Touché, Pussy Cat!


Touché, Pussy Cat!

Infobox Hollywood cartoon
cartoon_name = Touché, Pussy Cat!
series = Tom and Jerry


caption = The main title card for "Touché, Pussy Cat!"
director = William Hanna
Joseph Barbera
story_artist = William Hanna (unc.)
Joseph Barbera (unc.)
animator = Kenneth Muse
Ed Barge
Irven Spence
background_artist = Robert Gentle
voice_actor = Francoise Brun-Cottan (as Nibbles, uncredited)
musician = Scott Bradley
producer = Fred Quimby
distributor = Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
release_date = December 18, 1954
color_process = Technicolor, CinemaScope
runtime = 6 min 45 secs
movie_language = English
imdb_id = 0047600
preceded_by = "Pet Peeve"
followed_by = "Southbound Duckling"

"Touché, Pussy Cat!" is the 89th one-reel animated "Tom and Jerry" short, created in 1954 directed by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera and produced by Fred Quimby with music by Scott Bradley. It was nominated for an Academy Award in 1954, the series' final Oscar nomination.

"Touché, Pussy Cat!" is a follow-up and a prequel to the 1951 cartoon "The Two Mouseketeers" which did win the award that year.

The cartoon was animated by Kenneth Muse, Ed Barge and Irven Spence, with backgrounds by Robert Gentle. It was released in theaters by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer on December 18, 1954.

It was the first of the Tom and Jerry shorts to be produced in CinemaScope, but was the second CinemaScope-produced short to be released (after "Pet Peeve", released the previous month; "Touché, Pussy Cat!" has an earlier MPAA certificate number). The cartoon also exists in a non-Cinemascope format. "Touché, Pussy Cat!" spawned two further entries in the "Mouseketeer" series of "Tom and Jerry" cartoons, namely "Tom and Chérie" in 1955, and "Royal Cat Nap" in 1957, released 1958.

Plot

The cartoon begins with Tuffy (formerly named Nibbles but voiced by the same actor) walking to the King's Mouseketeers Headquarters in Paris. Upon reaching the said place, Tuffy becomes excited at the prospect of finally becoming Mousekeeter that he starts lashing away at the door with his foil. Tuffy thrusts the foil at the door too hard and sent him flying into one of the nearby empty bottles. At that point, Jerry, being the captain of the musketeers, opens the door to investigate the ruckus. Jerry notices the note that Tuffy was carrying:

"Dear Captaine Jerry:
This is my son whom you promised to make a Mousketeer.
Thank you.
Your old friend
François Mouse."

Tuffy introduces himself (in French), but his constant talking is too much for Jerry, who cannot keep Tuffy quiet (even by covering up his mouth with his yellow hat).

To see if Tuffy would make a good mouseketeer, Jerry puts him through a series of tests. However, Tuffy fails miserably, bringing destruction to the room, ending with Jerry being stabbed in the rear. While walking down the cobbled Parisian streets, Jerry stops to give way to a pretty female mouse, while Tuffy simply stands and watches. Jerry tells Tuffy to give way to ladies, but Tuffy gives way to a large puddle. Jerry trips over Tuffy and falls face-down in the puddle. Tuffy allows another lady mouse to walk over Jerry. Just as Jerry is about to chastise Tuffy, Tom comes into the scene. Jerry tries to hide Tuffy and himself from Tom's view, but Tuffy, ever the confrontational mouse, marches up to Tom and yells "En garde!" As the little rodent counts to "trois", Tom slices his hat. Jerry, fearing for Tuffy's safety, pushes down an axe. It slices through Tom, who appears unaffected by this. He sticks out his tongue, but then splits into two.

Back at Jerry's Headquarters, a stern Jerry is responding to his friend's letter, answering:

"Dear François,
It is with deep regret that I must inform you that your son will never make a mousketeer.
Sincerely, Captaine Jerry"

He orders Tuffy out of the building with the letter for Tuffy to give to his parents, and Tuffy glumly walks off. Just then, he hears Tom yelling "En garde!" and the sounds of swords clashing. Running back, he sees Tom fighting Jerry with Tom winning. Tuffy comes to the rescue by using his sword to slash off the end of Tom's tail. Tom screams and leaps into the air. "Touché, Pussy Cat!" exclaims Tuffy. Tom fights back and pins Tuffy to a nearby wall. However, Jerry pulls down on Tom's clothing, causing it to expose his underwear. As Tom again tries to fight back, Tuffy, who is hiding inside a barrel behind Tom, chops off his tail once more. "Touché, Pussy Cat!" yells Tuffy (again).

In the next scene, Jerry and Tuffy are running from Tom, but end up getting separated. Tuffy spies some paint and begins painting a simple and unflattering picture of Tom, while singing Frère Jacques. Unbeknown to him, Tom is standing right behind him and is not amused. Tuffy points out to Tom his picture of the pussy cat, until he realises his mistake. Still armed with a paintbrush, he paints on Tom's face and runs off, leaving Tom with a painted monocle on his face. Tom races after Tuffy, who delays Tom by cutting open some wine bottles, sending several corks into Tom's face. As Tom begins to catch up with the little mouse, Tuffy slashes open a huge barrel of laughing gas, and laughs so hard that causes an entire wave of Tuffy's laughter to engulf Tom, sending him into the sewers, and presumably, to his death. Tuffy barely manages to hang on and stay afloat, and seeing Tom's fate, remarks "Les pauvres, morts,...(hic!)...le minou." (The poor, dead, Pussycat).

The final scene shows Jerry awarding Tuffy the coveted title of mouseketeer for his heroics after all. He gives Tuffy the mousketeer garments, and as Tuffy proudly shows off his new clothes and swordfighting skills, he accidentally stabs Jerry in the rear. At the end of the cartoon, Jerry, apparently thinking it was intentional, repeatedly spanks Tuffy's backside, as Tuffy remarks "Qu'est-ce que ?"

Trivia

*"Touché, Pussy Cat!" is the prequel of "The Two Mouseketeers", not the sequel, due to Nibbles joining the mouseketeer group for the first time as well as Tom being alive in "Touché, Pussy Cat!".

Alternate versions

*Like a number of early widescreen animated films (several other MGM cartoons and Disney's "Lady and the Tramp", for example), "Touché, Pussy Cat!" was produced in both the Academy and CinemaScope aspect ratios. The same animation cels were used, but the camera shots were reframed and different backgrounds were used. For some television prodcasts, however, a pan and scan copy was prepared from the CinemaScope version (which is reframed from the Academy version, and missing information present at the top and bottom of the frame in many shots from the Academy version)



*The "Tom and Jerry Spotlight Collection" Volume 1 DVD features the CinemaScope version of "Touché, Pussy Cat", along with an alternate unreleased stereo mix of the soundtrack. The stereo soundtrack is identical to the standard monaural mix, except that Tuffy's singing voice is not heard as he paints a simple and unflattering picture of Tom. On the released mono soundtrack, Tuffy sings "Frère Jacques". In the stereo mix, the "Frère Jacques" instrumental backing is still present, but the vocal is missing.


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