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"So I'm screwy; what can I do? I ask you" Those are some in the lyrics
in Woody Woodpecker's short opening song as Walter Lantz and the
writers try to keep emphasizing this new cartoon character as somebody
who is nuts and funny.
There seems to be another theme at work, too - a dumb foil in each Woody Woodpecker cartoon. This time, it's a cop. He's looking for "speeders" and Woody is one of the worst in his cool little hotrod. Mel Blanc voices both characters and they couldn't sound more different.
The early part of this cartoon was very good with nice sight gags as Woody ran wild on the roads. Then, it abruptly stopped when Woody met the motorcycle cop and it got stupid. Our woodpecker got back into his car for a fun 15 seconds but that was it as he and cop then finished it off with more dumb dialog. In the end, the cop wound up in "jerk ward" which was an apt description.
Screwdriver, The (1941)
*** (out of 4)
Very funny cartoon has Woody Woodpecker playing a speeder, your typical bird who loves speeding around in his car. He meets a cop whose job is to stop speeders but Woody has plans on driving him insane. This third film to feature Woody is without question the best so far as it contains one great laugh after another but more importantly we get a terrific supporting character. The motorcycle cop, with his big red nose, is hilarious and makes for the perfect duo to Woody. I loved the way the cop can hardly speak or say the right thing and how he's just so dumb that you can't help but really love him. His dumb mind and Woody's overworked imagination work perfectly together and they really manages to get a lot of laughs. One of the highlights is a scene where Woody tries to question the cop on what a speeder sounds like but when Woody goes to make the sound he instead just keeps spitting on the cop.
Was very fond of Woody Woodpecker and his cartoons as a child. Still
get much enjoyment out of them now as a young adult, even if there are
more interesting in personality cartoon characters and better overall
'The Screwdriver' may not quite be as good as 'Woody Woodpecker', Woody's first cartoon as a leading character, but it's better than the still very entertaining 'Knock Knock', notable for Woody's scene-and-show-stealing first appearance. The story is nothing mind-blowing (nor does that matter) and it's a little more chaotic than the previous two cartoons. While there may be cartoon characters with slightly more interesting personalities, Woody is still at his best incredibly funny, never obnoxious and very lovable self, summing him up in one word it would be wonderfully nuts. His personality traits are still evolving and while a few are different others are unmistakably recognisable.
Love the character of the motorcycle cop. Although somewhat of the adversary sort of character, it's him, his confusion and his struggles to make sense that makes him the more rootable of the two, one can't help feel sorry for him. The two work incredibly well together.
For so early on, the animation is great. Woody is much more appealingly designed even though still evolving, while the colours are rich and vibrant and the backgrounds meticulous in their detail.
Another standout quality is the music. It's characterful, lushly orchestrated and is not only dynamic with the action it even enhances it. The writing is suitably witty and raises a number of chuckles, while the never less than amusing and beautifully timed sight gags are even more impressive.
Contrary to a previous review, while the first half is great fun and beautifully paced the funniest moments are once the motorcycle cop is introduced, with the second half being non-stop laughter and getting more increasingly and entertainingly manic.
Voice acting is strong. While there was more familiarity with the later voice actors the cartoon is evidence that Mel Blanc should have voiced Woody in more cartoons, being a near-unparalleled master at being manic and sharp as a razor that has always suited Woody down pat and he was one of Woody's better voice actors to bring that out.
In conclusion, another Woody Woodpecker winner. 9/10 Bethany Cox
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is an exceptionally manic and entertaining early Woody Woodpecker
short, where the voices were done by Mel Blanc. Because I want to
discuss some details, this is a spoiler warning:
This short has a fairly basic plot-Woody is driving along and comes up on a motorcycle cop hiding and watching for "SPEEEEEDERS!". The voice will be familiar to anyone who has watched a few shorts from Warner Brothers, as Mel Blanc used the same voice for a giant in a Bugs Bunny short and one very similar for other rather dense characters.
Woody being Woody, he has to mess with the poor cop. There's a speeding gag early on where Woody and his car become a colorful blur with no distinctive outline. The cop and Woody go back and forth about his speeding, with each one making a different and distinctive noise to represent speeding.
Most of the rest of the cartoon is spent with the cop trying to catch Woody and the antics of our feathered lunatic in avoiding capture. Ultimately, the poor cop has a nervous breakdown and is hospitalized, where Woody renews his acquaintance with the unfortunate man and reminds him who he is by making his speeding noise once again.
This short is available on one of the DVDs released by Columbia House, under an alternate title, Woody's Jalopy. It's well worth seeing. Recommended.
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