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. This is going to be a reiteration of a lot of my reviews for the later Woody Woodpecker cartoons, but mainly because the later Paul J. Smith-directed cartoons have pretty much the same strengths and faults. 'Careless Caretaker' is the second Woody and Smedley pairing after 'Room and Bored', and being the funnier cartoon and the chemistry between the two gelling more it is the better one of the two.
Once again, Smedley is the best thing about 'Careless Caretaker'. He does work much better with Chilly Willy, Woody was losing his spark in the later years while Chilly was always watchable and re-watchable and their chemistry really sparkled even in their lesser outings. However Smedley still works as a character, he has great comic timing with some very humorous lines and is marvellously voiced by Daws Butler in distinctively southern drawl Huckleberry Hound mode.
'Careless Caretaker' has some energy and there are more consistently amusing moments, pretty much all from Smedley. The music is bouncy, energetic and very lushly orchestrated, not only synchronising and fitting with the action very well but enhancing it. There's the odd nice vibrant colour, and the voice acting especially from Butler is solid. The ending, involving a surprising change in who gets the upper hand, is refreshing.
However, 'Careless Caretaker' has its issues. Woody generally was toned down and subdued in personality at this point and this is true here, while his and Smedley's chemistry gels better here it does still lack spark in places. There is some lacklustre energy and the story is over-familiar with the diagnostic examinations being a bit too variety-less.
Just as problematic is the animation quality. 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.
In summation, decent but nothing to get wowed over. 6/10 Bethany Cox
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