The Cat Concerto

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The Cat Concerto
Original theatrical poster
Directed byWilliam Hanna
Joseph Barbera
Story byWilliam Hanna
Joseph Barbera
Produced byFred Quimby
Music byScott Bradley
Animation byKenneth Muse
Ed Barge
Irven Spence
Don Patterson
Layouts byRobert Gentle
Backgrounds byRobert Gentle
Color processTechnicolor
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • April 26, 1947 (1947-04-26)
Running time

The Cat Concerto is a 1947 American one-reel animated cartoon and the 29th Tom and Jerry short, released to theatres on April 26, 1947.[1] It was produced by Fred Quimby and directed by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, with musical supervision by Scott Bradley, and animation by Kenneth Muse, Ed Barge and Irven Spence and uncredited animation by Don Patterson.


At a formal concert, Tom, dressed in a white tie, plays Franz Liszt's "Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2" on the piano. Jerry, who lives inside the piano, disrupts Tom's performance by mock-conducting him. Tom tries to flick Jerry away but continues playing. Jerry emerges from under a piano key, and Tom tries to hit him with the key and smash him unsuccessfully. Jerry manipulates the piano's keys from inside, irritating Tom, who hits him with a tuning tool. In retaliation, Jerry slams the keyboard lid on Tom's fingers and tries to cut his finger with scissors. After several failed attempts, Jerry sets a mousetrap, catching Tom's finger.

Tom climbs onto the piano to chase Jerry, playing with his feet. Jerry dances on the felts, briefly changing the tune. Tom bounces Jerry with a chord, eventually catching him and throwing him into the piano stool. Jerry manipulates the seat controls, sending Tom crashing onto the keys. Tom, fed up, stuffs Jerry into the piano felts and goes wild on the piano. The felts bash Jerry around, but he emerges angry and retaliates by playing the rhapsody's finale with felts as drumsticks, causing Tom to collapse in exhaustion. The audience applauds, and Jerry takes credit for the performance as a spotlight shines on him.


Following its release, The Cat Concerto was met with critical acclaim, and is considered one of the best Tom and Jerry cartoons.[2] With an early showing in 1946 it qualified for and won the 1946 Oscar for Best Short Subject: Cartoons. In 1994, it was voted #42 of the 50 Greatest Cartoons of all time by members of the animation field.[3]

The short won the duo their fourth consecutive Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film, tied with Walt Disney Productions' musical series, the Silly Symphonies. The short also appears in Empire magazine's The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time list as the number 434.[4]

Film critic The Chiel of Australian newspaper The Age declared The Cat Concerto to be the best film of 1947, above Odd Man Out and Brief Encounter, stating that "in conception and animation I think that short reaches the highest level of screen fantasy and humor."[5]

Plagiarism dispute[edit]

In the same year that MGM produced The Cat Concerto, Warner Bros. released a similar Bugs Bunny cartoon titled Rhapsody Rabbit, directed by Friz Freleng, featuring Bugs Bunny facing off against an unnamed mouse. Both cartoons shared nearly identical gags, featured the same piece by Franz Liszt, and had similar endings. The studios accused each other of plagiarism when both films were submitted for the 1947 Academy Awards ceremony. Technicolor was accused of sending a print of one cartoon to the competing studio, which allegedly plagiarized its rival's work. The details of this accusation remain uncertain, although Rhapsody Rabbit has an earlier MPAA copyright number and release date, while The Cat Concerto had a higher production number at #165, compared to the other shorts released around the same time in the 150s range.

Both films are currently owned by Warner Bros. through Turner Entertainment Co. following a series of mergers and acquisitions. This controversy was later explored in an episode of the Cartoon Network series ToonHeads.[6][7][8][9]



  • Tom and Jerry's Greatest Chases Vol. 1




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  1. ^ Lenburg, Jeff (1999). The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons. Checkmark Books. pp. 149–150. ISBN 0-8160-3831-7.
  2. ^ Sennett, Ted (1989). The Art of Hanna-Barbera: Fifty Years of Creativity. Studio. pp. 34-37. ISBN 978-0670829781. Retrieved 2 June 2020.
  3. ^ Beck, Jerry (1994). The 50 Greatest Cartoons: As Selected by 1,000 Animation Professionals. Turner Publishing. ISBN 978-1878685490.
  4. ^ "The 100 Greatest Movies". Empire. Mar 20, 2018. Retrieved May 25, 2019.
  5. ^ The Chiel (10 January 1948). "GRANDMOTHER Would be VERY ANGRY - The Year's Best". The Age. David Syme & Co. Retrieved 13 January 2017.
  6. ^ Mallory, Michael (Aug 11, 2011). "The Case of the Copycat Concerto". Retrieved May 25, 2019.
  7. ^ "Pianist Envy | What About Thad?". Retrieved May 25, 2019.
  8. ^ Pianist Envy, Thad Komorowski, February 26, 2013
  9. ^ The Great Cartoon Controversy, Archived 2016-08-09 at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]