A Year in Shorts Day 45: "The Night Before Christmas"
Folks, I’ve done it. I found a short that, objectively and unambiguously, qualifies as a Christmas film. It has “Christmas” in the title! And as an early Christmas gift to myself, it’s a Tom and Jerry short! (I spoil myself). So let’s celebrate the season by taking a look at The Night Before Christmas.
Once again directed by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, this 1941 short is the third to feature Tom and Jerry (and, coincidentally enough, is the third Tom and Jerry Short we've covered). While the formula had been more or less figured out by this point, it would still be some time before it was perfected, and The Night Before Christmas definitely has some of that early weirdness we saw in Puss Gets the Boot. Tom's design isn't quite finished, Jerry is far less sadistic than he normally is, and the violence doesn't quite reach the levels of mayhem we've come to expect from the pair.
Nevertheless, it's still a damn entertaining short and well worth a watch. The animation is gorgeous, the jokes are all funny, and as a Christmas bonus there's absolutely no uncomfortable racism! The short also seems to imply that Tom is secretly in love with Jerry, which certainly adds an interesting wrinkle to their relationship.
The Night Before Christmas is not the best Tom and Jerry short, admittedly. It takes a little while to get going, with a bit too much of Jerry messing around with Christmas presents before we get to the meat of the story. And I think it gets a bit more sentimental in the end than I'd prefer from my Tom and Jerry cartoons.
But what do we expect? It's Christmas!
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"The Night Before Christmas" is available to watch on HBO Max
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