A scientist is nearly assassinated. In order to save him, a submarine is shrunken to microscopic size and injected into his blood stream with a small crew. Problems arise almost as soon as they enter the bloodstream.
The opening scene of the movie describes it best: "Once upon a time there lived in Denmark a great storyteller named Hans Christian Andersen. This is not the story of his life, but a fairy tale about the great spinner of fairy tales."
Lisa Dolittle sends her daughter to 'Durango', a Dude Ranch, to find herself. While there, she uses her talent to talk to the animals in order to save Durango from being taken over by a neighboring Ranch.
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 <email@example.com>
The film's first sneak preview in September 1967 at the Mann Theatre in Minneapolis was a failure. The audience consisted largely of adults, who were not the primary target audience. The general audience response was muted during the screening and comment cards rated it poorly, with frequent complaints about the film's length. A shorter edit of the film previewed in San Francisco was no more successful; a still shorter edit previewed in San Jose was well enough received to be approved as the final cut. See more »
When Shelia the fox and her pups are shown, the baby foxes are clearly Chihuahua and Pomeranian puppies. See more »
[singing about why he's a vegetarian]
I stay away from deviled ham on principle/I wouldn't eat roast duckling if I could/Willpower has made me invincible!/My word, those sausages look good...
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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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