The Fifth-Column Mouse

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The Fifth-Column Mouse
Merrie Melodies series
Fifthcolumnmouse.jpg
Directed by Friz Freleng
Produced by Leon Schlesinger
Story by Michael Maltese
Voices by Mel Blanc (uncredited)
Music by Carl W. Stalling
Animation by Ken Champin
Gerry Chiniquy
Manuel Perez
Studio Leon Schlesinger Productions
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date(s) March 6, 1943 (USA)
Color process Technicolor
Running time 7 minutes
Language English

The Fifth-Column Mouse is an animated cartoon in the Merrie Melodies series released on March 6, 1943. Directed by Friz Freleng, the cartoon features a band of humble mice who engage in war against a cat. The short was given a Blue Ribbon reissue, released on April 22, 1950.

Synopsis[edit]

The short begins with a pleasant group of mice enjoying various water sports in a kitchen sink. Lurking nearby is a sinister cat who gains the confidence of a dim-witted mouse. The cat persuades the unsuspecting rodent to tell the other mice to become the cat's slaves, and the cat promises a never-ending cheese supply in return. The mouse (who much more resembles a rat) follows the cat's orders, but he soon finds out the cat's true intentions—to make them his dinner. The mice then form a united alliance against the cat as both sides prepare for war. After battling the cat a cream is thrown at the mouse throwing him into the leg of the robot they built.

References to World War II[edit]

The cat is treated as the enemy and symbolizes the Axis. After the cat whispered his plan inside the dim-witted mice's ear the cat's face briefly mimicks that of a stereotypically caricatured Japanese while Japanese sounding music is quoted. When the mouse agrees to fulfill the plan he gives the cat a Nazi salute. When the cat's skin is shaved off the soundtrack quotes Ludwig van Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, which was used by the Allied Forces as a symbol the Morse code for "V" (for "victory").

Near the end of the cartoon the other mice sing "We Did It Before And We Can Do It Again", a patriotic chant that was often used in American propaganda movies during the Second World War. That song was co-written in 1941 by Tin Pan Alley songwriter Charles Tobias (who also co-wrote the Merrie Melodies theme song some years earlier) as a response to the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Availability[edit]

The Fifth-Column Mouse was released on the 1989 video cassette Bugs & Daffy: The Wartime Cartoons and later on the 2008 DVD Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Volume 6.[1] The cartoon is now in the public domain.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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