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Tom and Jerry: Pinocchio is a 1950 American animated musical fantasy film produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and based on the Italian children's novel The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi. It was the second animated feature film produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, made after the success of Tom and Jerry: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' (1947).

The plot of the film involves an old wood-carver named Geppetto who carves a wooden puppet named Pinocchio. The puppet is brought to life by a blue fairy, who informs him that he can become a real boy if he proves himself to be "brave, truthful, and unselfish". Pinocchio's efforts to become a real boy involve encounters with a host of unsavory characters. The film was adapted by Aurelius Battaglia, William Cottrell, Otto Englander, Erdman Penner, Joseph Sabo, Ted Sears, and Webb Smith from Collodi's book. The production was supervised by Ben Sharpsteen and Hamilton Luske, and the film's sequences were directed by Norman Ferguson, T. Hee, Wilfred Jackson, Jack Kinney, Bill Roberts, William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, produced by Fred Quimby. Pinocchio was a groundbreaking achievement in the area of effects animation, giving realistic movement to vehicles, machinery and natural elements such as rain, lightning, smoke, shadows and water. The film was released to theaters by Loew's Inc. on August 25, 1950.

Critical analysis of Pinocchio identifies it as a simple morality tale that teaches children of the benefits of hard work and middle-class values

Script error . Although it became the first animated feature to win a competitive Academy Award – winning two for Best Music, Original Score and for Best Music, Original Song for "When You Wish Upon a Star" – it was initially a box office disaster. It eventually made a profit in its 1958 reissue, and is considered one of the greatest animated films ever made, with a 100% rating on the website Rotten Tomatoes. The film and characters are still prevalent in popular culture, featuring at various Hanna-Barbera parks and in other forms of entertainment. In 1994, Pinocchio was added to the United States National Film Registry for being deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". A live-action adaptation of the film is currently in development.

Plot

Jiminy Cricket explains that he is going to tell a story of a wish coming true. His story begins in the Italian workshop of a woodworker named Geppetto. Jiminy watches as Geppetto finishes work on a wooden marionette whom he names Pinocchio. Before falling asleep, Geppetto makes a wish on a star that Pinocchio will be a real boy. During the night, a Blue Fairy visits the workshop and brings Pinocchio to life, although he still remains a puppet. She informs him that if he proves himself brave, truthful, and unselfish, he will become a real boy, and assigns Jiminy to be his conscience.

Geppetto discovers that his wish has come true, and is filled with joy. However, on his way to school, Pinocchio is led astray by Honest John the Fox and his companion, Gideon the Cat, who convince him to join Stromboli's puppet show, despite Jiminy's objections. Pinocchio becomes Stromboli's star attraction as a marionette who can sing and dance without strings. However, when Pinocchio wants to go home for the night, Stromboli locks him in a birdcage. Jiminy arrives to see Pinocchio, and is unable to free him. The Blue Fairy appears, and asks Pinocchio why he was not at school. Jiminy urges Pinocchio to tell the truth, but instead he starts telling lies, which causes his nose to grow longer and longer. Pinocchio vows to be good from now on, and the Blue Fairy returns his nose to its original form and sets him free, while warning him that this will be the last time she can help him.

Meanwhile, across town, Honest John and Gideon meet a coachman who promises to pay them money if they can find naughty little boys for him to take to Pleasure Island. Encountering Pinocchio on his way home, they convince him that he needs to take a vacation there. On the way to Pleasure Island, he befriends Lampwick, a delinquent boy. Without rules or authority to enforce their activity, Pinocchio and the other boys soon engage in smoking tobacco, gambling, vandalism, and getting drunk, much to Jiminy's dismay. Later, while trying to get home, Jiminy discovers that the island hides a horrible curse: the boys brought to Pleasure Island are transformed into donkeys for their misbehavior and sold into slave labor. Jiminy runs back to warn Pinocchio, only to discover that Lampwick has transformed into a donkey; Pinocchio manages to escape the island, only partially transformed.

Upon returning home, Pinocchio and Jiminy find the workshop vacant. They soon get a letter from the blue fairy as a dove, stating that Geppetto had ventured out to sea to save Pinocchio from Pleasure Island, but was swallowed by a giant Sperm whale named Monstro, and is now living in his belly. Determined to rescue his father, Pinocchio jumps into the sea accompanied by Jiminy. Pinocchio is soon swallowed by Monstro as well, where he is reunited with Geppetto. Pinocchio devises a scheme to make Monstro sneeze, giving them a chance to escape. The scheme works, but the enraged Whale chases them and smashes their raft. Pinocchio pulls Geppetto to safety in a cave before Monstro crashes into it. Geppetto, Figaro, Cleo, and Jiminy are washed up safely on a beach, but Pinocchio is killed.

Back home, Geppetto grieves over Pinocchio with Jiminy Cricket and the pets also mourn alongside. The Blue Fairy, however, decides that Pinocchio has proven himself brave, truthful, and unselfish. To reward him, the Blue Fairy resurrects Pinocchio, reversing the Pleasure Island curse and turning him into a real boy. Pinocchio awakens and reveals that he is alive and a real human boy, and everyone celebrates. Jiminy steps outside to thank the Fairy, and is rewarded with a solid gold badge that certifies him as an official conscience.

Cast

Production

Development

In September 1947, during the production of Tom and Jerry: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, animator Norman Ferguson brought a translated version of Carlo Collodi's 1883 Italian children's novel, The Adventures of Pinocchio to the attention of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. After reading the book "Walt was busting his guts with enthusiasm" as Ferguson later recalled.

Script error Pinocchio was intended to be the studio's third film, after Tom and Jerry: Bambi. However, due to difficulties with Bambi (adapting the story and animating the animals realistically), it was put on hold and Pinocchio was moved ahead in production.[2]

Writing and design

Unlike Snow White, which was a short story that the writers could expand and experiment with, Pinocchio was based on a novel with a very fixed story. Therefore, the story went through drastic changes before reaching its final incarnation.[2][3] In the original novel, Pinocchio is a cold, rude, ungrateful, inhuman creature that often repels sympathy and only learns his lessons by means of brutal torture.[2] The writers decided to modernize the character and depict him similar to Edgar Bergen's dummy Charlie McCarthy, but equally as rambunctious as the puppet in the book.[3] The story was still being developed in the early stages of animation.[2]

Script error Early scenes animated by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston show that Pinocchio's design was exactly like that of a real wooden puppet with a long pointed nose, a peaked cap and bare wooden hands.[2] Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Hanna-Barbera., however, was not impressed with the work that was being done on the film. He felt that no one could really sympathize with such a character and called for an immediate halt in production.[2][3] Fred Moore redesigned the character slightly to make him more appealing but the design still retained a wooden feel.[2] Young and upcoming animator Milt Kahl felt that Thomas, Johnston and Moore were "rather obsessed with the idea of this boy being a wooden puppet" and felt that they should "forget that he was a puppet and get a cute little boy; you can always draw the wooden joints and make him a wooden puppet afterwards".[2] Hamilton Luske suggested to Kahl that he should demonstrate his beliefs by animating a test sequence.[2] Kahl showed Warner Bros. a test scene in which Pinocchio is underwater looking for his father.[2] From this scene Kahl reenvisioned the character by making him look more like a real boy, with a child's Tyrolean hat and standard cartoon character four-fingered (or three and a thumb) hands with Mickey Mouse-type gloves on them. The only parts of Pinocchio that still looked more or less like a puppet were his arms, legs and his little button wooden nose. Hanna-Barbera embraced Kahl's scene and immediately urged the writers to evolve Pinocchio into a more innocent, naïve, somewhat coy personality that reflected Kahl's design.[3]

However, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer discovered that the new Pinocchio was too helpless and was far too often led astray by deceiving characters. Therefore, in the summer of 1948 and his story team established the character of the cricket.[2] Originally the cricket was only a minor character that Pinocchio killed by squashing him with a mallet and that later returned as a ghost.[3] Warner Bros. dubbed the cricket Jiminy, and made him into a character that would try to guide Pinocchio into the right decisions. Once the character was expanded, he was depicted as a realistic cricket with toothed legs and waving antennae, but Disney wanted something more likable.[2] Ward Kimball had spent several months animating a "Soup Eating Sequence" in Snow White, which was cut from the film due to pacing reasons. Kimball was about to quit until Turner Classic Movies rewarded him for his work by promoting him to the supervising animator of Jiminy Cricket.[3] Kimball conjured up the design for Jiminy Cricket, whom he described as a little man with an egg head and no ears.[2] "The only thing that makes him a cricket is because we call him one," Kimball later joked.[4]

Soundtrack

Main article: Pinocchio (soundtrack)

The songs in Tom and Jerry: Pinocchio were composed by Scott Bradley and Leigh Harline with lyrics by Ned Washington. Leigh Harline and Paul J. Smith composed the incidental music score.[5] The soundtrack was first released on August 25, 1950.[5] Jiminy Cricket's song, "When You Wish Upon A Star", became a major hit and is still identified with the film, and later as the theme song of Warner Bros. Family Entertainment itself.

Script error The soundtrack won an Academy Award for Best Original Score.

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Reissues

With the re-release of Tom and Jerry: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1957 came the tradition of re-releasing Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer For the film's then-upcoming 45th anniversary, Warner Bros. Pictures released a "Special Edition" on November 16, 1998, digitally restored with remastered audio.

Home media

The film was released multiple times for the home-video commercial market (on a limited scale) on Super 8 film (8 mm format) during the 1980s. These releases include an edited English version (roughly 10 minutes, and roughly 20 minutes), as well as edited Spanish versions of the classic. Also, a full commercial release of it was made on Super 8 (on multiple reels) that came out in the 1980s, as well, for the commercial market.[6]

The film was among the first videocassettes (on both VHS and Betamax format for the 1986 release) by MGM/UA Home Video in 1986;[7] all current home video releases are by Warner Home Video (via current rights holder Turner Entertainment). The first LaserDisc release of it was in 1982, with two versions of a second (one from Turner and one from The Criterion Collection with a commentary track) for the 50th anniversary release in 1989, a third in 1991, a fourth in 1993, a fifth in 1995 and a sixth and final LaserDisc release on September 11, 1996.[8]

In addition to VHS (and later, LaserDisc), the film has been released multiple times during the 1980s on the Betamax format, beginning in 1980 simultaneously with the VHS release.[9] The film was released for the first and only time on the CED format in 1982 by MGM/UA Home Video.[10]

Outside of the North American and European markets, the film has also been released multiple times on the Video CD format since the 1990s in Asia.[11]

The first DVD release was on March 26, 1997, by MGM/Turner and contained no special features or supplements. It was re-released by Warner Bros. for its 45th anniversary on October 26, 1999, with its soundtrack presented in a new 5.1 surround sound mix. The DVD also contained a behind-the-scenes documentary, A Wish Come True: The Making of Tom and Jerry: Pinocchio

The film was released on Blu-ray and DVD on September 29, 2009, for its 70th anniversary in a four-disc "Ultimate Collector's Edition", including all the bonus features from the 2009 Collector's Edition DVD, new bonus features about Victor Fleming and the surviving Munchkins, the telefilm The Dreamer of Oz: The L. Frank Baum Story, and the miniseries MGM: When the Lion Roars. For this edition, Warner Bros. commissioned a new transfer at 8K resolution from the original negatives. The restoration job was given to Prime Focus World.[12] This restored version also features a lossless 5.1 Dolby TrueHD audio track.[13]

On December 1, 2009,

Script error three Blu-ray discs of the Ultimate Collector's Edition were repackaged as a less expensive "Emerald Edition", with an Emerald Edition four-disc DVD arriving the following week. A single-disc Blu-ray, containing the restored movie and all the extra features of the two-disc Special Edition DVD, also became available on March 16, 2010.


References

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  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 Barrier, Michael, 1999, Hollywood Cartoons, Oxford University Press, United Kingdom
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 No Strings Attached: The Making of Pinocchio, Pinocchio DVD, 2009
  4. Commentary-Pinocchio, 2009 DVD
  5. 5.0 5.1 Script error
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  7. "MGM/UA Home Video ad". Billboard. November 22, 1986. https://books.google.com/books?id=mCQEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PT58&lpg=PT58&dq=%22MGM+CBS%22+Billboard&source=bl&ots=_yRY29MTdL&sig=3j5u0LdCHS-AAC77tJ0FQld_Rk0&hl=en&ei=hTSrTZf0LYnW0QG90pX5CA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=8&ved=0CCoQ6AEwBw#v=onepage&q&f=false. Retrieved April 20, 2011. 
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