The Cat Concerto (1946)

the Cat Concerto
Directed and written by Joseph Barbera and William Hanna
(number 434)

The only time I can embed the movie I’m reviewing in the review, possibly?

I was wondering why this was included in the 500 list, being as it’s less than 10 minutes long and to my mind, just another Tom and Jerry cartoon. But then I read that it won an academy award so I thought I’d better watch it with some focused attention.

It’s a very simple, wordless cartoon about concert pianist Tom disturbing Jerry who apparently lives in the piano. They start to fight, but purely through the music and the instruments available to them (piano, piano keys, stool, etc)

The artistry here, is I guess, the matching of the movement and the story to the music and the eloquent way the mouse scurrying matches the tune and the trills, etc. I’m not that familiar with the piece Tom plays, which is apparently Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody, so I don’t know if there’s any deviation from the original although parts of it did seem rather discordant.

It is elegantly animated for the time, although it’s possible the version I watched has been restored somewhat. Tom looks pretty cute in his tux and he’s very emotive, seeming to enjoy when he’s playing well, getting some artistic evil eyebrows when he’s serious and obviously, anger with Jerry which melts into a professional calmness.

I’m not sure what I should be saying in this review to be honest. This film doesn’t have anything in it for the state of the human condition and it didn’t make me feel very much. I keep thinking ‘it’s just Tom and Jerry’ but then of course, it’s made for pure entertainment purposes. It’s not meant to teach us anything about the human condition right? It’s just a short film about a cat and a mouse with some excellent music. It is entertaining enough and for that I guess it fulfills its purpose.

Does it make me love the people? It’s not designed for that…? I did feel sorry for Tom though. Jerry’s such a freaking annoyance.

Bechdel test: nooo, no lines spoken and just the two male characters.

Best line: No lines.

State of Mind: Yeah, it’s cool and all. But not sure it should be in the top 500 of all time. I mean, there are better short films all over the place. And this being the 29th Tom and Jerry short it’s not important for that, and Disney were doing cartoons which match music from the twenties so I don’t think it’s breakthrough in that way. Unsure though, and I’m happy to be enlightened if anyone can explain the importance of this film?

Watched movie count


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