seen these shorts unaltered, though this set aims to change that. As it turns out, some edited shorts did sneak through however, although most of the ones featured here are uncensored. I’ve heard that the censorship issue will be fixed, but as of this review, nothing has been set in stone. In any event, this is a fun set with some classic cartoons and is well recommended. Below is a listing of the shorts found within this release, so you’ll know just what is included.

Disc One

1. Yankee Doodle Mouse
2. Sufferin’ Cats
3. Baby Puss
4. The Zoot Cat
5. Million Dollar Cat
6. The Bodyguard
7. Mouse Trouble
8. Tee for Two
9. Flirty Birdy
10. Quiet Please
11. The Milky Waif
12. Solid Serenade
13. Cat Fishin’
14. The Cat Concerto
15. Kitty Foiled
16. The Truce Hurts
17. Salt Water Tabby
18. The Invisible Mouse
19. The Little Orphan
20. Heavenly Puss

Disc Two

1. Texas Tom
2. Jerry and the Lion
3. Tom and Jerry in the Hollywood Bowl
4. Jerry and the Goldfish
5. Cueball Cat
6. Slicked-Up Pup
7. Jerry’s Cousin
8. Cat Napping
9. The Flying Cat
10. The Two Mousketeers
11. Smitten Kitten
12. Johann Mouse
13. Two Little Indians
14. Baby Butch
15. Mice Follies
16. Designs on Jerry
17. Pecos Pest
18. Touche Pussy Cat
19. The Flying Sorceress
20. Blue Cat Blues

Video: How does it look?

Three of the shorts are presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, while the rest are presented in full frame, as intended. I’ve seen these shorts in various condition over the years, but never have they looked this good. The worn prints are in the past now, as Warner has spruced up these cartoons for this release. The elements are still sometimes fifty years or older, so softness and grain can be present, but never to an extreme degree. The visuals come off as clean and quite crisp, unlike the shoddy versions shown on television. The black levels look consistent, while colors have more boldness here, when compared to broadcast editions. So in the end, these cartoons look superb and fans will be thrilled.

Audio: How does it sound?

The audio is more than acceptable, but not as impressive as the video elements. Then again, this material is mostly around fifty years old or so, so to expect dynamic sound in this case is being a tad unrealistic. You can tell that time has taken a toll at times, but the audio is always passable and is sometimes better than expected. The music sounds good and the over the top sound effects retain their full impact, which is what counts here. This release also includes subtitles in English, Spanish, and French, should you need those.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Animation historian Jerry Beck provides audio comments on three episodes, but fans will wish he spoke about all the shorts. Beck has both guns loaded and blasts out a constant stream of terrific information on the series. I hope future volumes have more of his commentary sessions, as Beck is a great listen. The animation segments from Anchors Aweigh and Dangerous When Wet are also included here, as well as two enjoyable featurettes on the series, one that focuses on the music and the other a more general exploration.

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