Dr. John Dolittle lives in a small English village where he specializes in caring for and verbally communicating with animals. When Dr. Dolittle is unjustly sent to an insane asylum for freeing a lovesick seal from captivity, his animals and two closest human friends, Matthew Mugg and Tommy Stubbins, liberate him. Afterward, they join Emma Fairfax and set out by boat to find a famed and elusive creature: the Great Pink Sea Snail.Written by
This movie set was no picnic. One of the fawns ate a quart of paint during a scene break, and had to have her stomach pumped. Gub-Gub the Pig had to be replaced several times during filming, because piglets grow very fast. Squirrels ate through several key pieces of scenery, requiring thousands of dollars in repairs. When Sir Rex Harrison sang in the field of sheep, he had to be sprayed down repeatedly for flies. The sheep urinated on him, forcing multiple retakes. One of the goats broke loose during a scene and ate director Richard Fleischer's script. The first several weeks of filming in Castle Combe were disrupted by torrential downpours, after the producers ignored detailed climate reports about the area's weather patterns. A disgruntled resident tried to blow up the set with a homemade bomb. See more »
The parrot says Jan, 30th 1649 was a Tuesday, it was actually a Saturday. See more »
Will you stop your daydreaming, Tommy Stubbins.
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In the general release version of the film, the songs "Where Are The Words", sung by Anthony Newley, and "Something in Your Smile", sung by Rex Harrison, were omitted. See more »
Flits between maudlin and joy at regular intervals.
Revisiting this one for the first time in what must be over 25 years, I was sort of surprised to find a double fold of emotions of it being both good and bad. I think the first thing that came to mind was that it's a wasted opportunity to make a truly classic fantasy musical. There is much going for it production wise, the sets, the colour, the cinematography, and the leading man ensure the film keeps its head above the murky water of averageville. Yet the good points are done down by a quite boring plot structure, the meandering pacing, and quite simply awful execution of very average songs by the supporting cast. Clocking in at over two and half hours long, it's not hard to see why critics of the time dubbed it Doctor Does Little.
Rex Harrison plays Dolittle with a sense of grace and charm, and allowing for the fact that he hadn't wanted to do the project in the first place, it's with much credit that he carries the film on his shoulders and makes it certainly worth a viewing at least once. Emma Fairfax (Samantha Eggar) is a pointless character that the film really didn't need, and Eggar's screech like timing with the tunes is almost unwatchable, yet even she isn't the worst thing in the film, that accolade falls to Anthony Newley who is unwatchable as Matthew Mugg. The film was nominated for 9 awards, wining just the one for best song (the chipper Talk To The Animals), which just goes to show the divisive nature of the piece, and in reality the film's appeal to children is understandable. Because it's cute enough with the various scenarios that the good doctor finds himself in, and of course the animals (both real and not). It's just such a shame that a film that nearly bankrupted its studio doesn't realise the potential it obviously had on the page. A frustrating 5/10.
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