The Fifth-Column Mouse (1943) Poster

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Fun Short
Michael_Elliott28 March 2016
The Fifth Column Mouse (1943)

*** (out of 4)

Creative and fun short has a group of mice having fun inside a house when to their horror a cat gets in and soon a chase is on.

While this short is in no way, shape or form in the same league as Tom and Jerry, for the most part there are enough laughs and some great animation that keeps it entertaining. I was really impressed with the animation including one great shot where we see the cat's mouth and teeth with a mouse inside it. The details to the teeth and mouth were just terrific. There's plenty of fun action throughout the running time as the mice finally get enough of the cat and decide to give him a taste of his own medicine.
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7/10
War of the cat and mice
TheLittleSongbird23 May 2018
Love animation, it was a big part of my life as a child, particularly Disney, Looney Tunes and Tom and Jerry, and still love it whether it's film, television or cartoons.

'The Fifth-Column Mouse' is not one of Friz Freleng's best cartoons by any stretch, in an uneven "still evolving" period of his long career, and he was yet to be in his full prime and not yet found his style properly. For a relatively early effort, 'The Fifth-Column Mouse' is solid and above average but not a Freleng classic, he would do much better later. It is never what one would call hilarious (but is never unfunny), Freleng's later efforts show more evenness and confidence in directing and the story is flimsy.

Being a World War II cartoon, there are references (often political) and while most are easy to get and suitably sharp others are very lacking in subtlety and may go over the heads of younger viewers.

However, the characters are fun and the chemistry lifts 'The Fifth-Column Mouse' in a way that's entertaining if not quite inventive.

The cartoon is amusing at times, goes at a lively pace and it's never dull.

Animation is excellent, it's fluid in movement, crisp in shading, vibrant in colour and very meticulous in detail. Carl Stalling's music is lovely on the ears, lushly orchestrated, full of lively energy and characterful in rhythm, not only adding to the action but also enhancing it.

Voice acting is terrific as usual, then again one can't expect less from Mel Blanc.

Overall, good cartoon if not a Freleng classic. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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7/10
WWII at a Cat & Mouse Scale
Vimacone18 March 2018
Before Orwell's Animal Farm, the Schlesinger studio produced a couple WB cartoons depicting animal versions the rise of the Axis powers. McCabe's THE DUCKTATORS (1942) and Freleng's THE FIFTH COLUMN MOUSE (1943) focus primarily on Hitler's rise to power following a revolt. These carry a morale boosting tone.

There are several parallels between the events of Hitler's rise to power in Germany such as a mouse attempting to appease the cat in order to avoid war. The mice only decide to fight back when the cat turns on them. The nazi imagery is almost nonexistent in this short aside from a couple subliminal references to Hitler and the axis (look closely at the scene of the cat peeking through the foggy window before he enters the basement). This could be why the short was able to be reissued after the war ended.

WWII had some of the most interesting propaganda films that were covered by virtually every film studio. These were very effective in keeping a positive morale on the home front, despite the severity of the situation and the uncertainty of the outcome. I like how this short encourages the audiences to "grit your teeth, show some fight, and the stuff that you're made of; Remember to never say die!" The WWII tune "We Did It Before, and We Can Do It Again" was a nice addition.

The public domain status of this short has made it widely available.
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7/10
Hitler with a Long Tale
Hitchcoc23 January 2019
When a cat gets into the house, the mice who live there find their source of food diminished, not to mention their freedom. All the mice are chubby little brown guys except for one grey one. The cat captures him and then allows him to live if he will do his will. He is to give speeches to the mice and get them to serve the cat. They do this for a while until the cat reveals his wish for a nice fat mouse for supper. The cartoon is predictable and a little cliched. But it has some nice effects.
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8/10
Warner Bros. made this Toon to promote the Union Label . . .
oscaralbert30 September 2016
Warning: Spoilers
. . . upon which the World Best U.S. Military is based. FIFTH COLUMN MOUSE reminds us that whether it's marching on the Picket Line or turning back Pickett's Charge, America's Salvation against the Racist Nazi-like Bigots depends upon a united multi-racial Union Army. The Primary American Values dying out Today--such as Freedom, Democracy, and The Middle Class--have continued to be under relentless attack during the 73 years since FIFTH COLUMN MOUSE was released, spanning the Era from Wisconsin Senator Joseph "Sig Heil!" McCarthy to Wisconsin Union Buster Scott "Sig Heil!" Walker. But, as the cheerful Union mice of FIFTH COLUMN MOUSE keep singing "We've done it before, and we can do it again!" During this U.S. Downward Slide the Evil Fox Megacorp has waged a so-far successful War of Attrition against all the Virtues True Americans hold dear. But FIFTH COLUMN MOUSE shows us that all Real Americans need to band together. Then we can eradicate our FIFTH COLUMN FOX problem by evicting the fox from the U.S. hen house once and for all. The Looney Tuners propose a Union Revival that will build a giant robot to gobble up Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, and Company. Talking Heads of that ilk will sing a different tune from atop a Union Pike.
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4/10
Interesting yes, funny not very much
Horst_In_Translation3 September 2015
Warning: Spoilers
"The Fifth-Column Mouse" is a 1943 7.5-minute cartoon by Warner Bros. It does not feature their most known characters from the Looney Toons bunch, but instead it is a political movie. Cat and mice very really famous in the 1940s, especially the late 1940s with Tom & Jerry and here Warner Bros gives us their approach on the two animals. Funnily enough, the mice look a lot like Jerry. Disney had tons of politically influenced cartoons during the years of World War II, but Warner Bros does as well and this is one of their most in-your-face works. I would say that the humor sadly was not enough due to this one constantly including references about the current political climates and not subtle ones at all like the war bonds poster for example. The only funny thing was maybe the way they used the cat's body as a map and discussed how best to attack it. Unfortunately, other than that, it's just not a success in terms of delivering us an entertaining story. Not one of Warner Bros' best despite the participation of the legendary Freleng, Blanc and Maltese (even as a voice actor this time). Thumbs down.
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7/10
"Animal House" goes to war
lee_eisenberg16 April 2007
In one of the many Looney Tunes WWII-themed cartoons, a cat invades a house inhabited by mice and gets them to appease him. But when it becomes clear that he has no desire other than to eat them, they see it as their patriotic duty to defend themselves.

What I mean by associating "The Fifth-Column Mouse" with "Animal House" is that not only is the house inhabited by non-human fauna, but that dog-looking tank was sort of like the Deathmobile from which John Belushi emerged dressed as a pirate.

I'm probably the only person who would think that. Heck, I'm apparently the first person reviewing this cartoon. Do I like it? Well, I consider the cartoon worth seeing. It's an OK, not great cartoon. Featured in "Bugs and Daffy: The Wartime Cartoons".
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