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Western Animation / Mouse Trouble

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No sense in half-measures

Mouse Trouble is a 1944 cartoon directed by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, starring Tom and Jerry.

Tom has sent away for a how-to book. The cartoon opens with Tom delightfully receiving his book, "How to Catch a Mouse". Tom attempts to put the book's lessons into practice, but in typical Tom and Jerry style, each fails. When the book tells Tom to "Locate the mouse" he does so, only for Jerry to slam his nose in the book. When the book tells Tom to set a snare trap for Jerry, he does so, only for Jerry to use the snare trap on Tom instead. Finally, Tom gives up and tries a blunt solution with loads of dynamite, with an unfortunate outcome.



  • Agitated Item Stomping: After his penultimate plan backfires, Tom gets fed up with the "How to Catch a Mouse" book and tears it to pieces before jumping up and down on the remains.
  • Caught in a Snare: Per the book's advice Tom sets out a snare trap baited with cheese. Jerry switches out the cheese bait for a bowl of cream.
  • Close-Call Haircut: A shotgun blast shaves all the hair off the top of Tom's head.
  • Dodgy Toupee: After getting a close shave from a shotgun Tom wears a ridiculous red toupee for the rest of the cartoon.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: We don't see what Tom looks like after Jerry perforated and slices up the box.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Every tactic Tom tries in the book is turned around by Jerry.
  • Hollywood Healing: Averted. The scalp injury from the shotgun incident remains for the rest of the cartoon. Played straight with the injuries from being stabbed and sawed inside the box, which heal after a couple of scenes.
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  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Jerry stabs the gift box Tom hides in with large hat pins, with Tom going "ouch" each time. Then Jerry saws the box in half for good measure.
  • Is There a Doctor in the House?: Jerry holds up a sign saying precisely this after poking the box containing Tom with a bunch of pins and then sawing the box in half.
  • Isophagus: Tom accidentally swallows the wind-up mouse. He winds up hiccuping "Come up and see me sometime" for the rest of the cartoon.
  • No Kill Like Overkill: Tom's final attempt to kill Jerry is to place dozens of explosives around his mouse hole, enough to blow up the whole house. Which it does... except for the hole, leaving Jerry unhurt while Tom goes to kitty heaven.
  • Paper Destruction of Anger: After all of the book's suggestions fail, Tom angrily tears it to bits.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: With Jerry cornered, Tom consults his book and reads that "a cornered mouse will not fight". He gets beat up by him anyway.
  • Shout-Out:
    • One lost in the mist of antiquity for any viewer in later years—but the scene where a battered Tom looks to the camera and says "Don't you believe it" is a direct audio sampling from a contemporary radio show, Don't You Believe It.
    • The curvaceous "Come up and see me sometime" wind-up mouse is obviously a shout-out to Mae West.
  • Standard Snippet: A majority of the score quotes the song "All God's Chillun Got Rhythm" from the Marx Brothers film A Day at the Races.
  • Suddenly Voiced: After learning that "a cornered mouse never fights", Tom confidently goes in to attack a cornered Jerry, only to get thoroughly trashed himself, after which Tom turns to the camera and eerily drones, "Don't you believe it!" (see Shout-Out above).
  • Tree Buchet: The snare Tom makes for Jerry is tied to a tree outside. When he gets caught in the snare, Tom is bounced back and forth like a paddleball.
  • Winged Soul Flies Off at Death: One of only a couple of Tom and Jerry cartoons where Tom actually dies. Tom's soul is on its way to heaven on a fluffy cloud at the end of the cartoon, after he blows up the house.


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