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Western Animation / Mouse Trouble

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No sense in half-measures. And we do mean "no sense."

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: "How to Catch a Mouse". Upon receiving it, he attempts to put the book's lessons into practice, but in typical Tom and Jerry style, each fails. For example, 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: 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.
  • Bear Trap: One of the many methods used by Tom to try and catch Jerry. Jerry simply takes it out of his mouse hole and puts it under Tom's backside just as he's about to sit down. Cue screaming, a Pain-Powered Leap, and Tom still giving muffled screams with his head stuck in the ceiling.
  • 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, which Tom promptly runs to.
  • Close-Call Haircut: A shotgun blast shaves all the hair off the top of Tom's head.
  • Cornered Rattlesnake: Once Tom has Jerry backed into a corner, he reads that "A cornered mouse NEVER fights." One Battle Discretion Shot later, the book is proven very wrong.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Jerry pwns Tom after the latter corners him.
  • Dodgy Toupee: After getting a bald spot thanks to a shotgun, Tom wears a ridiculous red toupee for the rest of the cartoon.
  • Eye Scream: Tom gets punched in the eye by Jerry at one point.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: We don't see what Tom looks like after Jerry perforated and slices up the box. Given how heavily bandaged Tom is when he is next seen, maybe it’s just as well.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Every tactic Tom tries in the book is turned around by Jerry.
    • He tries to use a mouse trap, but it just... doesn't... work. A bewildered Tom tests the mouse trap with his own finger, and then it works.
    • He tries a snare trap, but... see Caught in a Snare above.
    • He tries to let Jerry's curiosity get the better of him by pretending to laugh at the book. Jerry tries to look at the book, and Tom slams him inside it. Jerry then pretends to do exactly what Tom was doing, and punches him in the eye.
    • Immediately after this, Jerry runs into a corner, panting. Tom pulls out the book again, and read that "A cornered mouse never fights." He then attacks Jerry... but Jerry beats the crap out of him.
      Tom: (peeking around the wall with a severely beat up face) Don't you believe it!
    • He tries to shoot Jerry with a shotgun... but shoots himself in the head, blowing his fur off.
    • He sticks a bear trap into Jerry's mouse hole (don't ask how it fits in the hole), but Jerry pushes it out through another mouse hole behind Tom. Tom then sits down... on the bear trap. Cue the Pain-Powered Leap.
    • He tries to nail Jerry with a hammer, but Jerry takes the hammer and knocks him out with it.
    • Tom "gives a gift" to Jerry (read: he sits in a gift box and waits for Jerry to open it). Unfortunately for him, Jerry doesn't open the box through conventional means... he puts several pins through it as Tom groans in pain, and then saws it in half. Only then does Jerry bother to look inside and sees who's in there, to his horror.
    • Tom activates a mouse toy to distract Jerry, but Tom ends up eating it. However, it still works... so Tom starts repeatedly hiccupping, followed by the toy saying "Come up and see me some time!" After this, Tom becomes absolutely enraged, and tears the book to shreds.
    • His final attempt at killing Jerry is to put a ton of explosives all around Jerry's hole, but he has trouble lighting the fuse. When he finally does activate the fuse, all the explosives blow up instantly, killing him, and leaving nothing of the house except for Jerry and his mouse hole.
  • 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.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Jerry stabs the gift box Tom hides in with large hat pins, with Tom doing pained grunts and noises 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, even after the explosion at the end reduces him to an angel floating to Heaven.
  • Mouse Trap: A series staple, you can bet that Tom attempts to get Jerry with a mouse trap. And as you might expect, it doesn't react to Jerry struggling with it for a good half minute, but immediately triggers when exposed to Tom's finger.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: The robotic mouse that says "Come up and see me some time!" is based on Mae West.
  • Paper Destruction of Anger: After all of the book's suggestions fail, Tom angrily tears it to bits.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Played for Laughs. With Jerry cornered, Tom consults his book and reads that "a cornered mouse NEVER fights". Tom thought he had the upper hand, only to get beat up by the mouse anyway, albeit offscreen.
  • 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 (1937).
  • Suddenly Speaking: Played for Laughs. After getting thoroughly trashed by Jerry, Tom turns to the camera and eerily drones, "Don't you believe it!"
  • There Is 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.
  • Throw the Book at Them: A couple times, though it's Played for Laughs when Jerry slams Tom's nose in his book, an Amusing Injury.
  • Too Gruesome for Cartoon Physics: Tom hides in a gift box in order to ambush Jerry. However, the mouse grows suspicious of the mysterious present and decides to impale it with several giant pins (with Tom trying his absolute darnedest to keep quiet), before sawing it in half. Finally giving in to his curiosity, Jerry peeks inside the package, but quickly pulls his head out with a horrified expression, gulps in shock, and holds out a sign reading "Is there a doctor in the house?", as the scene fades to black. The next scene shows Tom with an open first-aid kit, and wearing several bandages, with one even wrapped around his torso.
  • The Tooth Hurts: After accidentally chewing up the wind up mouse, Tom ends up breaking most of his teeth.
  • 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.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Particularly when Tom wigs out after his penultimate attempt to catch Jerry fails, complete with Agitated Item Stomping.
  • 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.


Video Example(s):


Mouse Trouble

Jerry decides to impale a package containing Tom with pins and even saw it in half... a decision that he would later regret and haunt him for the rest of his life when he looks inside and is treated to the unpleasant sight of the horribly mangled cat.

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Main / TooGruesomeForCartoonPhysics

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