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 cartoons.
That is in no way knocking Woody, because many of his cartoons are a lot of fun to watch and more and also still like him a lot as a character. Didn't care for the 1963 Sid Marcus-directed cartoons, so it was refreshing to see a good Woody Woodpecker cartoon from him in 'Skin Folks'. One of his best Woody Woodpecker cartoons by quite some way and one of the better ones from the early-60s, the best perhaps since 'Rocket Racket'. Woody and his cartoons were generally well past their best at this point, but 'Skin Folks' was a change of pace that felt necessary. It's not a classic or one of Woody's best, but for a late effort of his 'Skin Folks' fares very well.
'Skin Folks' may not be perfect. The animation continues to not be great. Time and budget constraints shows in a lot of the animation, which is very rushed looking in the drawing and detail wise it's on the simplistic and careless side like many of Woody's cartoons from this period continuing through to the 60s.
Maybe the pacing could have done with a little more energy, it does admittedly fit the more sombre tone of the story very well but the manic energy is missing. It's on the slight side too.
Otherwise, 'Skin Folks' really doesn't have that much wrong. Woody is again pretty restrained by Woody standards, but unlike his other late-50s onwards cartoons that toned down his original personality he is in a story where a more restrained nature was justified. He is also very easy to identify with and is quite moving here. Uncle Scrooge Woodpecker is one of the better Woody Woodpecker supporting characters in a long time, effort is actually done creating a supporting character with a personality that stands out with other Woody Woodpecker conflicts that were pretty generic. The crocodiles are fun additions too.
A big standout, like with all Woody Woodpecker cartoons, is the music score (one of few consistently good assets). It is bouncy, energetic and very lushly orchestrated, not only synchronising and fitting with the action very well but enhancing it. The voice acting from Grace Stafford and Dal McKennon is solid.
Like as has been said earlier on in the review, 'Skin Folks' is different. A good thing for someone tired of over-familiar stories heavy in repetition. Those used to the manic energy and laugh a minute tone of prime Woody Woodpecker will be somewhat disappointed that there is not much funny here due to a more sombre tone, to me it was refreshing and the tone was done very well with some genuine poignancy. One cares for Woody too and roots for him not to be cold and hungry.
In conclusion, good late and Sid Marcus-directed cartoon. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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