Doctor Dolittle is a world-renowned veterinarian who speaks a wide array of animal languages. He sets off from his home in Puddleby-on-the-Marsh, England, in search of the Great Pink Sea Snail. In so doing, he and his friends meet such exotic creatures as the Pushme-Pullyu and the Giant Lunar Moth. This musical is the source of the hit song, "If I Could Talk To The Animals." Written by
Randy Goldberg <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The film's massive critical and commercial failure effectively ended Rex Harrison's career as a leading man on screen, although he continued to act regularly on stage. See more »
When the Flounder is first seen "sailing," not only are the sails hanging limp, there is an obvious stirring behind the ship from its propeller, indicating that it's being powered by an engine. See more »
If one place is as good as any other, it's high time we decided. Otherwise when we get there, we won't know we've arrived.
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So attached am I to Rex Harrison's personage to the character of Doctor Dolittle, when I see copies of Hugh Lofting's books without the movie tie-in shots I actually feel cheated. There is no other Doctor Dolittle for me. Harrison is wonderful and regal amongst his animals and I love many of his lines (the spin he gives to his dialogue makes the words his own). My favorite: "When you say 'He can speak crab and pelican', they'll say 'Like hell he can!'" (cue parrot's ruffled reaction). Admittedly, "Doctor Dolittle" gets off to a clunky start with Anthony Newley telling of Dolittle's beginnings...and the film goes into stillborn flashback mode. I get defensive if a movie foists a flashback on me in the first 15 minutes (and this flashback is a long one, laden with silly slapstick). Why not start the story with Dolittle finding his voice, cut the introduction with Newley, and then get on with the plot? After this tiresome, talky opening, the pacing does pick up (right about the time Richard Attenborough enters as circus-owner Blossom). Harrison is on-target throughout but, story-wise, momentum doesn't build until the second hour, when Dolittle and his companions hit the South Seas in search of the Great Pink Sea Snail. Overall, the film simply LOOKS smashing, with marvelous locations in England's most beautiful city, Castle Combe. It is flawed (with that bad opening), but stick with it and see if you find Rex Harrison as charming as I did. **1/2 from ****
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