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Of Mice and Menace (1954)

Approved | | Animation, Short, Family | 25 June 1954 (USA)
The city-slicker mouse, Herman, takes his bumpkin country cousins for a night on the town at a penny arcade. Katnip the cat, Herman's long-time nemesis, is present and spoiling the party so... See full summary »

Directors:

Seymour Kneitel, Tom Golden (uncredited)

Writer:

Carl Meyer (story)
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Cast

Uncredited cast:
Jack Mercer ... Herman's Nephew #2 (voice) (uncredited)
Mae Questel ... Herman's Nephew #1 (voice) (uncredited)
Sid Raymond Sid Raymond ... Katnip (voice) (uncredited)
Alan Shay Alan Shay ... Herman's Nephew #3 (voice) (uncredited)
Arnold Stang ... Herman (voice) (uncredited)
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Storyline

The city-slicker mouse, Herman, takes his bumpkin country cousins for a night on the town at a penny arcade. Katnip the cat, Herman's long-time nemesis, is present and spoiling the party so Herman floats him away with some hydrogen-filled balloons. But the pesky Katnip returns and after some furious cat-and-mouse games, utilizing all the slot machines and games in the arcade, Katnip ends up as the loser, ending up as the target in the shooting gallery. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

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Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 June 1954 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Famous Studios See more »
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)
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Did You Know?

Connections

Spoofs Of Mice and Men (1939) See more »

Soundtracks

William Tell Overture
(uncredited)
Music by Gioachino Rossini
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User Reviews

 
At the Penny Arcade with Herman and Katnip

Of Mice and Menace, as far as Herman and Katnip cartoons go, fits in the category of "watchable but on the whole unexceptional", which is true for a lot of their cartoons.

There is a good deal to like here. It is the music by Winston Sharples that makes the cartoon, this is the one component that is consistently good in the Herman and Katnip cartoons and the lush orchestration, lively rhythms and its remarkable ability to match the action make for a terrific music score indeed that not only sounds great but gives the cartoon some much needed energy. The title tune is infectiously catchy and Sharples even incorporates quirky arrangements of Shortenin' Bread and Rossini's William Tell Overture. The animation is also very good, considering though that this was during a period where Famous Studios' budgets were getting more limited, everything looks smooth and detailed without trying to be too complicated, the colours while not as vibrant as in their earlier cartoons are still very beautiful. Thankfully, the cartoon is not quite as heavy in repetition as most Herman and Katnip cartoons, it begins differently and the dialogue is not as repetitive either. Katnip is a good antagonist and the mice, different mice to usual, are quite affecting though with not much to do. The voice work is solid. Oh and the gag with Herman in his hula disguise raises a smile at least.

Conversely, although not as repetitive as Herman and Katnip cartoons can be Of Mice and Menace is very formulaic, after trying to do something different at the beginning it then goes into standard Herman and Katnip cartoon territory to the extent that you can completely predict what is going to happen next correctly. The gags are amusing, the hulu disguise one and the bed ascending in the air thanks to balloons with Katnip on it coming off best, but they are not laugh-out-loud or hilarious, tighter timing would have helped, here the timing of the gags is slower than it usually is. The last two minutes in fact are quite brutal and cruel even for Herman and Katnip, sure there is nothing wrong with cartoon violence(a lot of the time it's been done wonderfully) but some gags in Herman and Katnip's cartoon verge on stomach-churning and that was true with the gag with the gun. Herman's actions completely lack originality and are a little tired, and his personality is cruder than usual(I've not seen him take this much pleasure at his outsmarting of Katnip).

All in all, watchable but unexceptional. 5/10 Bethany Cox


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