Sunday, 28 June 2009

Hey! How come you never spoke before?... I didn't have anything I wanted to say that I thought you'd understand, and there still isn't!

No 434 - Tom and Jerry: The Cat Concerto
Director - William Hanna and Joseph Barbera

Elliot, Jo and I were enjoying a lazy Sunday. Which consisted of bacon sandwiches and whatever crap Sky was offering us. We had enjoyed (through lumps in throat and tears in eye) two episodes of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Sat through the bizarre contradictory nonsense that is the Little Mermaid 3 and were working through an hours worth of Tom and Jerry shorts.

To my delight, within this medley came The Cat Concerto. The very Tom and Jerry cartoon I had to blog about and had failed to find anywhere! Hoozah!

The story is very simple. Tom is playing Listz's Hungarian Rhapsody No 2 at a concert. He wakes Jerry who is asleep within the Piano and insanity ensues.

Now I have a problem with this. I have always understood that in Tom and Jerry, Jerry is the hero. Yet here he has established his home within A CONCERT PIANO. All Tom is doing is his job, as (surely) hundreds of pianists will have done before (quite why a cat (in a tux) would be performing a concert at all is a different matter).
So I feel I shouldn't cheer for Jerry as he bullies and persecutes the poor Tom.

What I do enjoy though is the excellent manic bonkersness of using the piano as a weapon. From the obvious (using the piano lid to flatten hands) to the ridiculous way Tom manipulates the piano hammers to attack Jerry.

It is a beautiful piece of anarchic slapstick with a stunning classical score. It has also been referenced by almost any piece of comedy using a piano. Be it the FANTASTIC Donald vs Daffy fight in Who Framed Roger Rabbit or the sublime silliness of Manny in the Grand Deception episode of Black Books.

And before I go... you may have guessed that the title of this blog isn't from this cartoon. Sadly Tom and Jerry aren't famed for their dialogue. So I took it from the superb 1992 movie in which they DO speak!