229. Mouse Wreckers – Chuck Jones

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SUMMARY: Hubie and Bertie the mice set about convincing Claude Cat that he has gone insane.

WHY IT’S HERE:Chuck Jones’s Hubie and Bertie shorts generally worked with darker material and ‘Mouse Wreckers’ was no exception. A relentlessly cruel cartoon, it involves the attempts of two mice to convince an unwitting cat that he is mentally ill. Hiding up a chimney, Hubie and Bertie subject the cat to various ordeals that rudely awaken him from his slumber. Starting small, these pranks build up to an inspired sequence involving an upside down room which just gets more and more confusing. The cartoon ends with the mice taking over the house as the cat cowers in a tree, driven completely insane. Jones’s was a master at drawing out the comedy from these morbid scenarios and he manages to make an hilarious film which has a constant sense of unease without leaving a bad taste. The concept of actually having the mice as the bad guys and the cat as a manipulated innocent was a bold and brilliant move. It’s worth noting that Jones remade ‘Mouse Wreckers’ as a Tom and Jerry cartoon named ‘Year of the Mouse’. Although I’m not hugely fond of the majority of Chuck Jones’s Tom and Jerry shorts, ‘Year of the Mouse’ is actually fantastic and, in many ways, improves on ‘Mouse Wreckers’ by making the scenarios more horrifically violent and the ending more satisfyingly just.

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