These Little Town Blues…
Tom & Jerry were a defining part of my childhood. I could spend hours watching T&J shorts on Cartoon Network when I was younger and to be honest, this is my favourite; was then and still is now. As a kid, I would always get excited when this short came on TV.
Mouse in Manhattan is not a traditional Tom & Jerry short at all; there are no chases or the carnage you would usually associate with Tom & Jerry. It begins with Jerry leaving his life in the country in favor of the bright lights and Broadway of New York City. Tom only appears briefly at the beginning and at the end but Jerry leaves him a note showing that the two could be friends from time to time. The rest of the cartoon involves Jerry’s escapades in the Big Apple and plays out like a silent film with Jerry succumbing to the odd pratfall in the vein of Keaton or Chaplin; it’s all such fun to watch. Take the moment when Jerry is dancing and ice skating with the dolls on the table; could a piece of animation be more beautiful? During the short things go from really romantic to really dark quick but it all ends well. They still throw a black face joke in there with Jerry’s head being put into a container of shoe polish. I can tell you right not that these moments were left intact when showing these cartoons on the UK Cartoon Network and Boomerang when I was a child.
The locations Jerry visits in New York such as Grand Central Station appear very empty but who cares, just look at the beauty of it! Those painted backdrops have such scope to them. What really makes Mouse in Manhattan perfection, however, is the music. You might recognize it from the opening credits of My Man Godfrey but this rendition of” Manhattan Serenade” I feel is superior and I doubt could ever be topped. Tom and Jerry shorts always evoke nostalgia in me but Mouse in Manhattan just evokes that feeling to a far greater degree.