23 January 2018 | TheLittleSongbird
Babbit and Catstello's cheese trouble
Love animation, it was a big part of my life as a child, particularly Disney, Looney Tunes and Tom and Jerry, and still love it whether it's film, television or cartoons.
Frank Tashlin to me was always a very solid director who had a lot of good to great cartoon under his belt. He is perhaps not as well known as Chuck Jones, Tex Avery and Bob Clampett, and perhaps just lacks slightly Jones' imaginatively witty visual characterisation, Avery's ahead of its time wildness and Clampett's outrageously anarchic style. His cartoons were always well made and rarely less than amusing, if a little more variable in the freshness of the material.
'Tale of Two Mice' is not him at his best, though there is not really much that is wrong. Anybody familiar with 'A Tale of Two Kitties', directed by Clampett, will not find much surprising or original in the story and not all the material is particularly inventive.
Mel Blanc and Tedd Pierce, as to be expected, really deliver when it comes to entertainment, enthusiasm, energy and versatility. Pierce is the more subtler of the two, Babbit being the playing it straight character of the duo. Blanc sounds like he's really enjoying himself, though at times overdoing it as Catstello. There is such great chemistry between them and it shows in the different personalities of the two characters.
Animation is excellent, it's fluid in movement, crisp in shading and very meticulous in detail. The story may be predictable, but it's beautifully paced with never a dull moment and strongly structured.
Carl Stalling's music is typically superb. It is as always lushly orchestrated, full of lively energy and characterful in rhythm, not only adding to the action but also enhancing it.
It's a very funny cartoon too, with well-engineered gags, clever schemes (regardless of the obviousness of the outcomes), a lively energy and dialogue that raises a smile. 'Tale of Two Mice' is driven by the chemistry and conflict between Babbit and Catstello and it shines brightly as it should, helped by that the characters are great fun.
Overall, very good. 8/10 Bethany Cox