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Western Animation / The Two Mouseketeers

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Touché, pussycat!
We live!
Men who are happy and free!
Birds of a feather who travel together,
Soldiers of fortune are we!
— "Soldiers of Fortune"

The Two Mouseketeers is a 1952 Tom and Jerry cartoon, directed by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera.

The setting is France at a time period pre-Revolution. Jerry and his little buddy Nibbles (from "The Little Orphan") are the "Mousketeers", who have a talent for stealing the king's food. Tom is a royal guard charged by the king, on pain of his life, to stand watch over the food laid out for a royal banquet. Naturally, Jerry and Nibbles make their way into the banquet room, leading to an epic battle with Tom.

The short proved so popular that it inspired a series-within-a-series, as MGM made three more "Mouseketeer" cartoons with Tom, Jerry, and Nibbles.

The Two Mouseketeers contains examples of:

  • Alas, Poor Villain: Subverted. Jerry and Nibbles are saddened by Tom's execution... for all of a few seconds, after which they cheerfully continue on their walk like nothing happened.
  • Alcohol Hic: After plunging into a glass of champagne and coming up drunk, Nibbles hiccups.
  • Anachronism Stew: The guillotine did not come into use until the French Revolution (and used to execute King Louis XVI, no less), which takes place after the setting of this short.
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing: A downplayed example, but still. After Tom's execution, Jerry and Nibbles are initially horrified... but they soon shrug it off and happily walk away as if nothing happened.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Jerry and Nibbles manage to steal the food from the King of France, resulting in Tom's execution.
  • Bilingual Bonus: All of Nibbles' lines are in French, with the exception of one "Hey!". It makes sense seeing how his voice actress is French.
  • Delayed "Oh, Crap!": Nibbles gets poked in the rear by Tom at one point while trying to eat a sandwich, prompting him to turn around and angrily chew out "Monsieur Pussy-Cat" before going back to his food. He then realizes that it's, well, a cat...
  • Disproportionate Retribution: For failing to guard some food, Tom gets executed.
  • Dinner Deformation: After accidentally swallowing a banana whole, Jerry's body stretches to take its shape.
  • Downer Ending: The short ends with Jerry and Nibbles walking down the street returning home after successfully raiding the king's feast, and witnessing the silhouette of a guillotine dropping — on Tom's head. Nibbles replies "Pauvre, pauvre pussycat" (poor, poor pussycat) and "C'est la guerre" (that's war). This is one of only very few cartoons in the Tom & Jerry canon in which Tom dies, even if it is offscreen. It's supposed to be subverted because happy music soon plays afterward, with the mice walking away as if nothing happened.
  • Flynning: Tom and Jerry duel in standard whack-your-swords-together style. Tom has the advantage since he has a real sword while Jerry just has a metal toothpick.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: The short ends with Tom being beheaded offscreen; all we see is the guillotine's blade fall, then a cut to Jerry and Nibbles cringing.
  • Hero Antagonist: Tom is the one doing good by guarding the king's feast from Nibbles and Jerry (which the short is centered on).
  • Loud Gulp: Upon learning, he'll be decapitated should he fail at guarding the king's feast, Tom loudly gulps.
  • Off with His Head!: Tom is beheaded (offscreen) for failing to protect the feast.
  • Pain-Powered Leap: Tom several times after being speared in the butt by either Jerry or Nibbles.
  • Reality Has No Subtitles: Nibbles' French chatter is not subtitled.
  • Skewed Priorities: Although he was assigned to guard the king's feast, never mind his life was on the line, Tom gets distracted by cooking and eating some food Jerry tried to launch at him.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Towards the end of the short, Nibbles and Jerry are visibly upset about Tom's execution. It doesn't last long, though.
  • Too Gruesome for Cartoon Physics: After Tom fails to save the King of France's banquet, at the end of the short, Jerry and Nibbles, while walking outside the castle, can only watch as a guillotine blade is raised, and then dropped. (Implying that Tom was executed)
  • You Have Failed Me: Tom is executed for failing to stop Jerry and Nibbles.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: Near the end of the short, Jerry stays behind to hold back Tom in a sword fight so that Nibbles can run away. He buys enough time for Nibbles to stuff all the food on the table into a cannon and fire it in Tom's face.

We're off! (WE'RE OFF!)
Doing, and daring, and fighting, and sharing!
Soldiers of fortune are we!

Soldiers of fortune are we!
— "Soldiers of Fortune"